It’s been a long time since members of the Clemson football team have had to explain away a defeat. Prior to Saturday night’s loss at Georgia Tech, the Tigers had not been on the losing side since that forgettable bowl game in Charlotte against South Florida.
So in the aftermath of the disapointing loss in Atlanta, the Tigers took on the defeat head on. Something their defense couldn’t do with Tech’s offense. The number’s Paul Johnson’s group put up on the Clemson defense were staggering…383 rushing yards, 5.7 yards per carry, 39 minutes of ball possession including 13:03 of the fourth quarter.
When Clemson needed to stop Tech the most, down by two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the Tigers could not. The Yellow Jackets sliced and diced Kevin Steele’s defense for a 16 play, nine minute march, all on the ground, that effectively eliminated any chance of a Tiger rally.
The Clemson offense was also not up to par. The Tigers managed 399 yards with 304 of that coming thru the air. Without Andre Ellington at tailback, Clemson turned to DJ Howard and Mike Bellamy. They combined for 89 yards and two turnovers.
Quarterback Tajh Boyd was 23-40 for 295 yards but had two interceptions. One was particularly costly as it came in the end zone after the Tigers had picked off a Tech pass deep in its territory. That was one of the few times Boyd and Sammy Watkins did not connect. Watkins had another monster night with 10 catches for 159 yards and 1 touchdown, a 48 yard catch and dash to the end zone.
The Tigers will have two weeks to forget about this loss and get ready for their next game. And it’s a big one. It will be Senior Day in Death Valley with Wake Forest the opponent. A Clemson win and the Tigers will be going back to the ACC Championship Game for the second time in three seasons.