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Clemson, SC (Sports Network) – Andre Ellington ran for a career-high 166 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead the Clemson Tigers over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 27-13, in this ACC matchup at Memorial Stadium.
Anthony Allen picked up 92 rushing yards on 17 carries for the Yellow Jackets (5-3, 3-2), who saw a three-game winning streak snapped. He also caught two passes for 38 yards and a touchdown. Joshua Nesbitt was just 6-of-19 through the air for only 83 yards with one interception and a touchdown.
The Tigers got on the scoreboard when Ellington raced 55 yards for a touchdown just two minutes into the opening quarter. Chandler Catanzaro booted a 38-yard field goal to extend Clemson’s lead to 10-0 with just over three minutes left in the period.
Ellington’s second touchdown of the afternoon, this one a 42-yard burst, made it a 17-0 game just over a minute into the second period. Scott Blair got the Yellow Jackets on the board with a 26-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the first half.
Blair added a second field goal, this one also from 26 yards, just over five minutes into the third quarter. Clemson responded three-and-a-half minutes later when Parker found Ellington on a 10-yard touchdown pass.
Nesbitt brought the Yellow Jackets closer when he hit Allen with a nine-yard scoring pass on the last play of the third quarter.
Catanzaro finished the scoring with a 21-yard field goal with three-and-a-half minutes left. Clemson was an impressive 9-of-15 on third-down conversions. The Tigers averaged 6.2 yards per offensive snap.
The Clemson Tigers pounded out a disheartening 15-play drive taking up almost eight minutes of fourth-quarter clock, culminating in a chip shot field goal. Georgia Tech’s game only works when it’s the team doing 70 yards of slugging, not the other way around. The time means more than the score at this point, as it’s still a two-point game, but Tech’s offense isn’t going to be able to score twice without a gift turnover of some sort.
Play after play, the Jacket defense knew what was coming, but couldn’t do a thing about it. That sentence covers the drive, the whole game, and much of the season.
Clemson is 13 yards away from outrushing Tech and is only a minute shy in the time of possession battle. Actually, scratch that. Tech’s first play from scrimmage: a long interception by Joshua Nesbitt, picked off by Clemson S Andre McDaniel.
Dabo Swinney, take a victory lap. Paul Johnson is two minutes away from being 3-1 against Tech’s ACC archrivals. Death Valley has broken out in the HEY HEY HEY GOOD BYE song, half of 2009 has been avenged, and Tech falls to 5-3. Clemson’s ACC hopes are still flickering, while the Jackets have to hope to steal at least one from among Miami, Virginia Tech, and Georgia to keep the program’s bowl streak alive. Yes, we still get to play Duke.
Georgia Tech has finally crossed the goal line, as time expired in the third quarter. On fourth down, Joshua Nesbitt threw to Anthony Allen, who slid (yes, slid) in for a score. The touchdown was challenged, but stood.
Allen is up to 127 total yards, leading Tech in both rushing and receiving yards. This is his third straight big game after a sluggish start. His season seems to be emulating Jonathan Dwyer’s 2009 in some ways, as Dwyer struggled during the season’s first half as well.
Nesbitt has now completed six passes, and the Jackets have rushed for 233 yards. Nesbitt has only added nine on the ground, with Clemson’s defense focusing on taking away the keeper.
Tech has converted three of four fourth downs, but only six of 15 third downs. The only truly damning stat in the whole box score: Clemson’s average yard per rush is 8.8, while Tech’s is 5.4. Tech’s run defense is so helpless Clemson might not be able to run out the clock. Think about that.
Clemson RB Andre Ellington made Tech’s secondary look foolish again, this time on a ten-yard screen from Kyle Parker. As Ellington advanced towards the goal line, Tech CB Mario Butler actually began backpedaling. Butler was backpedaling while squaring up Ellington. If you ever want to see what a shook defender looks like, that was it. Ellington in purple is giving this defense all sorts of C.J. Spiller shudders.
Ellington now has 137 yards and three touchdowns, and this one is just about to get out of hand unless the Jackets can get in the end zone. Clemson now has 322 total yards, and this is already Parker’s third-best day of the season. Clemson WR DeAndre Hopkins has 50 yards receiving, compared to Tech’s 74 total passing yards.
