Tech's Jarrett misses 41-yard FG with 2:50 left to seal Clemson Victory.
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) _ Derrick Witherspoon rushed for 111 yards, including 26 on Clemson's winning drive, as the Tigers overcame a horrible start to defeat Georgia Tech 16-13 on Saturday. Clemson (2-1, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) took advantage of turnovers for both its scores. Yellow Jackets kicker Tyler Jarrett missed three field goals, including a 41-yarder with 2:50 remaining. The Tigers went ahead in the third quarter after defensive end Brentson Buckner intercepted an attempted screen pass by Donnie Davis at the Tech 35. Freshman Milt Shaw ended the seven-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. Quarterback Louis Solomon carried in for the 2-point conversion to make it 16-13. Witherspoon, starting for injured Rodney Blunt, ignited a Clemson running attack that had averaged less than 100 yards a game. The senior, who gained only 56 yards last season, had 78 in the second half.
His performance offset a miserable offensive outing by the rest of the team. Starting quarterback Patrick Sapp completed just one of 10 passes and was sacked twice. The Tigers finished with 242 yards. Clemson's defense rose up in the second half, holding Georgia Tech (1-2, 0-2) to only 72 yards. The Tigers' comeback started in the second quarter. With Clemson trailing 10-0, Derrick Burnette recovered Jimy Lincoln's fumble at the Yellow Jackets 34. Two plays later, Solomon hit Terry Smith for a 36-yard score and holder Travis Harvey converted a run to cut it to 10-8. The Tigers, who had only 112 yards in the first half, put together a 69- yard drive in the final quarter that lasted nearly eight minutes. However, kicker Nelson Welch missed a 30-yard field goal, and Georgia Tech drove to Clemson's 22 to set up Jarrett's final attempt.
Georgia Tech more than doubled Clemson's offensive output in the first half, yet led just 13-8. The Yellow Jackets seemed in control after Tyler Jarrett's 28-yard field goal and Donnie Davis' 10-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Rice provided a 10- point lead. However, Terrance Dixon recovered Lincoln's fumble to set up Smith's score. The senior caught a pass on the right sideline at the 14 and cut inside two defenders for the touchdown. Jarrett added a 32-yard field goal, but missed from 41 yards and 31 yards in the first half. His 31-yard try hit the left upright as time expired.
Clemson's initial first down came on Smith's score at 10:08 of the second quarter.