Sept. 22, 2016
ATLANTA (AP) Dedrick Mills rushed for a career-high 75 yards and a touchdown as Georgia Tech (3-1, 1-1 ACC) fell to No. 5 Clemson Thursday night, 26-7.
After sluggish wins over Auburn and Troy, and a practice-like rout of FCS school South Carolina State that meant nothing, the Tigers (4-0, 1-0 ACC) won at Georgia Tech for the first time since 2003 to set up a huge showdown with No. 3 Louisville.
Watson was 32 of 48 for 304 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams and a 9-yarder to Jordan Leggett with just 4 seconds left before halftime to complete a stunningly lopsided showing that wasn’t entirely reflected in the 23-0 lead. Wayne Gallman added a 1-yard TD run.
Clemson finished with a 442-124 lead in total yards.
This was a virtual repeat of last year’s meeting at Clemson, where the Tigers raced to a 33-10 halftime lead on the way to a 43-24 victory.
Even when Georgia Tech came up with a big play, it wound up costing points. Lance Austin intercepted a pass in the end zone and tried to bring it out – only to be whacked inadvertently by teammate Corey Griffin, knocking the ball loose.
Austin fell on it in the end zone, but that was a safety for Clemson. It was a far cry from a prime-time game last season, when the defensive back returned a blocked field goal 78 yards for a touchdown on the final play to give Georgia Tech a stunning victory of Florida State.
There wouldn’t be an upset on this night.
After opening with three straight wins, the Yellow Jackets don’t seem to have made much improvement over last year’s 3-9 season.
No. 15 Miami (3-0) and longtime nemesis Mark Richt visit Bobby Dodd Stadium on Oct. 1. Richt is in his first season as the Hurricanes coach after 15 years at Georgia, where he went 13-2 against the Yellow Jackets.
COACH JOHNSON PRESS CONFERENCE (VIDEO)
COACH JOHNSON PRESS CONFERENCE (AUDIO)
CLEMSON VS. GEORGIA TECH HIGHLIGHTS (ACC DIGITAL NETWORK)
- Georgia Tech’s first loss of the season snapped a three-game winning streak, which was its longest since it closed the 2014 regular season with five-straight victories.
- The loss was Georgia Tech’s first to Clemson at Bobby Dodd Stadium since 2003, snapping the Yellow Jackets’ five-game home winning streak against the Tigers.
- Georgia Tech fell to 7-3 against nationally ranked opponents at home in nine seasons under head coach Paul Johnson. The defeat was the Yellow Jackets’ first to a ranked opponent at home since a 31-17 loss to No. 13/14 Georgia on Nov. 26, 2011.
- Georgia Tech’s 124 total yards were the fewest that it has gained in Johnson’s nine seasons at the helm (prev. low: 155 total yards vs. Iowa — Jan. 5, 2010).
- Georgia Tech’s seven points matched the fewest that it has scored in an ACC game under Johnson. The Jackets also scored seven points at North Carolina (Nov. 8, 2008) and at Miami (Fla.) (Oct. 22, 2011).
- True freshman Dedrick Mills rushed for a career-high 75 yards (prev.: 68 vs. Boston College — Sept. 3).
- Jr. DBs Lawrence Austin and Corey Griffin both set career highs with 12 and 9 tackles, respectively (prev.: Austin — eight vs. Miami (Fla.) — Nov. 21, 2015; Griffin — six (5X), most recently vs. Vanderbilt last Saturday).