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Jackets Drop Rain-Soaked Decision at No. 7 Clemson

Oct. 28, 2017

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CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Kelly Bryant threw for 207 yards and two touchdowns and No. 7 Clemson bounced back from its first loss of the season with a 24-10 victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday night.

Bryant showed few negative effects from injuries that knocked him out early of the Tigers’ past two games – a sprained left ankle in the third quarter of a win over Wake Forest on Oct. 7 and a concussion in the second quarter of a loss at Syracuse on Oct. 13. It was an unsettling two weeks – Clemson was off last Saturday – with plenty of questions, introspection and worries about Bryant’s health.

The Clemson junior put all the worrying to rest early on. He connected on a 38-yard TD pass to Deon Cain less than three minutes into the game. Bryant zipped a 20-yard pass to tight end Milan Richard to put the Tigers (7-1, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) ahead 14-3 and cruise to their third straight win over Georgia Tech.

”Great response from our team,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. ”All our goals are still in front of us. And now we have the opportunity to achieve them.”

The Tigers’ defense made sure that was more than enough to hold off the Yellow Jackets (4-3, 3-2). Clemson had 11 tackles for loss and held Georgia Tech’s league-leading – and often confounding – triple-option run game to 198 yards, 175 fewer than their average. TaQuon Marshall, the ACC’s leading rusher with 117 yard average, managed just 23 yards that included his 22-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.

KirVonte Benson led Georgia Tech with 129 yards rushing.

Bryant was Clemson’s top runner with 67 yards on 12 carries, showing little hesitation or discomfort on his runs.

”That’s the Kelly Bryant we all know and love,” Clemson linebacker Dorian O’Daniel said.

Freshman Travis Etienne added his seventh touchdown of the season, tying Bryant for the team lead, with a 2-yard scoring run in the second quarter.

Georgia Tech defensive end KeShun Freeman said while his team played strongly in the final quarter, it needs to find that same fire early on. ”We want to win these big games and achieve goals,” he said. ”We have to start as well as we finish.”

Georgia Tech plays at Virginia next Saturday.

Clemson travels to North Carolina State on Saturday for a game likely to decide the ACC Atlantic division.

Postgame Notes

Team Notes

  • Georgia Tech fell to 4-3 overall and 3-2 in Atlantic Coast Conference play with the loss. No. 7 Clemson improved to 7-1 overall (5-1 ACC).
  • Georgia Tech’s defeat was only its third in its last 11 games and fourth in its last 14 contests.
  • Georgia Tech fell to Clemson for the fifth time in its last six meetings.
  • Georgia Tech dropped its fifth-straight decision at Clemson’s Memorial Stadium.
  • Georgia Tech fell to 18-7 in 25 games against ACC Atlantic Division opponents in 10 seasons under head coach Paul Johnson (4-6 vs. Clemson).
  • Georgia Tech failed to score at least 24 points for the first time in its last 11 games. The Yellow Jackets entered the game as one of only 11 NCAA Division I FBS teams to score at least 24 points in every game this season.
  • Georgia Tech’s 32 passing yards were its fewest since it had 29 in last season’s 26-7 loss to Clemson (Sept. 22, 2016).
  • Georgia Tech’s fumble on the first drive was its first turnover in 160 plays and 26 offensive possessions, dating back to a fumble in the third quarter of its 33-7 win over North Carolina on Sept. 30.

Individual Notes

  • Sophomore BB KirVonte Benson rushed for 129 yards on 16 carrries (8.1 avg.), good for his fifth 100-yard rushing game in seven games this season. He entered the game as the ACC’s second-leading rusher at 108.7 rushing yards per game.
  • Benson’s 65-yard run in the first quarter was the longest of his career (prev.: 63 vs. North Carolina, Sept. 30, 2017) and the longest allowed by Clemson this season (prev.: 45 by Syracuse’s Eric Dungey, Oct. 13).
  • True freshman P Pressley Harvin III punted nine times for 422 yards (46.9 avg.). The yards were the ninth-most in Georgia Tech history and the by a Yellow Jacket since Durant Brooks had 453 yards on 10 punts in a 24-10 loss at Boston College on Sept. 15, 2007.


Head Coach Paul Johnson Postgame Audio

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