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Clemson Football

FINAL: No 2. Clemson 49, Georgia Tech 21

September 22, 2018

A beautiful sun-splashed afternoon welcomed Clemson fans to Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field and those in attendance were treated to a showcase from freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The true freshman from Cartersville, GA led Clemson on five scoring drives en route to a 49-21 Clemson win.

With the victory, Clemson (4-0, 1-0) has now defeated Georgia Tech (1-3, 0-1) four consecutive times for just the third time in the history of the rivalry. Lawrence finished the day throwing 13-for-18 for 176 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception.

The Yellow Jackets opened the contest slicing the Clemson defense, busting a big 20-yard run by Qua Searcy. Paul Johnson's squad moved the ball right down the field to open the game, but facing a 3rd and 14 from the 21-yard line, Tayquon Marshall dropped back to pass. Marshall was hit and stripped by Christian Wilkins and following a scrum for the football, the Jackets maintained possession. Lining up for a field goal, a Yellow Jacket false start changed those plans. Being backed up, Coach Johnson decided to punt.

Following that sequence, Clemson's defense would essentially own the day. 

As for the Tigers offense, it took a spark from Lawrence to get things moving as Kelly Bryant's two attempts to break through the Georgia Tech defense were shut down in a hurry.

Clemson's first drive started at the 20-yard line but was quickly derailed five plays later after Kelly Bryant was sacked on third down. 

It was Georgia Tech's second possession that started the downward spiral. The Ramblin' Wreck quickly put things in reverse losing yards on several plays. The Jackets has been careless with the football throughout the early goings and it finally caught up with them.

A forced fumble was scooped up by Christian Wilkins. Wilkins then dropped the football, only to have it squirt into the end zone after J.D. Davis attempted to recover it. Eventually, Clelin Ferrell pounced on the loose ball for giving Clemson their first touchdown of the game. Ferrell's touchdown was the first by a Clemson defensive lineman since Carlos Watkins' pick-six against App St. in 2015.

Another quick Tech three and out allowed the Tiger offense to get a shot at extending the lead, but things continued to stall with Bryant in at quarterback and Clemson punted after just three snaps.

Taking over at their own 29, Jordan Mason quickly ripped off a 24-yard rush putting the Jackets back in Clemson territory. Once again Clemson looked like it was going to stump the triple-option, but on what would have been a long 3rd down, near midfield, a horse collar tackle sparked some life back into Johnson's attack. The Clemson defense stood up following that mistake and a missed field goal by the Jackets gave the Tigers the ball back.

Cue Lawrence's intro music.

With 11:55 left in the first quarter, the true freshman quickly marched Clemson 74 yards on seven plays hitting Hunter Renfrow for a 19-yard score. On the play, Lawrence rolled left and threw a laser across his body to an awaiting Renfrow giving Clemson a 14-0 lead with 9:11 left in the quarter.

Another Tiger stop led to a quick strike from Lawrence as he hit fellow freshman wideout Justyn Ross for a 53-yard score making it 21-0 with just under eight minutes left in the first half.

After another Tech punt, Lawrence was intercepted deep in Clemson territory leading to the Jackets first points of the game. Facing a short field, Marshall sprinted to paydirt from 11 yards out bringing the score to 21-7 Clemson.

The coaching staff decided to stick with Lawrence giving him a chance to redeem his error from the previous series and it was the correct call. Lawrence answered with a 12 play, 64-yard scoring drive with just five seconds remaining in the half it was 28-7 Clemson.

After halftime, the keys to Clemson's offense were again in Lawrence's hands and the Tigers marched 75 yards on seven plays. During the drive, most of which came on the ground, Tavien Feaster, who was shaken up earlier in the day, proved he wasn't hurt blazing 27 yards to the end zone with 12:20 left in the third quarter. On the play, Feaster gained his 1000th yard rushing at Clemson a feat Travis Etienne achieved one week ago.

After another Georgia Tech punt, Clemson went back to Bryant up 35-7, and the senior led the Tigers on a 10 play 83-yard scoring drive as the offensive staff pounded the ground game.

With Clemson's lead ballooning to 42-7, Johnson's offense got back in gear and pieced together another scoring drive, aided by two personal foul penalties. The scoring drive was finished by a 2-yard Nathan Cotrell run.

The Tiger lead allowed the staff to give Chase Brice snaps plenty of time left on the clock. Unfortunately for Brice, on a pass over the middle, the ball popped loose and was intercepted by Yellow Jacket defensive back Malik Rivera.

Georgia Tech put together a six play 17-yard drive cutting Clemson's lead in half, 42-21 with 6:14 left in the game.

The Clemson staff went back to Lawrence to drive home the dagger and shut down any late Yellow Jacket threat. The Tigers zipped right down moving 77 yards on five plays. It was a 30-yard strike to Tee Higgins that sealed the final score, 49-21.

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FINAL: No 2. Clemson 49, Georgia Tech 21

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