Dan Scott Prediction: Clemson at Ga. Tech


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Well, here I sit at 4-0. Same as the Tigers. Still, neither of us has proven much as of yet, except that perhaps every week that goes by and another win stacks up so does our credibility. But it can all come tumbling down in a flash. With that in mind, awayyyyyy we go...

CLEMSON (4-0, 2-0 ACC) at GEORGIA TECH (2-2, 0-2)

WHEN CLEMSON HAS THE BALL

Cullen Harper will face his most difficult test of the season vs. John Tenuta's defense. The Yellow Jackets will bring pressure every play, but always from someplace different. It can force quarterbacks to make quicker decisions, sometimes the wrong decision. Of course, a year ago Clemson stymied the pressure by running the Yellow Jackets silly. And while a repeat performance would be nice, this could come down to how well Harper can keep making decisions, as well as throws. If the line performs, the playmakers will have chances for big gains.

ADVANTAGE - SLIM TO CLEMSON

WHEN TECH HAS THE BALL

How healthy is Tashard Choice? The Jackets' star running back is nursing a bad hamstring, but is expected to start Saturday in Atlanta. If healthy, his power running would go a long way toward keeping Clemson's offense off the field. Not to mention making life easier for quarterback Taylor Bennett. But the feeling here is that Choice won't be 100 percent, and without him Tech is in trouble. They already have trouble converting third downs, and if Choice isn't a factor then the troubles will only get worse.

ADVANTAGE - CLEMSON

SPECIAL TEAMS

The Tigers gave up another long return on kickoff coverage last week, this time for a touchdown. Mark Buchholz finally had his first two misses of the season, but still finished 4-of-6. Meanwhile Travis Bell, the Tech kicker, is 10-of-11. Their punting and punt return averages are better, too.

ADVANTAGE - GA. TECH

INTANGIBLES

The positive energy around Clemson continues to grow. Everyone is saying all the right things, and the team seems to be improving. Georgia Tech last year showed an ability to bounce back from adversity and play well. They're in that position now, down 0-2 in the ACC. As for homefield? Means little in this series.

ADVANTAGE - EVEN

BOTTOM LINE

If Clemson protects Harper, it wins the game. I believe it is as simple as that. Well, that and special teams. Never count that out, either. After a blowout a year ago...

THE PICK

Clemson 27, Ga. Tech 17

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