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Jackets' Win Streak Snapped at Clemson

CLEMSON, S.C. – Despite 104 rushing yards from running back Jamal Haynes and eight tackles and an interception from defensive back Jaylon King, Georgia Tech football could not overcome Clemson’s 21-point second quarter in a 42-21 loss to the Tigers on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.

With the defeat, Georgia Tech (5-5, 4-3 ACC) lost for the first time in its last six Atlantic Coast Conference road games and saw its two-game overall winning streak come to an end.

Tech led 7-0 after one quarter, but Clemson (6-4, 3-4 ACC) outscored the Yellow Jackets 21-0 in the second period and never looked back on its way to its ninth-straight win over the Jackets.

Georgia Tech, which had outscored its last two opponents by a 91-56 margin en route to back-to-back wins, seemingly picked up where it left off when it jumped out to the early 7-0 advantage on a 4-yard touchdown run by quarterback Haynes King less than 10 minutes into the ballgame. Tech only needed to drive 25 yards for the opening score, as it took over deep in Clemson territory after a fake punt attempt by the Tigers was snuffed out by swarm of Yellow Jackets, led by Abdul Janneh.

However, the lead was short-lived, as Clemson took control with touchdown drives of 75, 42 and 92 yards on its next three possessions. Proficiency on third and fourth down was key to Clemson’s scoring blitz, as the Tigers racked up 97 yards on 15 third- and fourth-down plays in the opening half and converted at least one first down on each of its second-quarter touchdown drives.

Trailing 21-7 at halftime, Georgia Tech was not able to get anything going offensively after the break, as its first five possessions of the second half resulted in two punts and three interceptions, and Clemson stretched its lead to 42-7 early in the fourth quarter.

Touchdown receptions by Tech running back Dontae Smith and tight end Dylan Leonard – the first TD catches of both seniors’ careers – accounted for the final margin.

Haynes was a bright spot for the Yellow Jackets, as the 100-yard rushing performance was his second-straight and the third of his season and career. He needed only 15 carries to crack the 100-yard mark, good for a 6.9-yard average for the afternoon.

Defensively, the Jackets were led by Jaylon King, who had eight tackles to go along with his team-leading fourth interception of the season. His four INTs are the most by a Yellow Jacket in a season since 2014.

Georgia Tech returns home for its final two games of the regular season, beginning next Saturday versus Syracuse. Kickoff for Tech’s ACC finale is set for 8 p.m. at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Hyundai Field and the game will be televised nationally on ACC Network.

Jaylon King had eight tackles and recorded his fourth interception of the season – the most by a Yellow Jacket since 2014 – on Saturday at Clemson (Danny Karnik photo).

 

Postgame Notes

Team Notes

  • Georgia Tech fell to 5-5 overall and 4-3 in Atlantic Coast Conference play, while Clemson moved to 6-4 overall (3-4 ACC).
  • The loss snapped Georgia Tech’s school-record-tying streak of five-straight ACC road wins.
  • The loss was Georgia Tech’s ninth-straight to Clemson overall and its eighth-straight loss at Clemson. The Yellow Jackets have not defeated the Tigers since 2014 and have not won at CU’s Memorial Stadium since 2008.
  • Georgia Tech fell to 50-36-2 all-time against Clemson, but is 6-17 all-time at Clemson.
  • Georgia Tech’s block of a Clemson field goal attempt at the end of the first half was the Yellow Jackets’ fourth blocked kick of the season. Tech came into the game tied for fourth nationally with three blocked kicks. The Jackets’ 31 blocked kicks since 2013 are the third-most in the nation.
  • Clemson converted four fourth downs (on six attempts), which is tied for the second-most fourth-down conversions ever by a Georgia Tech opponent (record: 5 by Rice – Sept. 24, 1960). Clemson’s four fourth-down conversions were the most by a Tech opponent since Mississippi State converted 4-of-4 fourth-down attempts against the Yellow Jackets on Oct. 3, 2009.
  • Four of Clemson’s five offensive touchdowns came on third downs.
  • In all, Clemson converted 11-of-22 third- and fourth-down attempts.

 

Individual Notes

  • r-So. RB Jamal Haynes ran for 104 yards on 15 carries (6.9 avg.). The 100-yard rushing game was his second-straight (119 vs. Virginia – last Saturday) and third of the season and his career (prev.: 113 vs. South Carolina State – Sept. 9).
  • r-Sr. RB Dontae Smith’s 32-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter was the 16th touchdown of his career, but the first on a reception (previous 15 all came on rushes).
  • Sr. TE Dylan Leonard’s 4-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter was the first of his career.
  • r-Sr. DB Jaylon King’s interception in the third quarter was his team-best fourth of the season. His four INTs are the most by a Yellow Jacket in a season since Jamal Golden and D.J. White had four apiece in 2014.
  • So. DB Rodney Shelley set a career high with eight tackles (prev.: 2 at Virginia Tech – Nov. 5, 2022).
  • So. DL Eddie Kelly led Georgia Tech with nine tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. His nine tackles matched a career high (prev.: 9 vs. South Carolina State – Sept. 9).
  • Fr. WR Eric Singleton Jr. completed the first pass attempt of his career, an 8-yard completion to Jr. WR Avery Boyd that resulted in a first down on a fake punt in the fourth quarter.
A swarm of Yellow Jackets, including Daylon Gordon (21) and Abdul Janneh (18), snuffed out Clemson’s fake punt to set up a short touchdown drive that gave Georgia Tech an early 7-0 lead (Danny Karnik photo).

 

Multimedia

Head Coach Brent Key Postgame Press Conference (Audio)

Coach Key Postgame Press Conference (Video)

Student-Athletes Postgame Press Conference (Video)

Game Highlights (ACC Digital Network)

Condensed Game (ACC Digital Network)

Around Social Media

Competitive Drive Initiative Turn 2

Looking to build on the success of last year’s Competitive Drive Initiative, Georgia Tech, the Georgia Tech Foundation and Georgia Tech athletics are partnering once again to launch Competitive Drive Initiative Turn 2. CDI Turn 2 has a goal of raising $2.5 million in new gifts to the Alexander-Tharpe Fund’s Athletic Scholarship Fund by Dec. 31, and Georgia Tech and the Georgia Tech Foundation will match eligible gifts to accelerate the impact for Tech athletics. Like last year, not only will gifts to CDI Turn 2 be matched, but so will the contributor’s benefits in the way of A-T Fund giving levels and priority points. To learn more and contribute online, visit atfund.org/turn2.

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