GT-CU Pregame Notebook: Bowden Impressed with Kelly


by - Correspondent -
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Kelly rushed for 97 yards and three touchdowns in last week's 33-13 win over Louisiana Tech.

CLEMSON - Tommy Bowden has seen tailback Yusef Kelly run over defenders. Now
he's like to see him run around a few.


"Now that he's got secondary guys set up on toughness I'd like to see him run
around one of them and go further," Bowden said with a laugh. "He's got the
toughness thing down. He's made some really impressive runs on the goal line,
too. He reminds you a little bit of (former Clemson tailback Travis) Zachary.
Some guys can smell it."


Kelly rushed for 97 yards and three touchdowns in last week's 33-13 win over
Louisiana Tech, his first career start. Initially slotted as the No. 2
running back behind Bernard Rambert entering the season, he has taken over
the starting spot due to Rambert's bout with tendonitis in his foot.


But Clemson hasn't missed a beat, and Bowden thinks redshirting Kelly after
his freshman season has played a big part in his success this year.


"I think it helped from maturity standpoint and toughness standpoint," Bowden
said. "He got hurt a whole lot his freshman year. He's learned how to
practice better and you're seeing it pay off on Saturday."


DEFENSIVE STRUGGLE?


The first three games between Clemson and Georgia Tech since Tommy Bowden
took over the Tigers have been barn-burners, to say the least.


The total score in those three games is 120-117 in favor of Tech, or an
average score of 40-39.


But could this game actually be more of a defensive struggle? Sure it's
early, but consider the following:


- Clemson and Georgia Tech are two of the top three teams in the ACC in total
defense. Georgia Tech is 21st in the nation in total defense, while Clemson
is 23rd.


- Clemson leads the ACC in rushing defense, and Georgia Tech is second, just
3.5 yards off Clemson's pace of 83 yards a game allowed.


- Clemson and Georgia Tech are two of the top four passing yardage defense
teams in the ACC.


- Clemson and Georgia Tech are two of the top three teams in the ACC in pass
efficiency defense.


- Clemson and Georgia Tech are two of the top four teams in the ACC in
scoring defense.


- Clemson and Georgia Tech are two of the top three teams in the ACC in 3rd
down conversion defense.


- Clemson and Georgia Tech are two of the top four teams in the ACC in
turnover margin.


RAMBLIN' AHEAD


Georgia Tech has won four of the last five meetings with Clemson to take a
43-21-2 lead in the series, which began in 1898.


The two teams have split the last 10 games. The Tigers won last year's game,
47-44 in overtime. Tech has won two in a row at Clemson, including a 31-28
victory in 2000.


Just 11 of the 66 games between the two schools have been played at Clemson,
where the Tigers have a 7-4 advantage.


EARLY START


Fans attending today's game are urged to arrive early.


A crowd of over 80,000 is anticipated for the contest that will kickoff at
noon. Last year Clemson also had a noon kickoff with North Carolina, and many
fans failed to account for traffic problems and missed the first quarter of
the game as a result.

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