UPDATED: Tech out-slugged by Clemson, 47-31

Clemson's Andre Ellington (23) tries to get by Georgia Tech's Jeremiah Attaochu.

Clemson's Andre Ellington (23) tries to get by Georgia Tech's Jeremiah Attaochu.

Updated, 10:10 p.m.

CLEMSON, S.C. – As late-afternoon shadows crept across Memorial Stadium, the Clemson faithful stood in full-throated roar. The sellout crowd sensed its team about to deliver a knockout punch to Georgia Tech.

The Yellow Jackets complied. Another fourth-quarter breakdown torched three quarters of effort and offensive play-making in a 47-31 defeat to No. 15 Clemson Saturday in Death Valley. A week after absorbing one of the worst losses in school history,  Tech made good on its vow to give a better account of itself against the Tigers. It did, but up against an arsenal of offensive weapons and its own self-destructive habits, it wasn’t enough.

“Right now, we’ve got to play close to perfect,” coach Paul Johnson said. “Clearly, we’ve got to score more points.”

The Jackets fell to 2-4 overall and 1-3 in the ACC and made the bus ride home down I-85 with regrets of plays missed and chances squandered packed underneath. They also are owners of their second three-game losing streak in the past three seasons.

Twelve months after opening the season 6-0 for the first time since 1966 and rising to No. 12 in the polls, the 2012 Jackets have scuffled their way to a less glorious piece of history. Tech goes into its bye week with its worst record after six games since the 1994 team, which started the season 1-5 and later brought about the late-season dismissal of coach Bill Lewis.

“We’ll come back,” Johnson said. “They played hard for the most part, and if they’ll play hard, we’ve got to find a way to try to help them win.”

As was the case against Virginia Tech and Miami, the Jackets held a fourth-quarter lead Saturday, this time in a game that few gave them any chance to win after their 21-point home loss to Middle Tennessee State last Saturday. The Tech offense at times scalded Clemson’s poor tackling defense. Quarterback Tevin Washington operated the option effectively, freeing up A-backs Orwin Smith and Robbie Godhigh to gain 178 rushing yards on just 11 carries. He completed nine of 14 passes for 144 yards.

Said Smith, “I saw guys with more drive than previous weeks.”

Tech’s  work led to kicker David Scully’s 26-yard field goal that gave the Jackets a 31-30 lead with 13:03 left in the game, the fourth time they had wrested the lead from Clemson. The Tigers responded with a 75-yard touchdown drive, one of their six scoring drives measuring 70 yards or more, completing it with a 35-yard pass to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. A two-point conversion gave Clemson a 38-31 lead.

A team that is becoming painfully familiar with an inability to rise to the game’s biggest moments tripped again, this time literally.

Chris Milton misplayed the ensuing kickoff, fumbling the ball before recovering it and then slipping to the ground at the 2-yard line. Two plays later, Washington pitched to Smith, who was overrun by Clemson defenders and dropped for a safety for a 40-31 lead. The stadium shook in approval.

The episode recalled Smith’s own safety on a kickoff against Miami.

“You can play 10 years of football and never take a kickoff return on the 1-yard line and have a safety on a kickoff return,” Johnson said. “We’ve had both. It seems like it shouldn’t happen.”

On the series after the safety, the Tech defense, which allowed 601 yards to Clemson, gave a spark when inside linebacker Daniel Drummond intercepted a Tajh Boyd pass, returning the ball to the Jackets at the Tech 45-yard line. Down nine and needing two scores, Tech drove and then sent Scully out for a 37-yard field goal. His try was blocked, his second miss of the game.

“That was pretty much it,” Johnson said.

It brought an end to an afternoon that held the hope for a season-turning upset but was done in with a mound of errors. Tech tried for a first down on 4th-and-1 from its own 37 on its first possession of the game and was denied on a sneak by Washington.

Nose tackle Shawn Green made one of the plays of the game in the third quarter, intercepting a screen pass and returning it 17 yards to the Clemson 26, but Tech squandered the opportunity to add to its 28-27 lead. A botched snap between center Catlin Alford and Washington on 4th-and-1 from the 7 gave the ball back to the Tigers.

