Week 4

Clemson 26, Georgia Tech 7: 5 Things That Matter


Clemson stuffed Georgia Tech for a 26-7 win. What are the 5 Things That Matter?


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Clemson 26, Georgia Tech 7: 5 Things That Matter

And that’s what you do if you’re Clemson
It was a dangerous trap game with Louisville coming up and coming off a short week, but Clemson showed that it’s going to be right there in the College Football Playoff hunt again with one of its best defensive efforts yet under Dabo Swinney.

Don’t blow off what a big deal it is to only have a few days to prepare for the Yellow Jacket offense – there’s only two practices to realistically get ready for the thing.

It didn’t matter.

The Tigers were disciplined, tough, and two steps ahead of everything Georgia Tech tried to do allowing just 95 rushing yards and 29 through the air. It was total domination, starting with the line, and now, the blueprint is there for …

Louisville up next

Lamar Jackson is everyone’s darling right now, and rightly so.

Louisville has been unstoppable, sharp on both sides of the ball, and breathtaking in the way it took down Florida State, but none of that means a lick if the Clemson defense owns the interior like it did in Atlanta.

Yeah, Clemson only had a few short days to work and prepare for the triple-option, but here’s the plus side – it gets a few extra days to rest up and get ready for the Cardinals.

With the way FSU is playing, this might be for the ACC championship if the Tigers can be as sharp and focused from the start as they were on Thursday night. And then, just maybe, the Heisman front-runner spot goes to …

Deshaun Watson, welcome to the 2016 season

It’s not like he’s been awful so far, but considering the hype and with all the expectations, he’s just been okay.

that all changed early on against Georgia Tech, taking off for a few key runs early, taking on a few big shots, and then forcing the Yellow Jacket D to change its style to hang back a bit.

Watson took his share of deep short, but he seemed to nail every meaningful midrange throw on the way to 304 yards and two scores. This was the Watson everyone was waiting for.

Sep 22, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Clemson Tigers defensive lineman Christian Wilkins (42) tackles Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets quarterback Justin Thomas (5) in the first quarter at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 22, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Clemson Tigers defensive lineman Christian Wilkins (42) tackles Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets quarterback Justin Thomas (5) in the first quarter at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Remember, Georgia Tech isn’t in the Atlantic

It stinks to lose to Clemson, and it exposed the O line against a nasty, dangerous, aggressive defensive front, but it’s only one loss to an elite team from another division.

Nothing worked. The horrible halfback option trick play was a disaster, QB Justin Thomas spent too much time dodging giant Tigers, and the backs never had any room to rumble on the outside. Now the Yellow Jackets have to deal with a Miami defense that’s been living in the backfield so far this year, but it’s a young group.

Beat the Canes, and the dream of a division title is back on track.

Of course, the offense has to find more room to rumble than it did in its first two ACC games against Boston College and Clemson.

What Does This All REALLY Mean?

The Yellow Jackets never had any sort of an answer once the option wasn’t working. What beats it? A defensive front the collapses the interior, and smart linebackers who stay disciplined on the outside. There wasn’t anything else to go to when drive after drive stalled.

Even so, they were still in the game in the second half – and then came the bad halfback pass from Dedrick Mills, and that was it.

To nitpick on a great night for Clemson, the offense didn’t close well.

It did all it needed to do early on, but it only scored three points in the second half as the offense went ultra-conservative at times. The only thing that could’ve gone wrong was a bad turnover or a momentum-changing negative play, and the Tigers didn’t do that.

They played the field position game, and they knew the defense was going to prevail as long as the offense controlled the time of possession.

But there’s no complaining. This was a dangerous game that Clemson got through without a problem.