Death Valley, Clemson: For a fleeting moment Saturday afternoon, Georgia Tech had Clemson on their heels. After stopping a fake punt run by Aidan Swanson at the Tigers’ 25, the Yellow Jackets scored to take their first lead in the series since 2014. After that, the Tigers took the fuzz out of Buzz.
Clemson and Georgia Tech have played 41 consecutive games, and with no game on the future schedule, the Tigers will have bragging rights after a dominant 42-21 victory. With the win, the Tigers improved to 6-4 overall and 3-4 ACC and became bowl eligible. Georgia Tech dropped to 5-5 and 4-3.
Clemson’s had its second highest offensive output of the season with 465 total yards. Quarterback Cade Klubnik completed 23-of-34 passes for 205 yards and four touchdowns in just three-and-a-half quarters. Phil Mafah had 17 carries for 96 yards, while Shipley added 77 yards on 11 carries. Tyler Brown had seven receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown, and Beaux Collins had five catches for 65 yards and a score.
The Clemson defense tallied four interceptions, 11 tackles for loss and four sacks.
After a head-scratching fake punt inside their own 30 from Clemson, it took Georgia Tech just four plays to score and take a 7-0 lead.
Clemson answered by scoring the next 21 points. The Tigers converted two fourth downs on a record-setting nine-plus minute drive – their longest scoring drive in school history – that ended with a five-yard touchdown pass to Collins. Brown called his own shot on the next drive and one-handed the ball for a three-yard touchdown catch. Shipley – who missed last week in concussion protocol – took the ball 32 yards to the house for a 21-7 Clemson lead at intermission.
The Tigers punted on their first possession of the second half but found some rhythm on the second drive with a 7-play drive capped off by a five-yard pass to Jake Briningstool in the back of the endzone for a 28-7 lead with 7:05 to play in the third quarter.
Clemson added two fourth-quarter touchdowns – a 13-yard reception by tight end Josh Sapp and a 46-yard pick-six by Shelton Lewis for a 42-7 Tigers advantage.
The Yellow Jackets scored their first points of the second half at the 10:11 mark of the fourth quarter on a 32-yard catch and run by Dontae Smith to make it 42-14. They later added a touchdown after pass interference was called on Lewis on fourth down for the final margin.
Clemson hosts North Carolina next Saturday at 3:30 pm. It’s the last home game of the 2023 season, and the Tigers will celebrate Senior Day.