Tigers swat Jackets to set up top five showdown


by - Senior Writer -
Discuss on TigerBoard   Print   | TigerNetcom Facebook ClemsonTigerNet Twitter TigerNet RSS Feed
Christian Wilkins celebrates an early stop
Christian Wilkins celebrates an early stop

ATLANTA, GA – Welcome to Clemson College GameDay.

Clemson’s defense throttled Georgia Tech’s option offense for most of four quarters and the offense did just enough as No. 5 Clemson defeated Tech 26-7 in front of 53,932 fans at Bobby Dodd Stadium late Thursday, winning its first game in Atlanta since 2003.

With the victory, Clemson improves to 4-0 and will host third-ranked Louisville in what is expected to be a battle of top five unbeatens at 8 p.m. next Saturday. ESPN’s College GameDay has already announced it will broadcast from Clemson for the game.

Clemson's defense held Georgia Tech to just 124 total yards - 95 on the ground and 29 through the air. Quarterback Justin Thomas had -25 yards rushing.

Deshaun Watson was 32-of-48 for 304 and two touchdowns (one interception) as Clemson racked up 442 total yards - 138 yards on the ground and 304 through the air. Wayne Gallman had 17 carries for 59 yards and Ray-Ray McCloud was Clemson's leading receiver with eight catches for 101 yards.

“This is a place we hadn’t won at very much, so mission accomplished. We’re happy to get out of here with a W, it’s been a long time," head coach Dabo Swinney said. "I love the fight of our guys. I love the preparation. Tim Bourret told me before we came in here that Clemson has come in here undefeated many times since 1903, but it’s the first time they’ve left undefeated. Hats off to Georgia Tech, but our guys were locked in. They played very well."

The Tigers made it look easy on the opening drive. Tech won the toss and elected to defer, and it took the Tigers nine plays to cover 75 yards for the score. Ray-Ray McCloud had a 17-yard reception and a 17-yard rush that helped set up four-yard pass from Watson to Mike Williams for a 7-0 lead.

Clemson’s second drive stalled inside the Tech 20 after Greg Huegel missed a field goal, but the Tigers got back on the board on the third drive of the game. Clemson forced the second Tech punt of the game, and it took the Tigers eight plays to cover 62 yards with Gallman crashing in from a yard out for a 14-0 lead with 2:26 remaining in the first quarter.

The Tigers continued to make plays on offense but failed to score until late in the half, and it came in unconventional fashion. The Tigers drove into Tech territory, but his pass in the end zone was picked off by Lance Austin. Austin tried to bring the ball out of the end zone, but his own player knocked the ball back into the end zone and it was pounced on by a Tech player for a safety and a 16-0 lead.

The Jackets were forced to kick off to the Tigers, who effectively ran out the clock in the half with their third touchdown scoring drive. Clemson took over at its own 28 with 1:53 on the game clock and marched 72 yards in 10 plays. The drive ended when Watson hit Jordan Leggett crossing the back of the end zone for a four-yard scoring toss. With four seconds left to play in the half, Clemson held a 23-0 lead.

The teams then muddled through a third quarter that was defensive in nature and offensive to watch, but the Jackets finally got a drive going late in the third quarter. The Jackets took over at their own 11 with just over four minutes to play in the quarter, and aided by three Clemson defensive penalties found the end zone after 11 plays. Tech scored on a two-yard run by Dedrick Mills, and Clemson led 23-7 with 13:31 to play in the game.

Clemson managed to get the ball near midfield, but the Tigers failed on a third-and-one situation and had to punt. The Jackets bailed out the offense, however, with Mills throwing a pass that was intercepted by Van Smith. The Tigers managed a 47-yard field goal from Huegel and held a 26-7 advantage with 9:57 to play.

“The first half, outside of just a couple of miscues, was just a dominant performance. I think they had 22 yards at the half on 21 plays. Offensively we ran 56 plays and had 300-some yards, and it was just a thing of beauty. The second half was weird," Swinney said. "That was a weird second half, and that’s what happens sometime when you play this group. We only had seven (offensive) plays in the third quarter, only two possessions. We messed up the first third down, our tackle went the wrong way on a simple play. We come back the second time and got the perfect call on third down. He had the first down and went backwards, so he lost the first down. That’s the only two possessions we had in the third quarter, so give them some credit. I think they had a 90-yard drive.

“We pinned them back, I thought the field possession was awesome all night. I was really proud of our punt team and the field possession they created, same thing with our kickoff coverage. In the fourth quarter, we got it done just enough. We were able to get the field goal. I think we had 27 first downs. We didn’t punch it in on a couple of the opportunities that we had. But when you can control the ball like that with that amount of first downs against this type of team, then you’re making hay, because they’re not really built to run a two-minute offense."

