October 31, 2011

The Jackets sting again. Clemson vs. Georgia Tech game recap.

The Clemson Tigers did what they always do. They got down early, and after an interception in the fourth quarter by Rashard Hall, it looked as if the Tigers would make another miracle comeback. Unfortunately, though, Georgia Tech, fighting for their division livelihood did what it took to steal away Clemson’s undefeated season beating the Tigers 31-17.

Photo Credit: The News Tribune, John Bazemore AP Photo
Hall intercepted a pass by Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington and returned it to the nine yard line. On the very next play, Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd attempted a pass to Sammy Watkins in the corner of the endzone, but Watkins stopped short and the pass was intercepted, all but ending the Tigers’ hopes of victory.

Turnovers, costly penalties and mental lapses led to disappointment in the Clemson locker room.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said the turnovers and lack of defensive inconsistency proved too costly.

“We just made too many costly errors tonight,” Swinney said. “We turned it over four times, had costly penalties, and allowed too many big plays. It’s not complicated, they out executed us in all phases. We did not quit. I’m proud of their effort. If we scored after Hall’s interception, we would have been seven points down with 10 minutes to play. We have no excuses, they just whipped us.”

The Clemson defense came out firing on the opening possession of the game forcing the Jackets three-and-out. The Tigers came out, marched down the field and capped the drive with a 34-yard field goal by Chandler Catanzaro.

Clemson’s next possession was very telling of how the night would go.

Redshirt freshman running back D.J. Howard caught a pass from Boyd out of the backfield and lost the ball on his way to the ground, giving the Jackets possession inside the ten yard line leading to a quick Tech touchdown.

Before halftime, Georgia Tech would add two more touchdowns and a field goal making it a 24-3 game at intermission.

The second half began a little better for the Tigers as Boyd found Watkins down the middle of the field for a 48-yard touchdown to make it 24-10.

Just two minutes later, the Jackets would answer with a long touchdown drive of their own to go up 31-10.

The Tigers seemed to headed toward the endzone on the following possession, but it was ended with a Mike Bellamy fumble.

Driving 97-yards down the field, the Tigers found the endzone again after a 10-play drive. Tajh Boyd took the ball and tried to sneak it in over the pile, but somehow lost the ball. But, right guard Brandon Thomas, fell on it and for the first time since 1966, an offensive lineman scored a touchdown making the score 31-17 with just over 10 minutes left in the game; however, the Tigers would never get any closer.

As disappointed as the fans were after the loss, Swinney said he had a disappointed locker room.

“That’s a very disappointed locker room. I’m disappointed, at the turnover in particular,” he said. And then some of the big plays where we didn’t make a play. But our guys didn’t quit. We get the pick, but then we have a miscommunication and turn it right back over. That’s the difference in the game.”

As disappointing as losing the undefeated season was and ending the national championship talk - although very farfetched - all of this team’s goals are still on the table.

The team will have this week off for the bye week and then return to Death Valley on November 12th in either a noon or 3:30 matchup with Wake Forest to clinch the ACC Atlantic Division title.

Post written by Clemson Girl sports blogger, Nikki Steele


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