Instant Halftime Analysis: Clemson 23, Georgia Tech 0

by - Staff Writer -
McCloud has seven catches for 90 yards
McCloud has seven catches for 90 yards

ATLANTA, GA - Fifth-ranked Clemson is putting on a defensive clinic in Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Georgia Tech's option offense has just 22 - that's right 22 - total yards at the half and Tigers lead Tech 23-0 at intermission. Tech has run just 21 plays for an average of one yard per play.

PLAYER OF THE HALF: Offensively, Ray-Ray McCloud is the player of the half, however, it’s been the defense that has stolen the show.

McCloud has seven catches for 90 yards and has made some big grabs, while being a steadying force on punt return. He’s carried the ball on the jet sweep, reverses and caught bullets downfield from Deshaun Watson.

The defense has caused Justin Thomas and the Georgia Tech offense to have nightmares. The Yellow Jackets have just 22 total yards – 25 rushing yards and minus-3 yards passing. Tech didn’t pick up its first first down of the game (not by penalty) until 11 minutes were left in the first half. Clemson’s defensive line has won the line scrimmage so far in this contest.

STAT OF THE HALF:Georgia Tech only has two first downs on five possessions – one via a pass interference call and the other rushing. The Yellow Jackets only had the ball for 11:02 in the first half.

WHAT WENT RIGHT: Brent Venables had his defense prepared for Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense, despite having just four days to prepare. Tech was just one-of-six on third down and averaged less than a half yard per play.

Clemson’s offense amassed 347 yards of total offense – 253 yards through the air and 85 yards on the ground. They had 19 first downs and were 8-of-11 on third down. For the most part, Watson was on the same page with his receivers and the offensive line was giving him plenty of time to throw, as well as opening up the running lanes.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Greg Huegel missed another field goal – this one from 27 yards – and had another kickoff sail out of bounds. The Tigers were marching for a TD late in the half when Watson threw an interception in the endzone. The Tigers marched into Georgia Tech territory several times, but managed just the two first quarter scores until late in the half.

TURNING POINT OF THE HALF:The opening kickoff. Georgia Tech deferred and kicked off to the Tigers to begin the game and never threatened.

WHAT CLEMSON NEEDS TO DO WIN:Keep scoring when they’re in the red zone. Tech’s offense isn’t clicking, but the Tigers have to put points on the board when they get the chance.

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