Last Saturday, the then No. 15 Clemson Tigers moved their record to 5-1 overall with a 47-31 victory over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
“This was a huge win,” said Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney. “It was a momentum win. It was a complete game and we won every quarter, especially the fourth quarter. I’m proud of the team, and they keep improving every week.”
The Tigers struck first on their second possession of the game when quarterback Tajh Boyd scored on a one-yard touchdown run. Georgia Tech answered back with a 16-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tevin Washington to wide receiver Jeff Greene, but Clemson took the lead again on their next possession with a 23-yard field goal by Chandler Catanzaro. Unfazed, Georgia Tech redirected the pendulum with a 13-yard touchdown run by Orwin Smith.
Clemson regained the lead on its first drive of the second quarter when Roderick McDowell scored a two-yard touchdown on a toss play. The Tigers extended their lead on the next possession when Catanzaro connected on a 20-yard field goal.
The Yellow Jackets would not fade however, and Washington capped off a long drive with a one-yard touchdown run to retake the lead. Clemson put together another drive right before the half, and it ended with a 58-yard touchdown pass from Boyd to Nuk Hopkins to give the Tigers a 27-21 advantage going into halftime.
The Yellow Jackets came out strong in the third quarter, scoring on their first drive with a four-yard run by Washington. The Tigers responded late in the quarter on Catanzaro’s third field goal of the game, a 21-yarder, to take the lead heading in to the final quarter.
Clemson’s lead was short lived, as the Yellow Jackets got a field goal on their first possession of the fourth quarter. That would be the final lead of the game for Georgia Tech. A 35-yard touchdown pass from Boyd to Hopkins put the Tigers up for good on the next possession.
After a misplay by the Georgia Tech return man, Tigers linebacker Spencer Shuey was able to tackle a Yellow Jackets runner in the end zone for a safety. McDowell's second touchdown run of the game would seal a 47-31 victory for Clemson with less than a minute remaining.
“We made the changes that were necessary and forced Georgia Tech to put drives together,” Swinney said. “We just need to recommit and refocus because our season starts with Virginia Tech.”
Boyd finished with a career-high 397 yards passing and three total touchdowns. Hopkins finished with 173 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Clemson has an open date and then takes on Virginia Tech at home on October 20.
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