Clemson Football: Winners and Losers from Week 6 Game vs. Yellow Jackets
After going on the road for two straight weeks, Clemson extended its winning streak in Death Valley by defeating the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (47-31) in a game in which a struggling Tigers defense was faced with the Paul Johnson option attack.
Keeping it close for the entire game, Clemson contained the option and made enough stops to give its offense more time on the field.
The Tigers now move to 5-1 on the year and 2-1 in the ACC, and thanks to N.C. State, the team is still alive in the race for the Atlantic Division.
Here are the winners and losers from Clemson's victory over the Yellow Jackets.
Winner: Clemson Front 7
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First-year defensive coordinator Brent Venables got his first taste of option in Week 6, and at first, it looked as though it would be a tough outing for the defense.
However, the front seven settled down and made key stops as the game progressed.
Linebacker Spencer Shuey came up with a key safety in the fourth quarter after the Yellow Jackets went down on the one yard line during the kickoff. The defensive line shut down the fullback dive all game long, and Josh Watson blocked a field goal in the fourth quarter.
Overall, the young front seven matured a little bit more with this victory.
Loser: Clemson Secondary
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The secondary remains the biggest weakness of this struggling Clemson defense. The key concern is at safety, where Jonathan Meeks continues to give up big plays, consistently misses tackles and takes bad angles on a regular basis.
This group made Georgia Tech's weakness—its passing attack—into more of a strength.
Garry Peters held up well enough in his first start to continue starting, given the ball was not thrown on a consistent basis. However, this group still needs a lot of improvement. Sooner rather than later, true freshman Travis Blanks may see the switch to safety on a full-time basis.
Winner: DeAndre Hopkins
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Receiver DeAndre Hopkins has experienced a surge in production in the Clemson offense in 2012.
Hopkins has essentially become the go-to guy through the first six games of the season, while fellow wideout Sammy Watkins misses time due to suspensions and sickness.
Until he can get back to form in the passing game, Hopkins will be the main threat at receiver, and he has yet to disappoint.
Winner: Clemson Offense
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Despite Tajh Boyd's early struggles—overthrowing open receivers and throwing two interceptions—the Clemson offense continued to roll.
The Tigers scored over 35 points for the fifth straight week, and over 40 points for the fourth time this season. Boyd continues to impress with his improved mobility, with 63 rushing yards, and made key runs in a five-minute drive that resulted in a touchdown to seal the victory.
Meanwhile, Chad Morris continues to show the Tiger faithful and all of college football what a mad scientist he is on the offensive side of the ball, with the Tigers collecting over 600 yards of offense.