Oct. 22, 2020
There Ain't No D in Georgia Tech
This is the moment when I admit what everyone already knew. I get a LOT of things wrong. LOL. Boy howdy, I couldn’t have gotten the analysis of the Miami game anymore wrong if I had tried. I think we learned quite a bit about this Clemson team last Saturday night. Test number one was passed with flying colors. Like Willie Nelson, the Tigers are on the road again as they travel down I-85 to the 404 to battle the rival Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Rival you ask? Absolutely! People get so enamored with Florida State, Alabama, USuCk, etc. There’s a lot to not like no matter which side of the Clemson\Tech rivalry you’re on. Grant Field at Bobby Dodd Stadium has been a house of horrors for the Tigers over the years. Sure, 2020 is different, but is it THAT different?
Clemson’s defense showed it can make just about any high powered offense one dimensional with it’s annihilation of Miami. It shouldn’t take nearly as much effort to do the same to Tech. The Jackets are still rebuilding under 2nd year coach Geoff Collins. Remember, the Ramblin’ Wreck was a pure triple option team and Collin’s is trying to convert them to a more modern day spread. That takes time and you can still see the rustiness to this day. QB Jeff Sims has a big upside but he’s still young and raw. He’s only completing 54.1% of his passes for only 944 yards while tossing 5 TDs but throwing 8 INTs. You’ll see Tech try to establish the run but they have struggled to do that all season. The leading rusher is RB Jahmyr Gibbs who has 46 carries but only 244 yards and 2 TDs to show for it. The top two receivers, Malachi Carter and Jalen Camp, only have 14 receptions apiece. Clemson will take away the run and force Jeff Sims to stand in the pocket and throw the ball down the field. It’s a good thing they changed to an artificial surface at Bobby Dodd otherwise you might not be able to see his jersey by halftime. Advantage Clemson.
Not to be outdone, the Tech defense is as much Jekyll and Hyde as the offense. Case in point, they only surrendered 13 points to Florida State then gave up 49 to UCF the very next week. Follow that up with 37 at Syracuse (the Orange’s only win so far) and then 27 to Louisville (who is terrible this year). Clemson is averaging a little over 42 points per game offensively so you can see how this one can turn ugly really quickly. The Jackets do have 9 sacks to their credit and quite a few TFLs to go along with 3 INTs. LB David Curry is a pretty good player with 28 tackles and 3 TFLs. The next leading tackler is DB Juanyeh Thomas. Folks, when a member of your secondary is one of your leading tacklers, you have a problem. I expect Clemson to throw some quick passes early to get the offense in a flow. It won’t be long before Clemson begins to run the ball right between the tackles to put this one to bed fairly early. I doubt Trevor has his helmet come the 3rd quarter. Advantage Clemson.
Special teams were anything but for the Tigers versus Miami. I’ve looked at those blocks several times and there’s a lot of work to be done in relation to protection. That needs to be cleaned up and quite honestly this is a week to do just that. How do I say this politely? Not sure that you can so here goes…Georgia Tech’s field goal kicking is atrocious. Their kicker is 1-5 with some blocks. Their punter, Pressley Harvin III, is a great ole biggon’ from Alcolu, SC (just outside Sumter) standing 6’0” and 255 lbs. He can boom them averaging a whooping 48.1 yards per kick with a long of 70. Tech will got 3 and out a lot so they need Harvin to really change field position to have any kind of chance. Advantage Clemson.
In my opinion, the rivalry began when Tech took John Heisman away back in the early 1900’s. Things really just got uglier from there. Georgia Tech owns the all-time series due to it’s dominance in the 50s and 60s when the Ramblin’ Wreck were members of the mighty SEC. A lot of folks don’t even realize Tech was in the SEC. Their departure is quite a long story. The rivalry has been relatively even since Tech joined the ACC in 1978. Clemson’s record at Grant Field is kind of pitiful even recently considering the Tigers didn’t get a win in Atlanta from 2004 to 2015. Since then, Clemson has OWNED the Yellow Jackets winning 5 in a row including two in Bobby Dodd Stadium. The line is 27 and the UNDER is 64 and I wholeheartedly agree on both. The only real question is if Travis Etienne will be on the field long enough to become the All-time leading rusher in ACC history eclipsing Ted Brown of NC State who racked up 4,602 yards from 1975 to 1978. Etienne only needs 173 yards to break Brown’s long held record. I’m betting Travis is done by halftime so the record will have to wait another week. There’s no D in Georgia Tech which will help Clemson put the L in ATL swatting the Jackets 45-17.