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Clemson Football

Keys to Victory: No. 1 Clemson at Georgia Tech

October 17, 2020

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Each week we give you a look at the history of the game, three keys to success, plus Swanny’s prediction.

The Match-Up:

#1 Clemson (4-0 overall, 3-0 ACC) vs. Georgia Tech (2-2 overall, 2-1 ACC)

Clemson vs. Georgia Tech 2019

Series History:

Overall: Clemson trails 32-50-2
at Clemson: Clemson leads 16-6
at Miami: Clemson trails 14-44-2
Neutral: Clemson leads 2-1
Last Meeting: Clemson won 52-14 (Aug. 29, 2019)
Last Georgia Tech win: 28-6 (2014)
Streak: Clemson has won 5 straight in the series





Chasing History:

Having thrown 355 consecutive passes without an interception, Lawrence enters the game with the second-longest streak in ACC history. He needs 25 more pass attempts without an interception to break the ACC record held by NC State's Russell Wilson (379 from 2008-09). The FBS record is 444, set by Louisiana Tech's Colby Cameron across the 2011-12 seasons.


Stat of the Week:

Clemson is attempting to win their 33rd all-time victory against Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are one of 11 schools against whom Clemson has earned at least 30 all-time victories (South Carolina, Wake Forest, North Carolina State, Furman, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Maryland, Presbyterian, and The Citadel). It would mark the second time Clemson has earned its 33rd all-time win against an opponent after having moved to 33-5-1 all-time against The Citadel earlier this year.


Key 1: Create a Buzz Early

Clemson’s defense, especially the secondary, has created a buzz recently off the field. The depth of talent at cornerback has been on display this season, and last weekend against Miami, the Tigers proved why Mike Reed has had a smile on his face all offseason.

The Tigers can run out a minimum of five top-shelf corners, including Thorpe Watchlist member Derion Kendrick. Over the past two weekends, Andrew Booth has shown incredible athleticism on similar plays against Virginia and Miami.

Yellow Jacket quarterback Jeff Simms has tossed eight interceptions this season and faces his stiffest test against the Tigers. If the DBs can force a few interceptions, this one will get ugly in a hurry. We don’t think Georgia Tech has enough firepower to keep up in Geoff Collins’ second season in Atlanta, but if they turn the ball over, it might be in hand before the half.

Courtesy of ACC Media Portal
At times last weekend, it felt like Clemson had 15 defenders on the field.


Key 2: Swarm Defensively 

On almost every play last weekend, Clemson has two, three, and sometimes four players eating up D’Eriq King. The versatile signal-caller for the Hurricanes was a nonfactor, outside of one 50+ yard run. Also, Cam’Ron Harris was shut down, and it’s hard to imagine that the Yellow Jackets’ combo of Simms and Jahmyr Gibbswill perform any better.

Also, Saturday's contest offers one matchup of contrasting strengths. Clemson enters the game tied for second in the country with 18 sacks this season, while Georgia Tech ranks tied for seventh in the nation in sacks allowed (two). Yikes! 

If Clemson does what they should and creates that same pressure that we saw last weekend, there won’t be much resistance from an already outmanned Georgia Tech squad.

Key 3: Protect Trevor Lawrence

In all honesty, this could probably be a key for most any game Clemson plays this season. We absolutely know that Trevor Lawrence is “the straw that stirs the drink” for the Tiger offense. Sure, there are incredible pieces around him, but no one is interested in seeing if D.J. Uiagalelei or Taisun Phommachanh could lead Clemson to win after win this season.

Keeping Lawrence healthy continues to be paramount while the Tigers attempt to make a run to another College Football Playoff. In order for that to happen, Lawrence needs to stay healthy. 

After looking at all the scenarios this week, this one seems pretty important-- especially for the long haul.


For several years a trip down to Atlanta for a matchup with Georgia Tech was seen as venturing into the Bermuda Triangle. No matter how good Clemson was, for whatever reason, following Clemson’s win in 2003, the Tigers couldn’t find a win in the ATL until 2016. 

Now, riding a five-game winning streak in the series, the longest for the Tigers since the two started playing in 1898, Clemson is on another level from the majority of their opponents in 2020, and this one won’t be much different than last week.

Clemson can help themselves out by delivering a heavy dose of Travis Etienne this afternoon as the senior from Jennings, LA rushed for a then-career-high 205 rushing yards during the Tigers 52-14 win a season ago.

Swanny’s Prediction: 44-10 Clemson

Date 2020 Schedule Predictions Swanny’s Prediction Actual Score
9-12-2020 No. 1 Clemson at Wake Forest 55-17 Clemson 37-13 Clemson
9-19-2020 No. 1 Clemson vs. The Citadel 52-6 Clemson 49-0 Clemson
10-3-2020 No. 1 Clemson vs. Virginia 47-17 Clemson 41-23 Clemson
10-10-2020 No. 1 Clemson vs. Miami 38-20 Clemson

42-17 Clemson

10-17-2020 No. 1 Clemson at Georgia Tech 44-10 Clemson ???


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Keys to Victory: No. 1 Clemson at Georgia Tech

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