Tech Wrecked in Death Valley

by - Senior Writer -
Ben Boulware and Clemson's defense held Tech's rushing attack in check
Ben Boulware and Clemson's defense held Tech's rushing attack in check

CLEMSON – The only hangover suffered in Clemson Saturday was the one Georgia Tech will be feeling after the Tigers knocked the Jackets woozy for four quarters.

Number six Clemson defeated Notre Dame in an emotional game last week in Death Valley, and many wondered if the “hangover” effect would be evident when Tech – on a three-game losing streak – came calling.

Instead, the Tigers (5-0, 2-0 ACC) jumped out to a 30-10 halftime lead and never looked back in walloping Georgia Tech (2-4, 0-3) 43-24 in front of another soggy Memorial Stadium crowd Saturday afternoon. Next up for Clemson is a 7 p.m. Homecoming contest against Boston College next Saturday. The Eagles were 3-0 losers at home to Wake Forest earlier Saturday.

The only blemishes were two long touchdown passes by Tech and a fumbled snap into the endzone that led to another touchdown. On both touchdown passes, no Clemson defenders were within 20 yards of the receiver. On the flip side – it was a historic effort from the Clemson defense on the rushing side of the ball. The previous low of a Paul Johnson-coached Tech team was 79 yards gained against Gardner-Webb in a 10-7 win in his first season in Atlanta. On Saturday, the Tigers held Tech’s vaunted rushing attack to 71 yards on 42 carries, an average of 1.7 yards per carry.

Clemson also had 11 tackles for loss.

Deshaun WatsonDeshaun Watson
So. Quarterback
#4 6-2, 207
Gainesville, GA

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was 19-of-28 for 228 yards and two touchdown passes, while Wayne GallmanWayne Gallman
RS So. Running Back
#9 6-1, 210
Loganville, GA

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had 13 rushes for 115 yards. It was the third consecutive 100-yard game for Gallman. Deon CainDeon Cain
Fr. Wide Receiver
#8 6-1, 197
Tampa, FL

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led all Clemson receivers with five catches for 96 yards.

It didn’t take long for Clemson to get on the scoreboard, and it was Wayne Gallman with the score. Gallman took the handoff on third-and-short – the third play from scrimmage – and followed a seal block inside by Jordan LeggettJordan Leggett
Jr. Tight End
#16 6-5, 252
Navarre, FL

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and a block on the outside by Charone PeakeCharone Peake
Gr. Wide Receiver
#19 6-2, 214
Moore, SC

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and rumbled 66 yards for the touchdown. It was the longest run of Gallman’s career and the longest play from scrimmage this season for the Tigers, who held a 7-0 lead.

Codrea Tankersley intercepted a Justin Thomas pass on the Jackets’ first possession and the Tigers turned it into a 21-yard field goal by Greg HuegelGreg Huegel
Fr. Punter / Kicker
#92 5-11, 180
Blythewood, SC

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for a 10-0 lead barely three minutes into the game. However, a Ray-Ray McCloudRay-Ray McCloud
Fr. Wide Receiver
#34 5-9, 181
Land O' Lakes, FL

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fumble on Clemson’s ensuing possession led to a 40-yard field goal by Tech’s Harrison Butker and Clemson led 10-3 with 6:52 remaining in the first quarter.

The Tigers forced a Tech three-and-out and then went on a 10-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a Gallman one-yard run for a 17-3 lead. On the ensuing drive, Tech was once again forced to punt, setting up one of the strangest plays of the day. The snap went over the head of punter Ryan Rodwell, who picked the errant snap up in the end zone and tried to punt. His kick bounced off of several Clemson defenders before bouncing out of the back of the endzone for a safety and a 19-3 Clemson lead.

Another three-and-out followed for the Jackets, and after a punt it took the Tigers just five plays to march 66 yards to paydirt. The drive ended with a 29-yard pass from Watson to Leggett for the 26-3 lead early in the second quarter.

The Jackets finally got a touchdown with just over five minutes remaining in the half, and it came through the air. The Jackets ran a fake punt earlier in the drive to push the ball near midfield, and Thomas hit a wide open Clinton Lynch in the middle of the field to complete a 50-yard touchdown toss that gave the Jackets new life, trailing just 26-10.

However, the Tigers were able to put together a drive just before the half and Watson hit Leggett on a pretty fade in the endzone from eight yards out with just four seconds remaining. The touchdown gave Clemson a 33-10 lead at the break.

Zac Brooks scores on a 35-yard run

Tech had two failed drives to start the second half, and Clemson got back on the board on its second drive after the break. The Tigers took over at their own 30-yard line, and it took just four plays to punch it in the end zone. Gallman started the drive with an 18-yard run, and following a loss of four yards on a sweep, Deon Cain took a quick pass from Watson and turned it into a 21-yard gain. Zac BrooksZac Brooks
Running Back (2012 - 2015)
#24 6-0, 200
Jonesboro, AR

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took the next play 35 yards for the touchdown and a 40-10 lead with 5:06 remaining in the third quarter.

The following drive produced yet another Jacket punt, but a bad snap on the part of the Tigers was recovered in the endzone by Tech’s Andrew Gotsis for a touchdown and it was 40-17 late in the third. Clemson added a 42-yard field goal by Ammon LakipAmmon Lakip
RS Sr. Punter / Kicker
#36 5-11, 200
Alpharetta, GA

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– his first attempt of the season – and then led 43-17 early in the fourth quarter.

Tech still wouldn’t go away, however, and Ricky Jeune snuck behind the Clemson defense for a 46-yard pitch and catch with Thomas that made it 43-24 with 8:52 remaining in the contest.

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