Posted by Chip Patterson
GEORGIA TECH WON. Entering the game on a two-game losing streak with a sputtering offense, few teams in the ACC needed a win Saturday night more than Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets had slid out of the polls and down the conference standings in a matter of weeks, as Georgia Tech's high-powered offense began to struggle in conference play. But Saturday night's victory was a full-team effort, with Al Groh's defense shutting down Clemson's playmakers and Tevin Washington providing the big plays needed to keep the Yellow Jackets offense on the field.
HOW GEORGIA TECH WON: Georgia Tech's linebackers and secondary put on one of their best performances of the season, manning up with Clemson's playmakers. The productive drives by the offense forced Tajh Boyd to push when the Tigers did get the ball, and the Yellow Jackets were opportunistic when mistakes were made.
Starting running back Andre Ellington (ankle) was missed sorely, as his backups (both freshmen) combined for two costly fumbles that were recovered by Georgia Tech. Between the turnovers and Clemson's inability to punch in the score when they did reach the red zone, the Tigers offense never got comfortable. Georgia Tech, on the other hand, ran their patented offense with pristine execution. Clemson's defense was on their heels for the final three quarters of play, getting frustrated and overwhelmed by Georgia Tech's offensive line and downfield blocking.
WHEN GEORGIA TECH WON: Clemson looked as though they had second-life in the fourth quarter after Rashard Hall ran back an interception inside the 10 yard line to set up 1st and Goal. Down just two touchdowns, a quick score and stop could give Clemson the opportunity to tie the game. But Tajh Boyd was picked off by Jemea Thomas in the end zone on the very next play, allowing Georgia Tech to milk the clock as Clemson burned timeouts and seal the upset.
WHAT GEORIGA TECH WON: The Yellow Jackets were rejuvenated on Saturday night, bouncing back in a big way after two straight losses. Now the team gets a much-needed off week to prepare for the next challenge, hosting Virginia Tech on Nov. 10. If the fans can pack Bobby Dodd Stadium on a Thursday night the way they did on Saturday, it should make for another fantastic environment for a game that could decide the ACC Coastal Division.
WHAT CLEMSON LOST: Their status as a BCS title contender. As the list of unbeatens began to shrink, Clemson emerged as a possible title contender if they could run the table. Those possibilities were likely erased with Saturday's loss, and now head coach Dabo Swinney must re-focus the Tigers on winning the ACC. With Wake Forest falling to North Carolina as well, the Tigers maintain their lead in the Atlantic Division and now must avoid letting the loss derail them from the goal of becoming ACC Champions.
QUICK HITS: Georgia Tech 31, No. 6 Clemson 17
Posted on: October 29, 2011 11:20 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2011 12:05 am