Clemson Head Coach Dabo SwinneyOn today’s performance:”This was a huge win. It was a momentum win. It was a complete game and we won every quarter, especially the fourth quarter. The second half was a thing of beauty. I’m proud of the team, and they keep improving every week. We just need to refocus and recommit because our season starts with Virginia Tech.
“I can’t say enough about the fans. They made a huge difference in the game. The Valley was rocking. It completely changed the feeling of the game.”
On the play of Clemson’s defense:”We did really well the whole game up front, but we struggled with the perimeter. We made the changes that were necessary and forced Georgia Tech to put drives together. In the first half, they made a lot of big plays and we took that away from them in the second half.”
On the play of DeAndre Hopkins:”When you’re a great receiver and you fight for the ball, it’s funny how the ball just comes to you. DeAndre made huge play after huge play. He turned plays that didn’t look like they were going anywhere and turned them into big gains for the team.
“Overall, it was a great team effort. We had the two longest drives of the season at the end of the game. It shows the heart of our players, especially the offensive line and everyone’s commitment to winning.
“On our 80-yard drive, we wanted to be rewarded. We are a great team and are looking forward to the weekend off and coming back to a rocking Death Valley in a couple weeks against Virginia Tech.”
On the two-point conversion:”That was great! I know all the guys were excited to finally use it in a game. We have been practicing that play waiting for the right opportunity to use it. Today happened to be that day.”
Georgia Tech Head Coach Paul Johnson
Overall Thoughts:”Right now, we’ve got to play close to perfect. Clearly we have to score more points. They’ve got a good football team. They’ve got some really good skill players. It’s like I told the team: We get a kickoff return on the one-yard-line, we missed two field goals. We missed several tackles again, especially when we could have gotten them off the field. We didn’t convert on a couple of fourth downs where we needed to get points that would have been big, and then we missed two field goals. When you do that, you’re not going to win too many games.”
On his team’s defensive effort:”They’re pretty good offensively, too. They’re the best crowd we’ve played offensively. But it’s been a struggle. The effort was better. The effort was much better. I think we played okay in spurts. We did get a couple of turnovers. I don’t know, after the opening series, if they ever punted.”
On what went wrong on the play that resulted in a Clemson safety:”We had a bust. I’ll have to look at it. There were a slew of people out there. There weren’t many people blocked, but I think the linebacker was the one that tackled him. It should have been an outside release and we inside released.”
On how he feels going into a bye week:”Well, you’d rather be winning going into a bye. Clearly, the first half of the season is not what we hoped for, not what we wanted. We have the back half to try and atone for that. We have to reset some goals, reset some things, and see if we can’t come back and do a little better.”
On his team’s special teams play:”Yeah, it’s really frustrating. You can play 10 years of football and never take a kickoff return on the one-yard-line and have a safety on a kickoff return. We’ve had both. It seems like it shouldn’t happen.”
Clemson Player Quotes
Quarterback Tajh BoydOn today’s game:”This was a huge win for us. This was a must-win situation for us, especially going into the bye week. And I feel like the guys came out and competed to the end of the game. We played all four quarters. I think this is a momentum shifter heading into the second half of the season.”
How much do you like throwing to DeAndre Hopkins? “We could have connected some more. Honestly, I came out a little too hyped. I don’t know what was going on. I was missing some passes, some easy throws. But when you get 600 yards of offense, people will look at it and say, ‘Oh, it was a really good day,’ but for us, we have to keep improving. Keep working, keeping improving and expanding this offense.”
Defensive Tackle Josh Watson“We knew it was going to be difficult. We were going to win some of the plays in the game. They have guys on scholarship and they have great coaches, so we knew they were going to make some plays, too, which is how we were going to rally and bounce back and get a stop.”
Was that a full rush on that blocked kick? “Yes it was. Coach Brooks always harps on that on that play. We went really hard on that Tuesday and Wednesday. He is always telling us you never know when you are going to get one. So, you have to come 100 percent. A lot of teams relax on that play and they won’t go as hard. We knew he was kicking low line drives, and we knew we could get our hands on it at the beginning of the game. So Grady (Jarrett) helped me out, we had two guys on one of the guards so I just put my hands up and blocked it.
Linebacker Spencer ShueyOn the safety:”They ran the same play. We have been preparing for that play all week. And once I saw the kickoff team pin them down on the one, I knew they had a pretty good chance to run the ball. I just got a good read, and got a good jump on the ball and was able to make a play.”
On the team’s excitement level after the play:”It was great for the game and once the crowd erupted, we knew it was a huge momentum play in the game. It turned out to be a big factor in the game.”
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