Sept. 24, 2007
Complete Clemson vs. Georgia Tech Game NotesDownload Free Acrobat Reader
The ACC’s Most Competitive Series The Clemson vs. Georgia Tech series has been the most competitive series in the ACC over the last 11 years. Nine of the last 11 games have been decided by five points or less, including a six-game streak between 1996-01 in which every game was decided by exactly three points. That might be a first in college football history. We aren’t talking by three points or less, but exactly three points.
Clemson was victorious last year behind the running of James Davis and C.J. Spiller. The duo combined for 332 yards rushing and four touchdowns, three rushing, in the 31-7 Clemson win.
Georgia Tech was victorious in 2005 in the lowest scoring game in the series in 14 years when Tech won 10-9 in Atlanta. That was Clemson’s only loss over the last seven games of the 2005 season. Clemson cut the margin to 10-9 on Jad Dean’s third field goal of the game with 5:36 left, but the Tigers were hurt by a holding penalty on their last possession.
Georgia Tech has a 45-24-2 lead in the series with Clemson dating to a 23-0 Tiger win in Augusta, GA in 1898, just the 11th game in Clemson football history. In fact, Clemson won the first four games of the series, including games in 1902 and 1903 when John Heisman was at the helm. Clemson defeated Georgia Tech in Atlanta 73-0 in 1903 with Heisman as head coach.
Here are some other series highlights: Clemson won three in a row from 2001-03, including the 2003 game in Atlanta by a 39-3 score. That was Clemson’s largest margin of victory in the series since a 73-0 Tiger win in Atlanta in 1903 when Heisman was the Clemson coach and is the only game in the series since 1995 that has not been decided by five points or less. The Tigers have an 9-5 advantage in games at Clemson, but Georgia Tech leads 40-13-2 in games played in Atlanta. Every game between the two teams between 1907-74 era was held in Atlanta. Clemson’s only wins in those 36 meetings came in 1907, 1936, 1945 and 1969. The 1969 victory was Frank Howard’s final season as head coach. Howard won just twice in his career in Atlanta. The first time Georgia Tech played in Clemson’s stadium was 1974, a 21-17 Clemson victory. Clemson won that game on a three-yard touchdown pass from current Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Mike O’Cain to All-America tight end Bennie Cunningham with 8:26 left. Clemson has a 13-11 advantage in the series, regardless of site, since Tech joined the ACC in 1983. Tech actually joined for the 1979-80 academic year, but did not compete for the football championships, nor play Clemson as an ACC game, until 1983. Since Tommy Bowden has been the head coach, the Clemson vs. Georgia Tech games have been high scoring with the exception of the 2005 game. The point total for the eight games is 244-187 in favor of the Tigers, giving Clemson a 30.5-23.4 average victory during the time. But, in the won-loss column the teams are tied 4-4 Woodrow Dantzler had one of the best all-around games of his career with 164 yards rushing and 254 yards passing in the Clemson victory in 2001. He threw for two scores and ran for two, including a 38-yard “Hail Mary Run” on the last play of the first half to cut Tech’s lead to 19-14 at intermission. His 63-yard scoring pass to J.J. McKelvey with 1:58 left put Clemson ahead by three, but Tech tied the count with a 20-yard field goal with just six seconds left. Dantzler’s “walk-off” six-yard touchdown in overtime gave Clemson the win. Clemson has had just two games in its history in which both teams scored in the 40s. They have both taken place at Georgia Tech under Bowden. Tech won 45-42 in 1999 and Clemson won 47-44 in overtime in 2001 in Atlanta. One of the most unusual statistical occurrences in Clemson history took place during Clemson’s 33-12 victory over Georgia Tech in 1987 at Clemson. Clemson entered the game with a streak of 999 consecutive combined punt returns and kickoff returns without a touchdown dating to 1970. Then, on the 1000th return, Donnell Woolford raced 78 yards with a punt return for a touchdown. Then, later in the game Joe Henderson returned a kickoff return 95 yards for a touchdown. It is the only game in Clemson history that the Tigers have returned a punt return for a touchdown and a kickoff return for a touchdown.
