Georgia Tech: 31
Coming off of a 21-point home loss to Middle Tennessee State, Georgia Tech (2-3) looked to bounce back against a tough opponent when it headed up I-85 for its annual contest with the Clemson Tigers. Clemson stood at 3-1, with their lone blemish coming in the form of a 49-37 loss to the Florida State Seminoles in Tallahassee two weeks prior. When the teams last met, the Jackets knocked off the 8-0, 5th ranked Tigers in Atlanta by a score of 31-17, ending their hopes for the 2011 National Championship. The win was Tech’s 7th win in the previous nine meetings between the schools.
Clemson took the ball on the game’s opening possession, but failed to gain much ground and eventually punted to the Jackets at Tech’s 37 yard line. Three plays netted 9 yards and when Paul Johnson elected to go for the first down on fourth and one, Tevin Washington was stopped short.
The Tigers took over at the Yellow Jacket 37 and covered the distance in 8 plays, scoring on a 1 yard run by Tajh Boyd to take a 7-0 lead.
Tech came back strong on its ensuing possession when Washington hit Anthony Autry for 53 yards on first down to the Clemson 30 yard line. David Sims picked up two yards on first down before Washington hit Darren Waller for 12 yards and a first down at the Tiger 16. Washington went back to the air on first down and found Jeff Greene for a 16 yard touchdown to knot the contest at 7-all.
Boyd returned to lead the Tigers 70 yards in 12 plays before the offense stalled at the Yellow Jacket 6. Chandler Catanzaro entered to hit a 23 yard field goal that put Clemson back on top 10-7.
Starting from the Tech 25, Washington picked up 9 on first down and Robert Godhigh went for 23 more on second to push the Jackets into Tiger territory. Washington reeled off another solid run of 25 yards to the Clemson 18 and Sims added 5 more to the 13. Orwin Smith would score two plays later from 13 yards out to give the Jackets their first lead of the contest at 17-10.
Clemson took over late in the first quarter and embarked on a 13 play, 75 yard drive that ended with a 6 yard Roderick McDowell touchdown run early in the second quarter. The Tigers now led 17-14.
After a quick three-and-out, Tech punted back to its opponent and the Tigers were again on the move. Boyd completed three of five passes en route to the Yellow Jacket 4, including a 40 yard strike to Andre Ellington. The drive eventually stalled, however, and the Tigers had to settle for another Catanzaro field goal to make it 20-14.
Tech’s offense returned and covered 75 yards on eight consecutive runs to regain the lead at 21-20. Orwin Smith’s 38 yard scamper was the highlight of a drive that was capped off by a 1 yard touchdown run by Washington with 5:04 remaining in the second quarter.
The Ramblin’ Wreck celebration was short-lived, however, as Boyd hit DeAndre Hopkins on a 58 yard touchdown strike four plays into the ensuing drive to snatch back the lead at 27-21.
Tech pushed back into Clemson territory as the first half was winding down, but squandered its chance at a score when David Scully missed a field goal from 45 yards out. The Jackets would trail by six at the break.
On the opening drive of the third quarter, the Jackets slowly pushed into Clemson territory before Washington exploded for 43 yards to the Clemson 4 yard line. The senior quarterback scored one play later to put Tech back on top at 28-27 with roughly four minutes gone in the second half.
The Tiger offense kept up its production on the ensuing drive, pushing out to its 47 on a slew of passes by Boyd. But the Jackets caught a break on second down from the Clemson 48 when nose tackle Shawn Green picked off an errant pass at the line of scrimmage and returned the ball 17 yards to the Tiger 26 yard line.
The Jackets slowly moved towards the Clemson end zone, but eventually faced a fourth and goal from within the one yard line. Johnson elected to go for the score, but Washington fumbled the snap and Tech turned the ball over on downs at the goal line.
The Tiger offense took over and marched 90 yards in 14 plays before again stalling within Tech’s 5 and settling for 21 yard field goal to make it 30-28.
A resilient Tech attack answered shortly thereafter with a 7 play drive that carried 66 yards to the Clemson 9 and resulted in a field goal to make it 31-30 at the start of the fourth quarter.
Clemson’s offense returned and slowly pushed to the Yellow Jacket 35 before Boyd found Hopkins for a 35 yard touchdown at the 10:29 mark. The Tigers would go for two and the roles reversed when Hopkins took to the air to find Boyd in the end zone for the conversion that put Clemson head 38-31.
Tech’s special teams put them in a hole on the kickoff when Chris Milton muffed the catch and fell on the ball at the Ramblin’ Wreck 2. Washington’s first down pass fell incomplete before Orwin Smith was dropped in the end zone for a safety on second down to make it 40-31.
Yellow Jacket linebacker Daniel Drummond regained possession on the ensuing Clemson drive when he picked off Boyd’s pass at the Yellow Jacket 41 and returned the ball four yards to Tech’s 45.
The Tech offense marched to the Clemson 20 before facing a 4th and 7, upon which David Scully’s 37 yard field goal attempt was blocked, giving the ball back to the Tigers with 6:16 to play.
Clemson slowly marched out of its own territory with a pair of 13 yard runs by Boyd, pushing down to Tech’s 42 yard line. McDowell then reeled off 26 yards to the Tech 16, and a personal foul on the Jackets set the Tigers up at the 8. McDowell scored two plays later from the one yard line to put the finishing touches on a 47-31 Clemson victory.
The Tigers would go on to win their next five games before falling to South Carolina 27-17 in the regular season finale. While their divisional loss to FSU cost them a chance at the ACC title, their 10-2 record earned them a trip to the Chic-fil-A Bowl on New Year’s Eve, where they would eventually defeat the LSU Tigers 25-24 on a last second field goal to finish at 11-2 for the year.
GT – 17
CLEM – 31
GT – 339
CLEM – 204
GT – 9-14-144
CLEM – 26-42-397
GT – 0
CLEM – 2
GT – 3-1
CLEM – 0-0
GT – 2-23
CLEM – 2-15
Game Summary: http://www.ramblinwreck.com/sports/m-footbl/recaps/100612aaa.html
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