Dan Scott: Georgia Tech - Clemson Prediction


by - Correspondent -
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OFFENSE

Bill this matchup as The Walking Wounded vs. The Untested. Clemson comes in
with four starters out, three of whom - tailback Bernard Rambert, fullback
Chad Jasmin and right tackle Derrick Brantley - won't play at all. The
replacement backfield tandem of Keith Kelly and Cliff Harrell should more
than pick up the slack there, but William Henry at right tackle and walk-on
Tommy Sharpe at center will be worth watching. If they hold their own, the
Tigers should move the ball. This is the game when the wide receiving corps
and quarterback Willie Simmons need to hit on all cylinders. Meanwhile, the
Yellow Jackets have been putting up impressive numbers early this season,
albeit against less-than-impressive competition. Quarterback A.J. Suggs will
start, but expect to see plenty of backup Damarius Bilbo in a "slash"-type
role. All in all, always one of the most dangerous offenses the Tigers face
each year. Where the Tigers have struggled scoring touchdowns in the red zone
this year, Tech has scored seven touchdowns in eight trips inside the
opponent's 20.

ADVANTAGE: Even


DEFENSE

Clemson's defense has allowed just 166 yards rushing in two games. Tech
tailback Tony Hollings averages almost that much per half - he has rushed for
297 yards in two games, despite having only one second-half carry. The
Tigers' secondary, so impressive through two games, will get its biggest test
so far against the multiple looks of Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jacket defense,
much like its offense, has yet to be tested. In past years the unit found it
virtually impossible to stop Clemson's Woodrow Dantzler. Dantzler's gone, and
now it's up to Willie Simmons to put up big numbers.

ADVANTAGE: Clemson


SPECIAL TEAMS

A better performance for Clemson last week, despite the early blocked punt.
Wynn Kopp rebounded with and average of 47 yards on his next two kicks. The
coverage was better, as well, and it's beginning to look like Derrick
Hamilton is getting his wheels back on kick and punt returns. Aaron Hunt,
too, bounced back nicely with four straight field goals a week ago. Tech has
All-World kicker Luke Manget back, have two punters averaging a combined 43.2
yards per kick and sport the dangerous Kelly Rhino on punt returns (15.1).
Can you see Manget and/or Hunt being called on in a pressure situation down
the stretch?

ADVANTAGE: Even


COACHING

Tommy Bowden is 1-2 so far against Tech, but with a play or two in either
loss could easily be 3-0. Chan Gailey has yet to live through this matchup,
which has produced six consecutive games decided by exactly three points. At
least Bowden should know to bring the Rolaids.

ADVANTAGE: Clemson


THE LOWDOWN

You can analyze, break down and pour over any set of numbers and stats you
want, but when these teams get together you'd be better off drawing a winner
out of a hat. One thing is certain - the three-point streak ends this year.
Clemson won this pick box by two categories, and it wins the game by the same
number of points.


THE PICK

Clemson 30, Georgia Tech 28

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