Dabo Swinney is in great position to beat Paul Johnson for the first time. Now or never, Jackets. That meme about this offense not being built to play from behind? Officially relevant right now.
Well, it’s better than nothing. After a lifeless first quarter, Tech has put together consecutive long scoring drives, though both only produced field goals. The Jackets’ inside running game is suddenly strong, with Anthony Allen and Joshua Nesbitt doing much of the heavy work while Roddy Jones and Orwin Smith contributed nice runs on pitches.
The Wreckbone has now run for 212 yards. Without the unusual fixation on passing the ball that we’ve seen today, the offense may have as many as nine or 12 points.
On the following kickoff, B-back Lucas Cox forced a fumble recovered by Clemson. Earlier, Cox ran for 22 yards on a fake punt. I forgot to tell you that when it happened, because it was the only good play Tech’s offense had run at the time. Maybe I didn’t want to jinx it. Who knows.
Nesbitt needed 44 yards to break Woody Dantzler’s ACC quarterback rushing record. He’s up to seven.
Georgia Tech K Scott Blair kicked a 26-yard field goal to cap a 14-play, 71-yard drive as the Jackets finally got the wheels turning. Tech’s running game has pulled within eight yards of Clemson’s, but Kyle Parker is outpassing Joshua Nesbitt by 74. Nesbitt has pulled his rushing total up to -1.
The only good sign for the Jackets: Clemson’s points all came within the first 16 minutes. While it’s hard to believe Tech has solved the issues that gave Andre Ellington instant access to the end zone, since they’re the same issues Al Groh’s defense has struggled with all year, they’ve at least been able to put a little pressure on Parker.
Anthony Allen leads Tech’s offense with 55 yards on nine carries, and Orwin Smith has 49 on three touches. You may be surprised to learn this, but Paul Johnson has a pretty good punter. Sean Poole has kicked three times today with a 47.7 yard average.
Yep, Andre Ellington is as C.J. Spiller as C.J. Spiller himself. Today, at least. Ellington peeled off a 42-yard scamper for a score, complementing his previous 55-yard dash. Georgia Tech’s defense is as doughy and [running out of synonyms for soft] as ever, and Clemson’s gameplan is right out there for everyone to see.
Tech linebackers, who often play themselves out of position after the snap, are lining up exactly where Clemson wants them.
The Jackets’ offense has 43 yards, about a third of Ellington’s total. Clemson has tripled Tech’s time of possession. Tech has four penalties already and has yet to convert a third down.
Joshua Nesbitt’s not going to break Woody Dantzler’s ACC quarterback rushing record today — in fact, so far Dantzler’s record has only gotten safer. Nesbitt’s sitting at -9 today. The B-back dive is about all Tech’s offense has going for it, with Anthony Allen gaining yardage four or five times now.
Clemson Tigers K Chandler Catanzaro hit his first field goal of the day after missing a previous attempt. Clemson’s offense is dominating Tech’s weak D, already running for 88 yards and throwing for 71. Clemson QB Kyle Parker has weeks of time to kill in the pocket, and Clemson linemen are shoveling Tech’s linebackers.
Tech has tried seven offensive plays: four passes, all incompletions, and three runs, only one of which gained more than a yard. With the ball back, Anthony Allen burst for a 20-yard run, and then Joshua Nesbitt flung his second bad pitch of the day to Roddy Jones. It’s now third and a million, and we have zero confidence in Tech’s ability to convert. Yep, incomplete pass, though a nice play by Nesbitt to get the ball out of the pocket.
Most disappointing play so far: oft-droppy WR Stephen Hill dropping a catchable touchdown from Nesbitt on the previous drive. Hill and Embry Peeples seem to combine for two or three drops per game. Not sure how option receivers can be expected to be automatic gloves when they only get to practice passing drills for a limited amount of time per day, but this is too much.
Stop me if you've heard this one, but Georgia Tech's defense just gave up a long run up the middle. Clemson RB Andre Ellington broke a 55-yard run for his ninth score of the year after a Tech personal foul. Rod Sweeting appeared to maybe sort of come close to tipping a Clemson punt, but definitely leveled the punter.
