The first half was a battle of the defenses. The second half began with a touchdown pass from Georgia Tech’s quarterback Justin Thomas. After that, things only went downhill for the Clemson Tigers. The Yellow Jackets had three pick-6s off of Clemson, three of many crucial mistakes that allowed Georgia Tech to surge ahead. For the past two years, Clemson has dominated Georgia Tech in high-scoring games. This year couldn’t have been more different with Georgia Tech owning a 28-6 victory.
Clemson did keep up with Georgia Tech during the first half. Going into the locker room with a 9-3 score, it seemed that the Tigers could come out swinging and stay abreast with the Yellow Jackets. However, Georgia Tech’s offense stepped up its game and threw for a touchdown right off the bat at the beginning of the third quarter. Excluding special teams, that touchdown pass was the only offensive score during the entire game. The other three touchdowns were two pick-6s by Jamal Golden and one by Chris Milton. Thankfully, the miscues from the Yellow Jackets post-touchdown didn’t affect the outcome too much. Georgia Tech botched an extra-point attempt and a two-point conversion.
Fanning the flames, injuries also plagued this ACC matchup from the beginning. Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson was injured with a battered knee after hoping to make a shining return. He was out for three games due to a right hand injuring. Senior quarterback Cole Stoudt took over, but has been plagued by a hurt shoulder. That much was evident when Golden intercepted the ball for the second time. Georgia Tech also lost star A-back Broderick Snoddy to a broken leg.
Even without the injuries, both teams’ defenses brought the pressure. The Yellow Jackets and the Tigers have two of the best running games in the country and it was expected that the defenses would be on high alert to limit the rushing attack. By the second half, Georgia Tech’s defense was easily out-performing Clemson. Even by forcing Georgia Tech to fumble twice during the game, it wasn’t enough to put points on the board. Whether it was the switch up of quarterbacks or simply being flustered by a hard defense, Clemson began to shut down. Georgia Tech’s defense deserves to be in the spotlight for orchestrating this dominant win.