Photos taken on Saturday September 22nd, 2016 during the Clemson vs. Georgia Tech Football Game at Bobby Dodd Stadium
ATLANTA, GA – Thursday night’s match-up between the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and #5 Clemson Tigers will not likely be archived in ESPN’s ‘Instant Classic’ line-up. In fact, for the Jackets, the night might be one they just as soon erase immediately.
From the first series of the game onward, the Tigers proved worthy of their #5 ranking nationally, while the Jackets proved there is still a long road to hoe before reentering the nation’s conscience as a viable threat to knock off one of the big boys.
Clemson moved with ease on the opening series, capping the drive with a 4-yard corner fade from Deshaun Watson to Mike Williams. The touchdown strike gave the Tigers both the lead and early momentum less than 4 minutes into the game. The 7 points proved almost enough to win the game and the momentum carried forward for almost the entirety of the game’s 60 minutes.
The dichotomy of Georgia Tech offensive fortunes could hardly have been more pronounced. From the Jackets’ opening drive, one that yielded -6 net yards, Tech’s offense struggled to perform with any semblance of cohesion. Their second drive yielded similar fortunes with -7 net yards.
On the whole in the first half the Jackets mustered 22 total yards, 14 of which came on the final play of the first half with the Tigers in a prevent defense. Compare those 22 total yards to Clemson’s 23 total points and 347 total yards, and it is tough to imagine a more disheartening performance on a national stage.
Head coach Paul Johnson chose a few near synonymous adjectives to describe the Jackets’ offensive performance. “Very disappointed with our performance. It comes back to me and I’ll take credit for some of it,” he said. “Offensively the first half was embarrassing. That’s ridiculous. They’ve got a good defensive football team. They’ve got some good players. But it didn’t seem like we could get in their way.”
Tech won the second half on the scoreboard 7-3. In light of their first half performance, the final score yielded a relatively respectable final score of 26-7 in the Tigers favor, though the Tigers hardly ceded the alpha-role throughout.
Still, Johnson drew some positives. “I thought the second half was a little better. We were able to hold the ball a little more. We never could get anything really going on offense. The defense played much better in the second half and we got them off the field. So I saw some things that were encouraging by the defense, and the offense to say I’m disappointed would be an understatement. I’m just really frustrated with that right now.”
The Jackets follow a shortened Clemson game week with a two-day extended rest break leading up to their first divisional contest next weekend versus Miami. Despite the Jackets’ extra time, the Hurricanes have even more as they come off a bye week.
Tech still controls its own ACC destiny, and next Saturday at 12pm at Bobby Dodd Stadium could go a long way in determining what the future holds.
Head Coach Paul Johnson
Justin Thomas & Dedrick Mills
Lance Austin & Freddie Burden