In the Tigers only road game this month, Clemson traveled down the road two hours to Georgia Tech and completely dominated, winning 73 - 7.
For most teams, a few dropped balls, miscommunications, a turnover or two, missed tackles, and blown coverages would be normal setbacks during the game. But at Clemson, “best is the standard.” So, although Clemson won by 52 points, a pretty impressive margin to say the least, Clemson did not play their best.
The only points Georgia Tech put up on the board, a 59 yard touchdown pass from Sims to Camp, was a result of a Clemson defender blowing their coverage and letting Camp get way too much space down field. This play seemed to wake up Clemson. Even though they were just a few minutes into the game, they found themselves in an unfamiliar situation, tied.
In response, Trevor Lawrence threw an 83 yard touchdown pass to Amari Rodgers, as if to remind everyone who was in control of the game. The rest of the game was history. Rodgers has really become Mr. Reliable for Lawrence this season and certainly was in this game. Rodgers finished the game with six receptions for 161 yards, including two touchdowns. Rodgers ridiculous speed and hands combined with him and Lawrence always seeming to be on the same page, made them a dangerous duo for Georgia Tech. This was also the first game, in which Cornell Powell’s presence was really felt. Heading into the season, Coach Swinney had said that he expected Powell to be a key player this season. He came up with a few contested balls that were key in keeping Clemson’s drives alive.
Georgia Tech’s defense for the most part, did a good job containing the explosive and potential Heisman winner, Travis Etienne. Which is not something that many teams can say that they did. Etienne’s longest run of the day was only eight yards, rushing for a total of 44 yards and averaging four yards per carry. His biggest gain of the day came from a pass from Lawrence for 22 yards. Lawrence exited the game with about 9:30 left in the third quarter and a 52-7 lead. He finished 24-33, throwing for 404 total yards, five touchdowns, and one interception. His interception came as he was being hit and lofted the ball up as he fell to the ground, overthrowing Powell and into the arms of Georgia Tech.
Georgia Tech’s defense ended up forcing one more turnover, stripping the ball from Etienne early in the game. Luckily Clemson’s defense responded just about as good as they could have following a turnover. After Etienne’s fumble, Clemson’s defense forced Georgia Tech to a three and out, and after Lawrence’s interception, Mike Jones Jr. recovered the fumble and got the ball right back into Lawrence’s hands. Unlike Georgia Tech, Clemson was able to capitalize on their three forced turnovers, getting a field goal after K.J Henry recovered the fumble, a touchdown after Mike Jones Jr. picked up the fumble, and a touchdown after Nolan Tuner’s interception.
Clemson’s defense produced 12 tackles for a loss, adding up to 47 yards, and five sacks, adding up to a loss of 41 yards for Georgia Tech. Freshman Trenton Simpson and Sophomore Andrew Booth Jr. both lead the Tigers in tackles with six total and four solo tackles. Although there were some exceptions, Georgia Tech’s offense produced few big plays on offense. Their quarterback Jeff Simms was 6-13 and only threw for 81 yards, and 59 of those yards came from just one play.
By the end of the game, Will Spiers, Clemson’s punter, was in at quarterback. And that about sums up how dominating the Tigers were in today's game. Catch Clemson next week as they return home to play Syracuse at 12:00.