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)