Last Year vs. Georgia TechClemson 31, Georgia Tech 7 In front of a nationally-televised audience on ESPN, #12 Clemson ran away from #13 Georgia Tech 31-7 in front of an overflow Homecoming crowd at Memorial Stadium on October 21. It was the first matchup of top-15 teams in Death Valley since 1992.
Clemson’s running attack proved why it was one of the best in the nation, as it totaled 321 yards against a team that entered the game seventh in the nation against the run. It took only 38 carries to amass the 321 rushing yards.
Atlanta native James Davis rushed for 216 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns against his hometown team, while C.J. Spiller added 116 yards on 16 carries and a score. It was the first time in history that Clemson had a 200-yard rusher and 100-yard rusher in the same game.
Playing through a “banged-up” shoulder, Davis had four rushes of 20 yards or more, including two rushes of over 50 yards. Spiller also had a 50-yard touchdown run and a 50-yard touchdown catch, giving Clemson four offensive plays of 50 yards or more. Spiller became the first player in Clemson history to score on a run and pass of at least 50 yards in the same game.
Will Proctor was 7-16 passing for 105 yards and a touchdown, giving Clemson 426 yards of total offense on only 54 plays (7.9 yards per play).
Meanwhile, Clemson’s defense swarmed Georgia Tech all night, allowing just 205 yards of total offense. For what would be the only time in his career, first round draft choice junior Calvin Johnson was held without a catch. Reggie Ball was limited to 12-25 for 117 yards.
Clemson’s defense also allowed only one carry of 10 yards or more (14-yard scramble by Ball), and one pass play over 12 yards, which was a 35-yard touchdown catch that bounced off a Tiger defender.
After the Tigers went through warmups in orange jerseys and purple pants, they changed jerseys in the locker room and ran down the Hill in all purple. It was the first time in the modern era that Clemson wore all purple uniforms.
The Yellow Jackets put together a long drive of their own, but came away empty. After driving 55 yards, Travis Bell hooked a 36-yard field goal wide-left. Both teams traded punts on the next two drives.
Davis ran 53 yards on the first play of the second quarter to the Georgia Tech 18. After four more rushes by the sophomore, he scored from two yards out when he dodged a defender on third-and-goal.
Neither team threatened again, leaving the Tigers ahead 7-0 at halftime. It marked the first time since 1987 that Clemson held Georgia Tech scoreless in the first half.
After back-to-back, negative-yardage plays by Ball early in the third quarter, Georgia Tech punted. A kick-catch interference penalty gave the Tigers the ball at the Yellow Jacket 42. Davis rushed 30 yards on the next play, but the drive stalled. Jad Dean’s made a 25-yard field goal to put Clemson up 10-0.
After both teams traded punts, Davis carried 22 yards to midfield on the first play of the ensuing drive. Spiller then dashed 50 yards up the middle for a touchdown to put Clemson ahead 17-0 with 0:58 left in the third quarter.
Georgia Tech responded with an eight-play, 73-yard drive to cut the Tiger lead to 10 points. After converting two third downs, James Johnson caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Ball after the ball deflected off Crezdon Butler.
But Clemson answered and upped its lead back to 17 points thanks to a highlight-reel play. On third-and-four, Spiller took a swing pass on the right side, eluded two Yellow Jackets, and sprinted 50 yards for a touchdown. He became the first Tiger in history to have a 50-yard touchdown run and 50-yard touchdown catch in the same game.
Gaines Adams and company made sure Georgia Tech got no closer, as he sacked Ball on third-and-five on the next drive to force a punt. It was Adams’ sixth-straight game with a sack, establishing a Tiger record.
Davis carried on all four plays of the ensuing drive. The second carry was a 54-yard jaunt to the Georgia Tech five. Two plays later, he ran five yards for a touchdown, giving the Tigers a 31-7 lead with 7:29 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Clemson Veterans vs. Georgia Tech Tramaine Billie (LB) – Had 3 tackles and one interception in 12 plays in the 2004 game against Georgia Tech. As a starter in 2005, he had 5 tackles and one tackle for a loss of 2 yards in 48 plays. Missed last year’s game due to a broken ankle.
