Instant Analysis: No. 15 Clemson 47, Georgia Tech 31

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CLEMSON - Instant Analysis: Clemson 47, Georgia Tech 31

What went right: Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Jr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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threw for a career-high 397 yards and also set a career-high in rushing yards with 63 as the Tigers rolled up 601 yards of offense.

Nuk Hopkins had seven catches for 173 yards.

With the defense reeling in the fourth quarter, Clemson linebacker Spencer ShueySpencer Shuey
RS Jr. Linebacker
#33 6-3, 230
Charlotte, NC

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stepped in and recorded a safety, the first time since 2008 the Tigers had recorded a safety. That made it 40-31 and changed the complexion of the game.

On the next drive, Josh WatsonJosh Watson
RS So. Defensive Tackle
#91 6-4, 285
Wilmington, DE

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batted away a Georgia Tech field goal attempt, thwarting yet another Jacket scoring opportunity.

The defense gave up just 10 points in the second half.

The Tigers scored on five straight possessions after a punt on the first possession of the game.

The Clemson defense also held Georgia Tech on the Jackets’ first possession – Georgia Tech had a 4th-and-1 at their own 37-yard line on the drive, but the Tiger defense snuffed quarterback Tevin Washington on the play and the offense took over.

Chandler CatanzaroChandler Catanzaro
RS Jr. Punter / Kicker
#39 6-2, 195
Greenville, SC

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hit three more field goals, adding to his school record of consecutive field goals made. He has now made 19 in a row dating back to last season.

Clemson converted a 4th-and-1 of its own in the second quarter.

Boyd escaped pressure on a second-down play with just over three minutes remaining in the half, dodged one defensive lineman and looked like he would escape to run. The safety came up, leaving Nuk Hopkins all alone and Boyd hit Hopkins for a 58-yard touchdown.

After Clemson went ahead 36-31, the Tigers opted to try for the two-point conversion. The ball was snapped to Ellington, who flipped it to receiver Nuk Hopkins, who then tossed the conversion to a wide-open Boyd in the end zone and a 38-31 Clemson lead.

What went wrong: Clemson’s safeties continued to look lost. Jonathan MeeksJonathan Meeks
Sr. Safety
#5 6-1, 210
Rock Hill, SC

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missed a huge tackle on Georgia Tech’s first scoring drive. The Jackets also managed to throw three times on the drive, all successfully, covering 83 yards in just four plays.

Boyd was not in rhythm in the early part of the first half – several of his throws were high and generally off-target.

Facing a third down at the Georgia Tech 3-yard line late in the second quarter, offensive coordinator Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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opted for a trick play, having wide receiver Nuk Hopkins attempt a pass to tight end Brandon FordBrandon Ford
Gr. Tight End
#80 6-4, 240
Wando, SC

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. The pass was off-target, and the Tigers had to settle for a field goal.

The linebackers did not wide enough on the pitch plays, allowing Georgia to get chunks of yards, especially in the first half.

The Jackets rushed for 197 yards in the first half, and wound up with 339 for the game. The Jackets averaged 8.1 yards per play on the afternoon.

Boyd threw two second half interceptions.

Turning Point of the Game: Leading 38-31, the Tigers kicked off to Georgia Tech, and the ball was fumbled by the return man. He fell on it at the 3-yard line. Corey CrawfordCorey Crawford
So. Defensive End
#93 6-5, 270
Columbus, GA

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just missed an interception on the first play from scrimmage, but middle linebacker Spencer Shuey read the pitch on the second play and stopped A-back Orwin Smith in the endzone for a safety. That made it 40-31.

Stat of the Game: Chad Morris had the best of both world’s Saturday – he slowed down his tempo just enough and still ran 93 plays for 601 total yards. The Tigers also won the time of possession battle – 32:01 to 27:59.

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