If you read this blog, you surely know that Georgia Tech played their most complete game of the year, and in the process beat #5 Clemson 31-17 on Saturday night. Nobody thought that Clemson was unbeatable, but most thought that the speed and playmaking ability that the Tigers possessed would simply be too much. For Tech to come out on top, they’d have to execute well and not put themselves in a hole like they did the previous 2 weeks, starting out down 14 in both games.
The game plan against Clemson was fairly simple:
- Limit Clemson’s plays. Clemson lead the nation is number of plays per game, and every time the ball is in their explosive playmakers’ hands, it spells possible trouble. Eating the clock and forcing the Tigers to earn every yard was key. This meant that offensively GT needed to control the clock and defensively they had to wrap up and tackle well. They did both extremely well. Clemson was held to 65 plays, nearly 14 plays less than their season average (78.25).
- Make the Tigers fairly one-dimensional by taking away the run game. Most of Clemson’s offense is predicated on motion before the snap, causing confusion. By shutting down the running options, GT was able to negate a lot of that misdirection and keep Boyd in situations he’s still not 100% comfortable in. Tech held the Tigers to 95 yards, well off of their average for the season.
- Big plays. Coming into this game, Tech was not making splash plays on either side of the ball. Forcing 4 turnovers and breaking off huge runs and a few bombs certainly helped in that area.
Those were the 3 ‘keys’ to the game in my mind going into Saturday night’s contest.
Full disclosure: I haven’t watched the replay of the game yet so I haven’t really analyzed everything I’d like to, but from the stands a few things really stood out to me.
- For the first time since early in the Maryland game, Tevin Washington looked confident in what he was doing. He didn’t look afraid to make mistakes, he appeared to be decisive with his pitches (and obviously did a great job not pitching as well), and put the team in positions where they could convert manageable third downs. This offense doesn’t require a QB to be superman, but it does require him to be competent and decisive.
- Jemea Thomas is going to be a star for this team. They have to find a way to get the young fella on the field more.
- From what I could tell, Nick McRae did a fantastic job filling in at center. I saw numerous plays where he absolutely dominated up front. The line did a solid job in general, but I was really worried about how McRae would perform.
- Sims and Lyons both had really solid games. Combined, the B-Back position ran 24 times for 110 yards. Nothing to get too excited about, but that commitment to the interior game opened up a lot of things on the outside down near the goal line and allowed Washington to sell the dive then pull/run for big gains.
- One thing I noticed was that the Clemson DEs both had trouble committing when they were being optioned. Instead of committing to either attacking the B-back or the Quarterback, they were content to play wait-and-see. That didn’t work out.
- I have no idea how the refs blew the potential game-changing offisides/forced fumble when Tech was poised to go up big. Instead, Clemson recovers and marches down for a score.
- It’s absolutely shameful how many Georgia Tech fans sold their tickets on StubHub and the like to Clemson fans. My friends and I are in section 121 and it was 20% Clemson fans. Some sections were better than others, but it was still awful. Guess folks just figure they can buy the good seats and make money off of them?
I’m planning on re-watching the game and I’ll have more detailed insight in a few days.
The big win puts GT back into the top 25 and sets the stage for a big showdown against Virginia Tech in a little less than 2 weeks. The Jackets can rest up and hopefully not read too many press clippings about their win before the Thursday night showdown.