The beleaguered Georgia Tech defense looked as if it finally had the turnover it needed to change the momentum. Turns out it only compounded the problem
It happened late in the first half. Clemson had the ball on the Georgia Tech 11 and appeared poised to increase its 14-0 lead. On first down, Clemson receiver Artavis Scott broke the wrong way on his route, and Deshaun Watson delivered the ball directly into the arms of Georgia Tech’s Lance Austin for the interception.
Austin danced around the 1 in an effort to advance the ball and had it accidentally knocked loose by teammate Corey Griffin. The ball bounced into the endzone and was recovered by Austin, who was tackled for a safety.
So instead of having the ball, the tired Georgia Tech defense had to come back and try to prevent Clemson from scoring before the half. The Yellow Jackets couldn’t do it, and Clemson drove 72 yards in 10 plays and scored on a 9-yard pass from Watson to Jordan Leggett to take a 23-0 halftime lead.
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Clemson went on to win 26-7.
Clemson successfully challenged what officials called a backward pass that resulted in a 4-yard loss. The review showed it was actually a forward pass and was ruled incomplete. Georgia Tech later threw a pass on its own 10 that was ruled incomplete but looked like a backward pass. Clemson had no challenge recourse on that play.
Clemson lost backup outside linebacker Jalen Williams to a right leg injury early in the first quarter. He was helped off the field and did not return. … Georgia Tech guard Shamire Devine needed help to get off the field late in the first half with what appeared to be an ankle issue.
New AD gets warm welcome
Todd Stansbury, introduced to the media as the school’s new athletics director on Thursday morning, was greeted with an overwhelming cheer when he was introduced at Bobby Dodd Stadium during the first quarter of the Clemson game.
Georgia Tech golfer Matt Kuchar was honored on the field during a second-quarter break. Kuchar, a three-time All-America, is in town to compete in the Tour Championship at East Lake. He was able to come to the game with is family and show off the bronze medal he won at the Olympics last month in Brazil.
Redshirt freshman David Curry earned his second straight start at outside linebacker. Winning their starting assignments on the offensive line were Eason Fromayan at left tackle, Will Bryan at left guard and Shamire Devine at right guard. Ryan Rodwell retained his spot as starting punter.
Coaches wear arm patches
The coaching staffs for Clemson and Georgia Tech wore special arm patches in honor of the American Football Coaches Association’s Coach to Cure MD program. It’s the ninth year coaches have joined together to raise funding and awareness of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The program has raise more than $1.2 million.