Oct. 30, 2011
– GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Paul Johnson
“I am really proud of our guys, I thought they played hard. We played with a lot of emotion, and it was a great team win. We had contributions from the offense, defense, and special teams. We played with intensity. It’s like I told them after the game, it makes the next game that much bigger. It was a great win. I know a lot of people are disappointed that wrote us off, but we have a chance to play again next week. Like I said earlier, let us finish the season before you do our tombstone. I am really proud of our guys; I could not be prouder.”
On Tevin Washington’s play…
“They have a really good football team. Brandon Thompson is a heck of a football player, their defensive tackle. We had a hard time blocking him, so we just started reading him. Tevin had a couple of big runs; the quarterback draw was huge in the third quarter to answer their score. It was pretty good execution, and the guys got good blocks. He had some big carries, and to pick up some third downs I thought was huge. With about six and a half left in the fourth quarter when we had the ball and were able to run it down to 1:20 and use all their time outs, it basically took them out of their game. “
On biggest difference tonight versus last two games…
“We played with some emotion and some intensity. We played better. They are 18 to 21 year olds, they are a young football team. I keep telling people that, but they don’t want to listen. Coach Swinney and I were talking about it before the game; we have a bunch of sophomores and red-shirt freshmen playing on the line of scrimmage most of the time. Sometimes they play better than other times. We just executed. We played the first two drives like the past two weeks, but we settled down and we made some plays. Jemea Thomas made some huge plays. Then, I thought we had the game pretty much in hand, and I can’t wait to see the film, because I’m pretty sure the guy was offsides down on the goal line when we fumbled the ball. We were getting ready to go up 38-10 and the game is probably over. But in our guys’ credit, they never quit. They were rolling secondary really hard down there when we ran the ball so we thought we could get a cheap one on play-action, but we did not execute very well and they picked it off. But Jemea saved us with a great play on the very next play. It was a good team win. I am proud of our guys. They played hard.”
GEORGIA TECH QB Tevin Washington
On his two long runs
Both of them came off draw plays and the line did a good job. I can’t give enough credit to the offensive line. The offensive line did a great job opening up a hole and I just ran through it and tried to do my best.
On recovering after stalling on the first drives
It was a big game tonight. We came out really hyped. I think it just took those two drives that we started out and after that we just got in a groove and kept playing one play at a time.
On having the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a game in Tech history
It’s news to me now but it’s a great accomplishment. I’m proud of what I could be able to do.
On overcoming the fumble at the goalline
It’s just like with a loss. You’ve got to be able to throw it under the rug and keep going on the next drive and that’s what we did. We went on from the mistake on that drive and moved on to the next play.
GEORGIA TECH DB Jemea Thomas
On the team’s performance after 2 losses
We knew we had a bunch of doubters and whatnot because of the last two games, we just pulled together. We knew we had to use each other to get through it and get done. With adversity, you’ve either got to stand up or lay down. I think we’ve got the type of team where we’re going to stand up and come back and just fight no matter how hard the situation is.
On matching up with Sammy Watkins
Watching film on him and all that, he’s a phenomenal player. You’ve just got to know how to play him. I know what he can do so I just tried to play him smart. Which was kind of playing deep inside because most of the time they’re going to try to get him the ball by any means so I was playing deep passes.
CLEMSON HEAD COACH DABO SWINNEY
“It’s been a while since we lost a ball game. That’s a disappointed locker room in there. You’ve got to give all the credit to Georgia Tech. They just flat-out whipped us, out-executed us, and no excuses. We did not execute our plan to win. That’s why we had won eight games in a row, because we did a good job of taking care of the football. We obviously didn’t do that tonight with four turnovers.
“We gave them two three-and-outs, then a spark and a score. But we had four turnovers and some critical penalties. They had some big plays on us, and we just didn’t get enough stops. If you get down to a good football team that’s got a lot of pride, you’re sledding uphill.
“But like I said, that’s a very disappointed locker room. I’m disappointed, at the turnovers in particular. And them some of the big plays where we didn’t make a play. But our guys didn’t quit. We get that pick. If we knock that in right there, we have a miscommunication and turn it right back over. That’s the difference in the game. If we get that, it’s a one score game with about 10 minutes to go, and we were right back where we wanted to be. As much as we were down, we said let’s get it back to between 10 and 14 points in the fourth quarter, and we’ll have a chance to win it. But we turned it right back over, and that kind of finished us off.
“You’ve got to give Georgia Tech all the credit. They’re a solid football team. They’re in a battle for their division with Virginia Tech, whoever wins that game. I told our team, get your heads up. This is an 8-1 football team. We’ve gone 12 straight weeks. The open date’s coming at a good time. We’ve got a lot of guys that need to get well mentally and physically. It’s been a grind. It’s disappointing to lose going into an open date, but it is coming at a good time for us.
“Our next goal is to win our division. It’s been our next goal since we won our opener. Our first goal was to win the opener. Next goal is to win the division. We’re going to play for the division title when we play again, back in the valley. It’ll be senior day and a chance to win this division for the second time in three years. That’s what we’ve got to do, and then you have an opportunity to play for this conference. If you win this conference, you’re going to a BCS (bowl). If we can do those things consistently, then one day we’re going to have that special year where we put it all together.”
On the difficulty of playing at Georgia Tech
“Every game is its own game. Turnovers get you beat, whether you play here or play at home, wherever you play. Half this football team has never played here. I don’t get caught up in all that stuff. It’s about us and playing the game, and we just did not take care of business. We did not do the things that we’ve been doing well all year. We’ve got one of the best turnover margins in the country and are one of the least penalized teams. But we had some critical ones tonight. You can’t beat good teams that way.”