Clemson hosts Louisville next Saturday at 8 p.m.

Date: Sep 22, 2016  Site: Atlanta, Ga.          Stadium: Bobby Dodd Stadium
Attendance: 53932

Score by Quarters     1  2  3  4   Score
-----------------    -- -- -- --   -----
Clemson............. 14  9  0  3  - 26
Georgia Tech........  0  0  0  7  -  7

Scoring Summary:
1st 11:25 CU - M. WILLIAMS 4 yd pass from WATSON (HUEGEL kick)
                                                    9 plays, 75 yards, TOP 3:35, CU 7 - GT 0
    02:26 CU - GALLMAN 1 yd run (HUEGEL kick)
                                                   8 plays, 62 yards, TOP 2:43, CU 14 - GT 0
2nd 02:00 CU - TEAM safety
                                                                                CU 16 - GT 0
    00:04 CU - LEGGETT 9 yd pass from WATSON (HUEGEL kick)
                                                  10 plays, 72 yards, TOP 1:49, CU 23 - GT 0
4th 13:21 GT - Dedrick Mills 2 yd run (Harrison Butker kick)
                                                  11 plays, 89 yards, TOP 6:04, CU 23 - GT 7
    09:57 CU - HUEGEL 47 yd field goal
                                                   4 plays, -2 yards, TOP 0:51, CU 26 - GT 7

Kickoff time: 7:32 pm   End of Game: 10:41     Total elapsed time: 3:09
Officials: Referee: Duane Heydt; Umpire: Jim Hyson; Linesman: Mike Pavese;
Line judge: Danny Short; Back judge: H.Wittelsberger; Field judge: Tom Potts;
Side judge: Tony Tarantini; Center judge: Don Yates;
Temperature: 84 deg    Wind: NNW 5mph  Weather: Clear

Team Statistics

                                     CU       GT

FIRST DOWNS...................       24       11
  Rushing.....................        9        7
  Passing.....................       15        1
  Penalty.....................        0        3
NET YARDS RUSHING.............      138       95
  Rushing Attempts............       34       38
  Average Per Rush............      4.1      2.5
  Rushing Touchdowns..........        1        1
  Yards Gained Rushing........      148      138
  Yards Lost Rushing..........       10       43
NET YARDS PASSING.............      304       29
  Completions-Attempts-Int....  32-48-1   4-14-1
  Average Per Attempt.........      6.3      2.1
  Average Per Completion......      9.5      7.2
  Passing Touchdowns..........        2        0
TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS...........      442      124
  Total offense plays.........       82       52
  Average Gain Per Play.......      5.4      2.4
Fumbles: Number-Lost..........      1-0      1-0
Penalties: Number-Yards.......    10-80     2-15
PUNTS-YARDS...................    6-232    8-312
  Average Yards Per Punt......     38.7     39.0
  Net Yards Per Punt..........     36.0     36.9
  Inside 20...................        4        2
  50+ Yards...................        0        0
  Touchbacks..................        0        0
  Fair catch..................        4        4
KICKOFFS-YARDS................    5-284    3-205
  Average Yards Per Kickoff...     56.8     68.3
  Net Yards Per Kickoff.......     44.6     44.0
  Touchbacks..................        2        2
Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD.   3-17-0   1-16-0
  Average Per Return..........      5.7     16.0
Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD   1-23-0   1-11-0
  Average Per Return..........     23.0     11.0
Interceptions: Number-Yds-TD..    1-8-0    1-0-0
Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD.    0-0-0    0-0-0
Miscellaneous Yards...........        0        0
Possession Time...............    31:36    28:24
  1st Quarter.................     9:01     5:59
  2nd Quarter.................     9:53     5:07
  3rd Quarter.................     3:11    11:49
  4th Quarter.................     9:31     5:29
Third-Down Conversions........ 10 of 18  2 of 12
Fourth-Down Conversions.......   0 of 0   0 of 1
Red-Zone Scores-Chances.......      3-6      1-1
  Touchdowns..................      3-6      1-1
  Field goals.................      0-6      0-1
Sacks By: Number-Yards........     3-30      1-5
PAT Kicks.....................      3-3      1-1
Field Goals...................      1-2      0-0
Points off turnovers..........        3        0

Individual Statistics

Clemson

Rushing              No Gain Loss  Net TD Lg  Avg
-------------------------------------------------
GALLMAN              17   62    3   59  1 12  3.5
WATSON               12   43    7   36  0 12  3.0
CHOICE                4   26    0   26  0 16  6.5
McCLOUD               1   17    0   17  0 17 17.0
Totals...            34  148   10  138  1 17  4.1