Good news: Tech forced a three-and-out, which rarely happens. Bad news: Tech gave up a crucial penalty and run up the middle, which continually happens. Ellington has picked up where C.J. Spiller left off, as far as tearing off big runs and terrorizing the Jackets goes.
Playmaking CB Jerrard Terrant nearly picked off a pick he could've ran back for a score, but upon closer review the ball skipped along the ground. And on Tech's first two offensive plays Joshua Nesbitt fumbled a pitch out of bounds, then overthrew a receiver. Clemson doesn't have their all-purple on, but this might be a long day in South Carolina. Three-and-out, Tech.
Some of my favorite Clemson memories, and some awesome YouTube videos:
Watch this before the game tomorrow:
2004, Calvin Johnson's arrival. Still the best game I have ever been to.
The fake field goal:
The most famous Clemson fan:
And finally, the ACC Championship. Still gives me chills.
Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker had a great year in 2009-10, becoming the first player in history to throw for 20 touchdowns and hit 20 homeruns. He led the Tigers to the College World Series and the Music City Bowl. He was drafted in the first round, 26th overall, in the MLB draft by the Colorado Rockies and signed for $1.4 million. Not bad for a kid still in college.
Even with the great performances in both sports, Parker would like to erase some bad memories of facing Georgia Tech last year, personally going 1-5 against the Jackets.
In football, he and the Tigers lost 30-27 in September after having coming back from 24 down. In December, this time in Florida, he led the Tigers to a 39-34 loss to the Jackets in the ACC Championship game.
Come springtime, the Clemson baseball team traveled to Atlanta in April only to get swept by Tech, with scores of 8-6, 4-3, and 11-3. The quarterback and outfielder did hit two homeruns, but was unable to beat the Jackets.
The only win for Parker and the Tigers against Tech came in May in the ACC Tournament, with Clemson winning 9-3.
With such a storied career in two sports, I can't imagine how much Parker would like to go out with a win in one of the ACC's best rivalries.
Georgia Tech quarterback Joshua Nesbitt has been slowly climbing his way up the record books, both Tech's and the ACC's, for the last two years. His next major milestone may fall this Saturday, as he currently sits in second place for ACC career rushing yards by a quarterback with 2,718. The current record holder is Woodrow Dantzler with 2,761. Dantzler was quarterback for Clemson from 1998-01.
Only 44 yards separate Nesbitt and the record, and he should be able to set it this weekend against Dantzler's former team because Clemson has never limited Nesbitt to less than 77 yards in three meetings. In 2008 the quarterback ran for 77, and last year he added 91 and 103 yards to his totals.
In fact, under Paul Johnson, Nesbitt has reached at least 44 yards on the ground in 25 out of 32 games.
If you are going to the game, chances are good that you will see some history being made.
Background: Clemson and Georgia Tech have played 75 times, dating back to 1898. The only opponents that Tech has faced more are Georgia (104), Auburn (92), and Duke (77). The two teams have played every single year since 1983. Georgia Tech holds the lead with a record of 49-24-2.
The rivalry has been one of the most competitive in the nation over the last two decades. Of the last 21 years, the game has been decided by 5 or fewer points 16 times. Between 1996 and 2001, the margin of victory was 3 points, exactly 3 points, all six years.
One interesting note on the series is that even though this is the 76th meeting, it is only the 16th time Tech has played at Clemson. The Jackets didn't play a road game at Clemson until 1974.
Consecutive Wins: Clemson won four straight in the series twice: 1898-1903 and 1993-1996. Tech's is much longer, standing at 15 straight from 1908 through 1934.
Important Stat: The fact that this game has a history of being close heavily favors the Jackets. At Tech, Coach Paul Johnson is 11-2 in games decided by 5 or fewer points, including three wins over Clemson. In contrast, Dabo Swinney is 1-8 in those close games in his time as head coach.
The Yellow Jackets haven’t lost to Clemson since before Paul Johnson took over in 2008, and won two tight games last year in the rare college football season series. The lines say that’s about to change, and media picks lean orange and purple as well.
I’m tempted to take Clemson since they’re holding a purple-out, the rare college sports color-out that actually works (the last time Tech tangled with a purped-up Tigers squad, C.J. Spiller and company rattled the Jackets off the field, 31-7, in one of Tech’s worst games this decade). That, and their game against Auburn was more impressive than anything Tech’s done since OH, SAY beating Clemson last year.
