Instant Analysis: Georgia Tech 31, Clemson 17
What went right:
The offense finally got clicking in the second half, but it was too little too late.
Sammy Watkins had another strong game.
What went wrong:
The defense started off strong, but allowed the Jackets to get the running game going midway through the first quarter. The Jackets were able to get big yards on first down, and then sprung big plays to the outside for chunk runs.
The Tigers took their first drive down the field but only came away with a field goal. After that, it was a nightmare scenario for the Tigers. A D.J. Howard fumble led to seven Tech points, and the screen game and play calls near the line of scrimmage simply weren’t working.
The Tiger defense – even knowing what was coming on short third downs – couldn’t make a stop. Especially late in the game, after Clemson turned it over, the Jackets just kept converting third downs and there was nothing the Tiger defense could do to stop them. They took over with over eight minutes left on the game clock and simply ran the time out.
Late in the first half, the Jackets hit their first big pass play in three weeks when they went over the top to Stephen Hill.
The Tigers got a big return from Sammy Watkins late in the first half, but head coach Dabo Swinney decided to go for the field goal instead of going for it and Chandler Catanzaro missed his kick badly.
Sammy Watkins even ran into his own man late in the first half on a kickoff return.
Turning Point of the Game :
The Tigers got a big interception from Rashard Hall that gave Clemson a first down at the Tech nine-yard line midway through the fourth quarter. Trailing 31-17, a touchdown would have given the Tigers new life and made it a 31-24 game, but the Tigers attempted a fade pass [anyone remember last year at FSU] that was intercepted by Tech and the Jackets were able to run out the clock.
Stat of the Game: After the turnover, the Jackets went on a 16-play drive that ate up most of the remaining game clock. Tigers got it with just over 1:20 remaining in the game.