Crezdon Butler (CB) – Played in 21 snaps with 4 tackles and one interception as a first year freshman against Georgia Tech in 2006.
Antonio Clay (LB) – Played in 10 snaps against Georgia Tech in 2005. Had 13 tackles, including 3 tackles for loss and one sack in the 2006 win. He was named ACC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance.
Chris Clemons (SS) – Had 3 tackles in 7 snaps as a red-shirt freshman in 2005. Had 9 tackles in 66 snaps as a starter in 2006.
James Davis (RB) – Had 1-1 in the 2005 loss to Georgia Tech. He played just one snap due to a broken wrist. Had 21-216, including two touchdowns as a starter in the 2006 win. It remains his career high in rushing yards.
Jacoby Ford (WR) – Had 2-7 receiving, 2-0 in punt returns in 16 plays in 2006 against Georgia Tech as a true freshman.
Tyler Grisham (WR) – Had 2-25 in the 2006 victory over Georgia Tech in Death Valley.
Michael Hamlin (FS) – Had 6 tackles and one interception as a freshman starter in 2005 at Georgia Tech. Had 4 tackles, including one tackle for loss in 64 snaps as a starter in the 2006 win.
Rashaad Jackson (DT) – Had 2 tackles in 30 plays as a starter in 2005. Had 5 tackles and one quarterback presser in 21 snaps against Georgia Tech in 2006.
Aaron Kelly (WR) – Had 2-7 receiving, 1-81 in kick off returns in 2005, and then had 1-17 receiving in 2006 vs. Georgia Tech.
Phillip Merling (DE) -Had 4 tackles, including one tackle for loss and 2 quarterback pressures in 42 plays as a starter in 2006 victory over Georgia Tech.
Dorell Scott (DT) -Had 1 tackle in 15 snaps in 2005. Had 3 tackles in 40 snaps as a starter in Clemson’s 2006 win over Georgia Tech.
C.J. Spiller (RB) – Had 16-116 rushing, one touchdown, 1-50 receiving, and 1-4 in punt returns as a true freshman in the 2006 contest with Georgia Tech.
Courtney Vincent (LB) – Had 4 tackles in 13 plays in 2006 against Georgia Tech.
Nick Watkins (LB) – Had 5 tackles, including 2 tackles for loss as a reserve in 19 plays in 2004. Had 14 tackles in 59 plays as a starter in 2005. Had 9 tackles in 51 plays as a starter in 2006.
Battle of Kickers with Ties to Clemson Soccer While there will be a lot of interesting match-ups in the Clemson vs. Georgia Tech game on Saturday, the competition between the place kickers will certainly be of note. Georgia Tech’s Travis Bell, a senior from Roswell, Ga, leads the ACC in kick scoring with 11.0 points per game. Clemson’s Mark Buchholz, a junior from Alpharetta, GA, is second in the league with 9.2 points per game.
Bell has the experience edge as he is a red-shirt senior who is a perfect 115-115 on extra points in his career. Buchholz hasn’t missed an extra point either and is 19-19 on PATS, all coming this year. Buchholz is 6-8 on field goals and Bell is 10-11.
What is interesting is that they both have ties to Clemson soccer. Buchholz is in his fourth year as a starter on the Clemson team this year and will play in a match against Duke at Clemson on Friday night. That match will be televised by the Fox Soccer Channel, so he will play in two televised events in two different sports within 24 hours.
He will then be transported to Atlanta Friday night to join the Clemson football team for its 3:30 PM game on Saturday.
Bell was an outstanding soccer player in high school and actually served as a goal keeper for Clemson men’s soccer coach Trevor Adair’s Olympic Development team when Bell was in high school. He committed to come to Clemson and play for Adair at one point, but changed his mind and decided to walk on to the Georgia Tech football team.
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