But 5.5 points kind of sounds like a lot.
Both teams know their seasons are on the line in this rivalry matchup. It would be surprising for Tech to win, but just as surprising for Clemson to win by more than one score. Take Tech and the points.
FACTS & STATS: Site: Clemson Memorial Stadium (81,473) — Clemson, South Carolina. Television: ABC. Home Record: Georgia Tech 3-1, Clemson 3-1. Away Record: Georgia Tech 2-1, Clemson 0-2. Neutral Record: Georgia Tech 0-0, Clemson 0-0. Conference Record: Georgia Tech 3-1, Clemson 1-2. Series Record: Georgia Tech leads, 49-24-2.
GAME NOTES: ACC rivals will collide in Clemson this weekend as the hometown Tigers play host to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech is playing inspired football right now, as the team has ripped off three consecutive victories to move to 5-2 overall. Last weekend, the Yellow Jackets proved to be far superior to Middle Tennessee, besting the Blue Raiders by a 42-14 final to extend their current winning streak to three games.
As for Clemson, it managed to halt a three-game losing streak last weekend with a 31-7 triumph over Maryland in front of the home crowd. The Tigers are now 3-3 overall, but their 1-2 ACC record clearly needs to be improved.
Georgia Tech owns a 49-24-2 series lead over Clemson, which includes four consecutive victories over the Tigers.
The Yellow Jackets rely heavily on the run, as they feature an option-oriented offense that is controlled by quarterback Josh Nesbitt. As a runner, Nesbitt leads the team with 649 yards and eight scores. He has been far less impressive as a passer, completing just 39.8 percent of his tosses for only 591 yards and six touchdowns. Fortunately, he has only tossed two interceptions. The Yellow Jackets are generating 31.9 ppg and 413.1 total ypg, impressive numbers for sure. The ground attack accounts for 328.1 ypg, and 21 of the 27 offense touchdowns scored have been on rushing plays. Tech is posting 5.8 yards per carry, a stellar average.
Opponents are scoring 23.1 ppg against Georgia Tech, which is allowing 347.3 total ypg. The Yellow Jackets have been solid against both the run and the pass, although there is still room for improvement against both means of attack. There have been 13 takeaways mustered by Tech, which has also totaled 15 sacks. Brad Jefferson leads the team with 42 total tackles, including four sacks, while Steven Sylvester has 10.5 TFLs.
In the win over Middle Tennessee, Georgia Tech finished with 415 total yards, 99 more yards than the opposition. Nesbitt rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown while throwing for 86 yards and a score. Clearly, the key to the victory for Tech was that it intercepted four passes and recovered a pair of fumbles.
It is hard to believe that Clemson finished with 31 points against Maryland last weekend, especially considering the fact that the Tigers managed only 213 total yards, including 94 rushing yards on 44 attempts. Fortunately, the Tigers did intercept three passes while committing zero turnovers. They played extremely well defensively, especially against the run, holding the Terps to 44 rushing yards on 21 attempts.
Offensively, Clemson is generating 371.8 total ypg and 30.8 ppg through six outings. The Tigers are led by quarterback Kyle Parker, who has completed 53.4 percent of his passes for 866 yards and seven touchdowns with four interceptions. Clearly, there is room for improvement for Parker, who needs to make more big plays down the field. The team lacks a big-time weapon at wide receiver, as no player has more than 18 catches thus far. As for the ground attack, Andre Ellington leads Clemson with 435 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, as he is netting an impressive 6.6 yards per carry.
Defensively, Clemson is permitting 21.8 ppg and 359.2 total ypg. The Tigers have surrendered 3.9 yards per rushing attempt, a solid average. Against the pass, they are allowing 12.7 yards per completion, which isn’t quite as impressive. The player to watch on the defensive side of the ball is Da’Quan Bowers, who posted three sacks in the win over Maryland. Bowers has six sacks thus far and has made 29 total tackles, including 11.5 TFLs.
Expect a solid effort from both teams in this tilt, and while Clemson has the obvious advantage of playing at home, give a narrow edge to the Yellow Jackets. Preparing for the option is no picnic, and Nesbitt makes terrific decisions with the ball in his hands.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia Tech 31, Clemson 24
October 23rd, 3:30 p.m. (et)
Offense: Andre Ellington, RB, r-So., 5-10, 190, Moncks Corner, S.C.
