CLEMSON, S.C. — Georgia Tech’s special teams play was “a nightmare” in its 27-13 loss to Clemson on Saturday, according to coach Paul Johnson. It has been a consistent issue this season and was a much different performance than those in last year’s two wins over the Tigers.
Six miscues were made:
A roughing the kicker was called after Tech held the Tigers to three downs on the game’s opening drive. Johnson said two players were cut loose by the Tigers on the play. Instead of blocking the ball, Johnson said the unidentified player turned and his head and got alligator arms, causing him to miss the ball and slam into the punter. Clemson scored on its next play.
The next error occurred when Anthony Egbuniwe was called for a late hit on Tech’s first punt. Clemson missed the field goal.
Isaiah Johnson had a chance to down a punt at the 1-yard line, but the ball flew right through his arms. The Tigers went down the shorter field and hit a field goal for a 10-0 lead. The Yellow Jackets were called for holding on the subsequent kickoff return, forcing them to start at the 17-yard line, instead of the 27.
After the Tigers’ second touchdown, the Yellow Jackets were called for an illegal block, backing them up to their 12-yard line, instead of starting on the 22.
Later in the game, Louis Young failed to recover a fumbled kickoff return that he seemed to jump on, and Scott Blair, who kicked seven field goals and threw a touchdown pass in last year’s victories, put a bow on the issues by missing a 49-yard field goal with 11 minutes, 4 seconds remaining.
There was a highlight: Lined up as an upback, Lucas Cox called a fake punt that he ran for a first down. But it wasn’t nearly enough to overcome all of the errors.
“We’ve just got to go back to the drawing board in practice and start to work on the little things,” Mario Butler said.