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Clemson vs. Georgia Tech Football Game Notes

Oct. 20, 2010

Complete Game Notes

Tigers Looking for Consecutive Home Wins Clemson returned to the victory column last Saturday with a 31-7 victory over a Maryland team that had two weeks to prepare. It was Clemson’s largest margin of victory and the most points for the Tigers over a Ralph Friedgen coached Maryland team. He has had great success against Clemson and had recorded three wins over the Tigers at Death Valley since he took over the Terps program in 2001.

Clemson won the game with a strong defense, an offense that did not make mistakes, and outstanding special teams. The Tigers allowed just seven points, Clemson’s best scoring defense all year, and held the Terps to just 44 yards rushing. The old adage states that “you have to stop the run first,” and Clemson did that against the Terps. Clemson’s defense forced three turnovers, all second half interceptions. One of the picks was returned 61 yards for a score by Xavier Brewer. Clemson now ranks 13th in the nation in interceptions with 10.

Clemson did not have a turnover on offense, the third time in six games that has been the case this year. Clemson ranks 17th in the nation in fewest turnovers with eight, and that includes the six turnovers Clemson had against Miami (FL). If Clemson had just two turnovers against the Hurricanes instead of six, the Tigers would lead the country in fewest turnovers committed. Clemson did what it had to do to ice the game in the fourth period and controlled the clock for 10:16.

In terms of special teams, Clemson’s Andre Ellington returned a kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown in second period. The Tigers also had a 17-yard average on three punt returns, thanks to a 41-yard return by Jaron Brown, and held Maryland to just 28 total punt return yards on seven punts. Maryland came into the game leading the nation in punt return average. Clemson punter Dawson Zimmerman had a career high four punts inside the 20, and Chandler Catanzaro had a 42-yard field goal in his only attempt.

The ACC’s Most Competitive Series The Clemson vs. Georgia Tech series has been among the most competitive series in the ACC over the last 14 years. Twelve of the last 15 games, including both last year, 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.

Eleven of Georgia Tech’s last 12 wins in the series have been decided by a touchdown or less.

This will be Dabo Swinney’s fourth game against Georgia Tech as Clemson coach in just his 28th career game. In that same period he has not coached any game against Virginia Tech and has faced North Carolina, and Duke just once.

Swinney is 0-3 against Georgia Tech, but all three games have been close. In 2008, in his first game as a head coach (he took over the Monday before the Saturday game), Georgia Tech defeated the Tigers 21-17 in a thrilling game at Death Valley.

Last year Georgia Tech won in Atlanta in the regular season 30-27 and in the ACC Championship game in Tampa by a 39-34 score. That ACC championship game was a bizarre affair as neither team punted and both teams gained at least 300 yards rushing. It was the first game in Clemson history that both teams didn’t punt and the only FBS game in college football last year in which both teams had at least 300 yards rushing.

Clemson was last victorious in 2006 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 at Clemson, a day in which ESPN’s College Gameday was in town. Davis had a career high 216 yards rushing that day and Spiller became the first player in Clemson history with a touchdown rush and a touchdown reception of at least 50 yards in the same game.

Georgia Tech was victorious in 2005 in the lowest scoring game in the series in 15 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 won six of the last seven meetings and five of those six wins have been by a touchdown or less. While Tech has won six of the last seven, Tech has outscored Clemson by just four total points over those seven games (148-144).

Georgia Tech has a 49-24-2 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. Heisman then left Clemson after that season to become Georgia Tech’s head coach.

Since Georgia Tech joined the ACC in 1983 Georgia Tech has won 15 and Clemson has won 13, another example of the competitiveness of the series. 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.

Tickets are still available for the Clemson vs. Georgia Tech game this Saturday, October 23 at 3:30 PM.

Click here to purchase tickets.

Tickets are also now available at a discount for Clemson’s home game against N.C. State on November 6. Adult tickets are $24 each and youth tickets (18 and under) are $10 each for the game against the Wolfpack. Tickets may be purchased online at or by phone at 1-800-CLEMSON.