Reading Andre Ellington’s stat line for the season is very reminiscent of reading C.J. Spiller's old numbers. Through six games, Ellington has 82 carries for 476 yards and 8 touchdowns, and 9 receptions for 88 yards. He got the chance this past week against Maryland to show his skills returning kickoffs for the first time this season. How did it go? Well, he was named the ACC’s specialist of the week and national kick returner of the week by the College Football Performances Awards website. The redshirt sophomore took his first kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown, giving the Tigers a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. He followed that up with a 35 yarder later in the game.
With all three areas combined, Ellington is averaging 114.5 yards per game including kickoff returns and 6.2 yards per play from scrimmage. Not quite Spiller levels yet, but only in his second year the running back is one to watch.
Ellington’s stat to watch: The running back only needs 33 more yards to reach a career mark of 1000 yards. If he is able to gain 33 yards in 35 attempts, it will rank as the second fastest a Clemson rusher has reach 1000 yards, behind only C.J. Spiller.
Defense: Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Jr., 6-4, 275, Bamberg, S.C.
This pick was easy: Bowers leads the nation in tackles for loss with 15.5 and forced yards lost at 93. He has 9 sacks, which is the most by a Tiger through six games in school history. The single season sack leader for Clemson was Keith Adams in 1999, who tallied 16. Bowers was named the ACC’s defensive lineman of the week for his 3 sack performance against Maryland, with all of them coming on third down.
He is a playmaker who lives in offenses’ backfields, and has the potential to be a huge disruption for Georgia Tech. The Jackets need space for the option to get started, and Bowers will hope to prevent that from happening.
Bowers’ stat to watch: The defensive end sits tied for eighth already in single season sack leaders for the Tigers. Although he will need 7 more to tie the all-time record, getting only one will place him tied for fourth and two will place him in third place by himself.
Injury statuses for both teams, as listed in the game notes from the schools:
WR DeAndre Hopkins -- Probable
AB Marcus Wight -- Doubtful
DE Jason Peters -- Questionable
OT Phil Smith -- Probable
WR Jeremy Moore -- Out
RB Chris Jackson -- Out
Clemson Tigers: Clemson played the Auburn Tigers to the bone in the season's bloodiest overtime game and lost by five in North Carolina as their rally fell short. They got their first quality win last week, pounding previously one-loss Maryland 31-7.
Their only major ding is a nine-point home loss to the Miami Hurricanes, who may or may not be very good or terrible.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: Tech has beaten three unimpressive teams in a row (Middle Tennessee State, Virginia, and Wake Forest) and beat the Tar Heels in Carolina. One point for beating a decent team, and one for beating a three-pack of FBS weaklings.
A 45-28 home loss to Russell Wilson's N.C. State Wolfpack didn't seem like that huge of a deal at the time, as the 'Pack were undefeated and Wilson looked like he might be the best player in the conference. Since then, State has lost twice, including in overtime to ECU. Ouch.
But the black mark that will keep the Jackets out of the polls for weeks to come is their baffling 28-25 loss to the Kansas Jayhawks, who've since made quite an argument to be the worst BCS conference team.
Edge: Clemson. They didn't lose to Kansas, did they?
The Yellow Jackets (5-2, 3-1) have a four-game win streak going against their rival Clemson Tigers (3-3, 1-2), including an unprecedented season sweep in 2009 highlighted by the teams' ACC Championship shootout.
ACC Championship isn't a term likely to be spoken of very frequently by either fanbase, but a flicker of hope remains alive for the Jackets. At this point, they control their own conference destiny, with games against fellow division frontrunners Miami (4-2, 2-1) and Virginia Tech (5-2, 3-0) following right behind this week's, plus a tiebreaker edge over the North Carolina Tar Heels (4-2, 2-1).
Not that any of that matters all that much if they can't beat Clemson this Saturday.
As for Clemson's standing, they trail the Florida State Seminoles (6-1, 4-0) in the Atlantic Division by multiple games already. Though the two play in late November, the Tigers would need tons of help to keep up their end of the rematch bargain.
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