Passing              Cmp-Att-Int Yds TD Long Sack
-------------------------------------------------
WATSON                 32-48-1   304  2   28    1
Totals...              32-48-1   304  2   28    1

Receiving             No.  Yds   TD Long
----------------------------------------
McCLOUD                 8  101    0   24
M. WILLIAMS             6   61    1   28
POWELL                  5   44    0   18
LEGGETT                 4   31    1   14
GALLMAN                 3   22    0   10
A. SCOTT                3   14    0    8
THOMPSON                1   25    0   25
CHOICE                  1    5    0    5
CAIN                    1    1    0    1
Totals...              32  304    2   28

Punting               No.  Yds   Avg Long In20   TB
---------------------------------------------------
TEASDALL                6  232  38.7   49    4    0
Totals...               6  232  38.7   49    4    0

                       Punts   Kickoffs  Intercept
All Returns          No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg
--------------------------------------------------
McCLOUD               3  17 11  0   0  0  0   0  0
A. SCOTT              0   0  0  1  23 23  0   0  0
V. SMITH              0   0  0  0   0  0  1   8  8
Totals...             3  17 11  1  23 23  1   8  8

Field goal attempts
----------------------------------------
HUEGEL               1st 06:39  27 yds - Missed
HUEGEL               4th 09:57  47 yds - Good

Kickoffs         No.  Yds  TB  OB   Avg
---------------------------------------
HUEGEL             5  284   2   1  56.8

Georgia Tech

Rushing              No Gain Loss  Net TD Lg  Avg
-------------------------------------------------
Dedrick Mills        16   76    1   75  1 18  4.7
Marcus Marshall       5   20    0   20  0 12  4.0
Clinton Lynch         2   16    0   16  0 11  8.0
Isiah Willis          2   10    0   10  0  9  5.0
J.J. Green            2    3    0    3  0  2  1.5
Qua Searcy            1    0    4   -4  0  0 -4.0
Justin Thomas        10   13   38  -25  0  7 -2.5
Totals...            38  138   43   95  1 18  2.5

Passing              Cmp-Att-Int Yds TD Long Sack
-------------------------------------------------
Justin Thomas          4-13-0     29  0   26    3
Dedrick Mills           0-1-1      0  0    0    0
Totals...              4-14-1     29  0   26    3

Receiving             No.  Yds   TD Long
----------------------------------------
Brad Stewart            1   26    0   26
Ricky Jeune             1    6    0    6
Marcus Marshall         1    0    0    0
Clinton Lynch           1   -3    0    0
Totals...               4   29    0   26

Punting               No.  Yds   Avg Long In20   TB
---------------------------------------------------
Ryan Rodwell            8  312  39.0   44    2    0
Totals...               8  312  39.0   44    2    0

                       Punts   Kickoffs  Intercept
All Returns          No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg
--------------------------------------------------
Brad Stewart          1  16 16  0   0  0  0   0  0
Lance Austin          0   0  0  0   0  0  1   0  2
J.J. Green            0   0  0  1  11 11  0   0  0
Totals...             1  16 16  1  11 11  1   0  2

Field goal attempts
----------------------------------------

Kickoffs         No.  Yds  TB  OB   Avg
---------------------------------------
Butker, H.         3  205   2   0  68.3

FUMBLES: Clemson-McCLOUD 1-0. Georgia Tech-Lance Austin 1-0.

Rate this Story:
30 votes

Send Feedback to David Hood: Email | Comment
Discuss on TigerBoard   Print   | TigerNetcom Facebook ClemsonTigerNet Twitter TigerNet RSS Feed
Post your comments!
Clemson ties best AP preseason ranking
Clemson ties best AP preseason ranking
Monday Insider: Camp ends, school begins, and excitement mounts
Monday Insider: Camp ends, school begins, and excitement mounts
Georgia OT picks up Clemson offer
Georgia OT picks up Clemson offer
Quarterback: Battle for starting spot heads into final week of fall camp
Quarterback: Battle for starting spot heads into final week of fall camp
WATCH: Deshaun Watson leads Texans 79 yards for first TD back
WATCH: Deshaun Watson leads Texans 79 yards for first TD back
WATCH: Mike Williams with remarkable TD grab
WATCH: Mike Williams with remarkable TD grab
Swinney looking forward to "interesting bus ride" into LSU's Death Valley
Swinney looking forward to "interesting bus ride" into LSU's Death Valley
Thursday's scrimmage a battle of the elite versus the elite
Thursday's scrimmage a battle of the elite versus the elite
Unfinished Business: Mark Fields looking to put it all together in 2018
Unfinished Business: Mark Fields looking to put it all together in 2018
Sign Up for E-Mail News Alerts
Features
Breaking
Daily Digest