Losing many key pieces from a very competitive Clemson Tigers team from a season ago, not many held out hope that they would once again be contenders. However, a 7-2 start to the season says otherwise. When you think of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, you think of a top-notch run game — despite the superstar wide outs who went to school there. That run game has led them to an 8-2 record.
Clemson has been relying on the services of senior quarterback Cole Stoudt for the last few weeks after he began the season as the team’s starter, then giving way to stud freshman Deshaun Watson. On the year, Stoudt has passed for 1,425 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions while the recently-injured Watson has 1,176 yards, 12 touchdowns and two picks. Watson is expected to start this Saturday and his favorite target, Mike Williams, sure hopes so. Williams has 38 catches for 772 yards and four touchdowns on the season while fellow underclassman Artavis Scott has 53 catches for 624 yards and five touchdowns. The run game hasn’t been all too impressive, but freshman Wayne Gallman leads the way with 405 yards and two scores and Watson has added 147 yards and three rushing TDs.
As stated earlier, Georgia Tech has been known for its strong run game and it’s that run game that has gotten the Yellow Jackets into the Top 25 with an 8-2 record. Sophomore quarterback Justin Thomas doesn’t get many opportunities to pass the ball, but the young option QB leads the team in rushing with 781 yards and five scores. Thomas has passed for 1,294 yards and 14 touchdowns with just four interceptions. DeAndre Smelter has been Thomas’ top target, catching 27 passes for 594 yards and six touchdowns while only one other wide receiver, Darren Waller, has more than 10 catches this year. Zach Laskey is second on the team in rushing with 595 yards and five scores while Synjyn Days is third with 503 yards and three touchdowns. Seven more running backs have over 100 yards rushing this season for the Yellow Jackets.
Defensively, Georgia Tech hasn’t exactly been elite this season. In fact, the Yellow Jackets have owned a below-average squad all season long on this side of the ball, ranking 76th in total yards allowed and 63rd in points allowed per game. Clemson, on the other hand, has been the proud owner of an elite defense. The Tigers have the 12th-best scoring defense as well as the second-best total defense in the land.
Clemson will travel to Georgia Tech to take on the Yellow Jackets at 12 p.m. EST on Saturday, Nov. 15. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN.
PREDICTION: Clemson 28, Georgia Tech 21
Want to see the Tigers take on the Yellow Jackets in week 12? Check out ScoreBig for tickets.
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at email@example.com.