Clemson’s hopes for a perfect season and a spot in the BCS Championship Game were wrecked by a Georgia Tech team that revived its own season. Tech literally ran the Tigers into the ground with a punishing 31-17 victory at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
The Yellow Jackets rushed for 383 yards, by far the most allowed by Clemson’s defense this season, in breaking a two game losing streak. The win keeps alive Tech’s hopes of winning the ACC’s Coastal Division. Clemson can still win the Atlantic Division title in two weeks with a victory at home against Wake Forest.
Tech’s offensive dominance was never more evident than in the fourth quarter. Clemson trailed by two touchdowns and needed a quick stop for a chance to get back into the game. But Tech ran off 16 plays, all on the ground, and ate up over nine minutes off the clock leaving Clemson no time for a dramatic rally.
The Tigers fall to 8-1 overall and 5-1 in the ACC. The Tigers have lost their last four games in Atlanta. Tech improves to 7-2 and 4-2 and will face Virginia Tech November 10th at home in the game that will likely determine the division champion.
Clemson post game notes:
*Clemson started a secondary with four players who normally play cornerback. Coty Sensabaugh and Xavier Brewer started at the safety positions and Bashaud Breland and Darius Robinson started at the cornerbacks.
*Clemson scored on its first offensive possession of the night marking the sixth time in nine games Clemson has scored on its first possession. Clemson has scored three TDs and three field goals on its opening drive. By comparison, Clemson’s defense has allowed the opposition to score just one touchdown and one field goal on its opening possession this year.
*Clemson trailed at the end of the first period. The Tigers have had the lead at the end of the first period in just five of nine games so far this year.
*Clemson had just three points and 132 yards of total offense in the first half. It is the fewest points in a half and the second fewest yards. Clemson only had 121 yards in the first half of the season opener against Troy.
*Clemson failed to score in the second period tonight, just the fourth quarter this year Clemson has failed to score.
*Clemson dropped its first game of the season tonight, but still will be able to clinch the Atlantic Division title on November 12 when Wake Forest comes to Clemson on Senior Night.
*Tonight marked just the second game this year that Clemson failed to get at least 440 yards of total offense. Virginia Tech held Clemson to 323 yards at Virginia Tech in the fifth game of the season.
*Clemson running back Andre Ellington went through pregame warmups in uniform, but decided not to dress for tonight’s game. He watched the contest in street clothes.
*Sammy Watkins set three ACC freshmen records when he caught a 48 yard touchdown pass in the second half. He set the ACC freshman marks for receptions, reception yards and touchdown catches on that one play. He now has 64 receptions for 978 yards and 10 receiving touchdowns.
*Watkins had 10 catches for 159 yards and the touchdown tonight. It was his third game of at least 150 receiving yards. He not only set the single season record for 150 yard receiving games, he is now the Clemson career leader for 150 yard receiving games. Perry Tuttle and Aaron Kelly had two apiece for the previous mark.
*Watkins tied his own Clemson freshman single game receptions mark with 10 this evening and established the receiving yardage mark. He had the record with 155 and his 159 broke it tonight.
*Tajh Boyd now has 25 touchdown passes for the season, two off the Clemson single season record. He has thrown and rushed for 29, two off the Clemson season record of 31 held by Woody Dantlzer in 2001.
*Watkins had 290 all-purpose running yards this evening, the fifth highest total in Clemson history. He now has the first and fifth highest figures in school history.
*Corico Hawkins had a career high 15 tackles tonight, while Quandon Christian had a career high 11 stops.
*Rashard Hall had his first interception of the season, but his third takeaway. He now has 12 career takeaways.
*Brandon Thomas recovered a fumble for a touchdown in the fourth period. He became the first Clemson offensive lineman to score a touchdown since 1966 when Harry Olszewski ran 12 yards with a mid-air fumble against South Carolina.