Death Valley- The No. 6 ranked Clemson Tigers gets the narrow 14-8 win over Georgia Tech. Fans filled ‘Death Valley’ for a second straight week after a year of no fans due to covid, hoping to see offensive fireworks like they have so many times before with Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence under center. Unfortunately, the Tigers’ fans didn’t see those offensive fireworks, but they got another great defensive effort and got to see another team fall in Death Valley.
The Tigers led most of the first half with a 7-0 score until late in the half. The Yellow Jackets’ finally get a good drive going, and then with:32 seconds left, a lightning delay suspends action. The delay lasts an hour and 52 minutes. During that time, both coaches decide to take half time and come back to play the rest of the first half, then immediately start the second half.
After the long delay, the Yellow Jackets resume that drive and get only a field goal to end the half. The Yellow Jackets immediately start the second half with possession of the ball, which is oddly the next possession, and get no points.
The wild game-ending sequence starts with the Yellow Jackets getting a field goal to pull within eight points, making the score 14-6 with 1:19 left in the fourth quarter. Then the Yellow Jackets execute an onside kick to perfection and take over possession at midfield. Tech moved the ball 51 yards to set up fourth-and-goal at the one-yard line. The Yellow Jackets failed to convert, and the Tigers took possession. One play later, the Tigers fumbled the ball trying to run out the clock, and the Yellow Jackets recovered for a safety that cut the deficit to make it a 14-8 score and a chance for a miracle play with seven seconds left. That is where the fireworks ended because the Yellow Jackets couldn’t make anything happen and the Tigers got the win.
Both teams failed to capitalize on critical offensive possessions, and both defenses made critical stops.
The Yellow Jackets went 3-14 on third downs, averaged 2.7 yards per carry, 6.2 yards per pass play, and committed ten penalties, including a few that effectively ended drives for the Yellow Jackets.
The Tiger’s offense wasn’t much better. They couldn’t make any big plays in the pass game, courtesy of the Yellow Jackets’ defense dropping eight back in coverage for the majority of the game. The Tigers also committed eight penalties and a critical late-game turnover. Their young quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei saw another game where he couldn’t get in a rhythm passing the football. Freshman running back Will Shipley benefited the most from the Yellow Jackets dropping back in coverage. Shipley finished the game with 21 carriers for 88 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Tech will look to regroup next weekend as they return home for a neutral site game at Mercedes Benz Stadium against nationally-ranked North Carolina for the first highly anticipated “Mayhem at Mercedes-Benz Stadium” on Saturday, September 25. The Tigers will hit the road to face North Carolina State on September 25 and hope to get the passing game going finally.