In a game that lived up to its billing as a league title game, Georgia Tech edged Clemson 39-34 Saturday night in Tampa, the winning points coming on a Jonathan Dwyer 15 yard touchdown run with 1:20 to play. The Tigers had taken a 34-33 lead on Andre Ellington’s one yard dive with 6:11 to play. But the Yellow Jackets drove right back down the field going 86 yards in 4:45. They converted a fourth and one from their on 23 to sustain the drive. The two point conversion attempt failed. Clemson started its final possession on its on 35 with 1;20 to play, but a holding penalty on the first play cost them ten yards. The drive, and the game, ended when Kyle Parker was stopped short on fourth and two from the Clemson 43.
The loss overshadowed the best night of CJ Spiller’s career. The Tigers’ senior tailback turned in a Heisman worthy performance rushing 20 times for a career high 233 yards and four touchdowns. Spiller scored on runs of 3, 41, 36 and 9 yards. He was named the game’s MVP.
AUDIO: Dabo Swinney & CJ Spiller post game news conference
The Tigers rushed for 323 yards on the night averaging 9.5 yards per carry. They finished with 414 total yards. Quarterback Kyle Parker was 10-17 for just 91 yards, and he was intercepted twice. Neither team punted on a night the teams combined for 883 yards of offense. Tech has now gone 22 consecutive possessions without a punt.
AUDIO: Kyle Parker
Tech had two players rush for over 100 yards. Jnathan Dwyer went for 110 yards and 2 touchdowns and Josh Nesbitt tallied 103 yards and one score. Nesbitt also passed for 136 yards and a touchdown. In their two games against Clemson this season, the Yellow Jackets rushed for a combined 634 yards. They also stung the Tigers with their kicker Scott Blair. He kicked four field goals tonight giving him seven in the two games. And he also threw a touchdown pass in the first game.
AUDIO: Da’Quan Bowers
Da’Quan Bowers led the Tiger defense with a carrer high 11 tackles. Marcus Gilchrist had 10 tackles and forced a fumble. The Tigers had four tackles for loss but no sacks.
AUDIO: Ricky Sapp
It was a night full of records. Spiller’s 54 yard run was the longest in championship game history…Blair’s 49 yard field goal was the longest in game history….Spiller’s 233 rushing yards are a a game record….Blair’s four field goals set a game mark…it’s the first time in championship game history neither team punted.
The loss is Clemson’s fourth straight to Georgia Tech and sixth in the last seven meetings. The Tigers fall to 8-5 while Tech, which is headed to the Orange Bowl, improves to 11-2. Clemson is expected to be invited Sunday to the Music City Bowl in Nashville. The opponent likely will be Kentucky, the team the Tigers lost to in the 2006 Music City Bowl. The only significant injury Clemson suffered was offensive lineman Mason Cloy who went down with a broken lower leg in the fourth quarter.
AUDIO: DeAndre McDaniel