Each week, Clemson student Brad Adams gives us an inside look at Clemson football in his column “Behind Enemy Lines.”
Bouncing Back at BC
Clemson’s emerging wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins continues to prove his significance by leading Clemson past Boston College 45-31 on Saturday, finishing with 11 receptions for 197 yards and a touchdown. With Sammy Watkins out of the mix in this week due to an abdominal virus, Boyd targeted Hopkins frequently. “When he’s playing like that, everything’s good. He’s our leader out there,” said Andre Ellington, who accounted for 132 yards on the ground against BC.
Boston College receiver Alex Amidon answered Hopkins’ impressive performance with 193 yards and two touchdowns of his own on just eight receptions. Until midway through the second quarter, it seemed as if Clemson would walk out of Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill with a convincing victory. Suddenly, BC put together two solid drives with two great throws by quarterback Chase Rettig, who threw for 341 yards on the afternoon. The Eagles took a 21-17 lead with a 31-yard pass to Amidon across the middle with 4:12 remaining in the first half. But the Tigers responded, driving the length of the field and scoring on a four-yard pass to Brandon Ford with 23 seconds left in the half to give Clemson the momentum heading into the locker room.
The Tigers came out in the second half firing on all cylinders offensively. Clemson scored three unanswered touchdowns. Backup running back Roderick McDowell emerged with a 16-yard touchdown, proving stability in the rushing attack to compliment starter Andre Ellington. Unlike the FSU game, Clemson won an offensive shootout with a 45-31 victory, advancing to 4-1 on the season.
History of the Rivalry
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have come out victorious in five of their last six meetings with Clemson. To date, the teams have faced off 77 times, and Georgia Tech leads the series 50-25-2. The hatred between the two teams began when Georgia Tech hired away Clemson’s head coach in 1904 for a twenty-five percent salary increase, $450 extra per year at the time. The coach was John Heisman, who you’ve probably heard of. (There’s a famous trophy that bears his name). You can imagine how that turned out for Clemson. Before the hire, Clemson was 5-0 against the Jackets. Clemson lost the next 15 games in a row to Georgia Tech, something Clemson fans are still bitter about to this day. Clemson played Tech on and off up until 1983 when the two became conference rivals and began playing once a year.
A recent thriller comes to mind when I think of Georgia Tech. In 2009, Clemson lost in Atlanta 30-27 on a last minute field goal, but the real game would come in December. For the first time ever, the two teams met up in the ACC Championship in Tampa to decide the conference champion. There were no punts in the contest. Every possession ended in a score or a turnover. With Georgia Tech leading 33-27, Clemson running back C.J.Spiller broke a long run down the sideline to give the Tigers the lead 34-33. Georgia Tech responded with an unorthodox drive, passing for most of their yardage despite running the triple option. They scored a touchdown with 1:20 left in the fourth quarter to seal a 39-34 victory, the ACC Championship, and a BCS bowl bid. Although Georgia Tech came out victorious, Clemson’s Spiller was named the game’s MVP.
Last year the Tigers traveled to Atlanta with an undefeated 8-0 record, ranked #5 in the country. But Clemson couldn’t do the one thing it takes to beat Georgia Tech: stop the run. The Tigers also struggled on offense, only scoring 17 points, and the Jackets’ fans rushed the field after a 31-17 upset victory. The Tigers will be looking for some serious revenge this weekend in Death Valley.
Home against the Old Gold and White
This week, Clemson hosts a deflated Yellow Jackets team coming off a thorough beatdown at the hands of Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders stopped the option attack of Georgia Tech and put up huge numbers in the passing game in their 49-28 victory, which seems to be the formula to win against the Yellow Jackets. Despite Georgia Tech’s record of 2-3, both teams come into Death Valley with top 25 offenses in terms of total yards. Georgia Tech averages 329 yards per game on the ground, while the Tigers air it out for an impressive 320 yards per game.
The key to the game for Clemson will be stuffing the run early and often. When teams prove they can stop the run against the Yellow Jackets, they almost always come away with a win. Georgia Tech ranks 3rd nationally in rushing yards per game. In passing yards? 115th. Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables needs to coax a good game out of his defensive unit that’s given up 38.5 points per contest during the past two weeks. The front seven for the Tigers worked out some kinks last week in the win over BC, and if they can continue to improve, Clemson will win by putting up big numbers offensively. I’ll call it 48-24 Clemson.