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Paws up, paws down: Clemson handles Georgia Tech with ease

Jacob Citron
Clemson is now bowl-eligible after Saturday’s 42-21 win against Georgia Tech.

Clemson defeated Georgia Tech by a score of 42-21 at home on Saturday, pushing the Tigers to 6-4 on the season. Below are some key takeaways from the game:

Paws up: Defense smothers Yellow Jackets

Until Clemson’s reserves entered the game, the Tigers were dominating the Yellow Jackets on defense, holding them to 89 total yards in the first half.

Wes Goodwin’s unit left Georgia Tech scoreless in the second and third quarters, keeping the ball out of the Yellow Jackets’ hands for the majority of the game. The Tigers also held Georgia Tech to just 117 rushing yards, and as Swinney noted, their performance has been the most consistent throughout the season.

“Defense has been here all year,” head coach Dabo Swinney said after the game. “Our defense has played well enough to be a playoff team.”

The defense racked up four sacks on Saturday, as well as four interceptions, all of which were made by true freshmen. True freshman cornerback Shelton Lewis recorded a 46-yard pick six in the fourth quarter for one of the more notable plays from the Tigers, marking Lewis’ first career interception.

Paws down: Georgia Tech’s late response

Georgia Tech scored first on the field but was unable to respond in the second and third quarters. However, the Yellow Jackets did close the gap with the Tigers in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 points after Clemson pulled most of its starters from the game.

With 10:11 on the clock, Georgia Tech pushed past Clemson, scoring on a 32-yard passing touchdown. The Tigers held onto the ball, but not for long, and the Yellow Jackets managed another seven points with 1:49 left in the game, closing it out 42-21.

Paws up: All-around offense

Clemson fired on all cylinders on Saturday. The program relied on all aspects of its offensive lineup, with five different offensive players scoring touchdowns.

After missing last week’s game against Notre Dame due to an injury, running back Will Shipley returned to the field with intensity. The junior’s 32-yard touchdown to close out the first half put the Tigers up 21-7, the first time he scored since Clemson faced Wake Forest on Oct. 7.

The name of the game, however, was Tyler Brown. The wide receiver’s one-handed catch in the second quarter not only put Clemson in the lead but showcased the true freshman’s talent. Brown finished with seven receptions for 41 yards on Saturday and said it’s a team effort to get those big plays.

“Coach preaches complimentary football,” Brown said after the game. “We bounce off our defense, defense bounces off our energy.”

Swinney also highlighted this dynamic on the team.

“When confidence starts to build, and you see a guy start to make a play, it’s amazing how it’s contagious,” Swinney said.

Beaux Collins was the first to contribute to the scoreboard in the second quarter. His touchdown, coupled with Brown’s performance, looked reminiscent of Clemson’s self-proclaimed title of “Wide Receiver University.”

Clemson tight ends Jake Briningstool and Josh Sapp also brought in a touchdown each for the Tigers. By the end of the game, Clemson had 260 rushing yards and 205 passing yards.

Paws down: Prominent players still out

Clemson continued to deal with the injury bug on Saturday, as multiple key contributors missed the game.

Wide receiver Brandon Spector and starting linebacker Barrett Carter were not dressed for the game, joining the eight total veteran starters who were unable to play due to injuries.

On a positive note, defensive end Justin Mascoll returned for his first game since the Tigers faced Miami in October.

Paws up: Bowl eligibility

Clemson officially became bowl-eligible for another season on Saturday with its sixth win of the year. While this achievement was first seen as a challenge to the Tigers due to their early four losses, their wins against Notre Dame last week and Georgia Tech this week secured their bowl eligibility.

Now 6-4 with two games left of the season, the question remains about which bowl game they will be selected for. With hopes to stay hot, solid wins over North Carolina and South Carolina in the coming weeks would help Clemson reach a more prominent bowl game.

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Kiley Bouchard
Kiley Bouchard, Senior Reporter
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