Occasionally better defensive play and pass-rush pressure often placed Clemson in 3rd-and-long situations. As has become rote, though, the Jackets allowed Clemson to convert 13 of 19 third downs. Tech has given up 31 of 46 third downs in the past three games.

The first-quarter fourth-down try in its own end spoke more about the state of Tech’s defense than Johnson would.

“I thought we could make it,” Johnson said.

Once again, opportunity lost.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

361 comments Add your comment

gt1012

October 6th, 2012
6:59 pm

shamire devine

October 6th, 2012
7:00 pm

Does anybody have Mark richt’s phone number?

If do right, no can defense

October 6th, 2012
7:00 pm

gt1012

October 6th, 2012
7:01 pm

and CPJ gets paid more than Dabo, Jimbo, and every other coach in the ACC. His salary (~$2.6 million) is in the top 10% of college football coaches.
Is it too much to ask to get what we pay for?

Your Bulldawg Daddy!!!!

October 6th, 2012
7:01 pm

I love your ball team. I say we give coach Johnson an extension on his contract.

North Ave Killer Beez

October 6th, 2012
7:02 pm

That a boy coach, way to get our future QB some experience today. Maybe to risky with all we have still have left to play for.

If do right, no can defense

October 6th, 2012
7:02 pm

ah, gt1012 you got me… 3rd down defense cost us this one period. And poor special teams didn’t help. Offense was ok, nothing spectacular, but we scored exactly as many as we did last year, just that this time our D collapsed.

Al Groh is gone after this season for sure. No question.

Born2Buzz

October 6th, 2012
7:03 pm

Shakier, can you play defense?

da

October 6th, 2012
7:03 pm

Jacket Dad

October 6th, 2012
7:04 pm

Wasn’t as bad as I feared….. But we are just not anywhere near where we need to be. Offense, although pretty good, can’t make the big plays and the play calling today was….interesting. Defense – not as bad as last week, but Clemson didn’t even punt!!!!!!! And special teams – I was excited to see a ST coach come in but have not really seen much improvement.

I hate to be so negative, but we only have one or two more games where I think we even have a chance.

Born2Buzz

October 6th, 2012
7:04 pm

Shamire. Damn auto spell.

tech fan

October 6th, 2012
7:04 pm

Please, please Paul take your toys, Al & Rada data ding dong and just leave.

UGA grad Class of 1800

October 6th, 2012
7:04 pm

Tech is just not a good team. That’s all there is to it.

If do right, no can defense

October 6th, 2012
7:05 pm

I also wish CPJ didn’t have a contract until 2016… we can’t afford to pay him 10 million if we fire him before that. So yeah, couple of more disappointing seasons on the way unless we out-recruit uga in the state.

Scrod

October 6th, 2012
7:05 pm

Fire ‘em all now and bring in the substitutes. Can’t get any worse.

North Ave Killer Beez

October 6th, 2012
7:05 pm

Let’s try the QB sneak again on fourth and 1, with our snail QB that couldn’t sniff playing time at Duke.

Jacket Dad

October 6th, 2012
7:06 pm

And sorry Johnson, you are NOT earning your 2.6 million. Pathetic.

Silly Mutts

October 6th, 2012
7:08 pm

Hahahahahaa….laugher as usual!!!!!!! Bill lewis > paul johnson! HahahAAAAAAAA

BehindEnemyLines

October 6th, 2012
7:08 pm

No surprise in the least. Few legitimate D1 players, even fewer coaches. And apparently another administration that lacks the sense, the courage or even enough interest to do anything about it.

If do right, no can defense

October 6th, 2012
7:09 pm

Oh yeah, btw Duke is gonna go bowling this year and we are not. That home game on senior day looks awfully difficult now. Just hoping for one or two more wins this season… BC after bye week is tough, but not impossible. Chalk the rest down as L’s for now.

Morale = destroyed.

GT Trumpet

October 6th, 2012
7:09 pm

Groh has got to go.

GTBob

October 6th, 2012
7:10 pm

Well, at least we are guaranteed not to lose next weekend.

Born2Buzz

October 6th, 2012
7:10 pm

This was an Al Groh special. Keep getting in 3rd and long and then give up the 1st down. And does Isiah Johnson just always take the wrong angle?

Trolldawg daddy

October 6th, 2012
7:11 pm

Enter your comments here

Silly Mutts

October 6th, 2012
7:11 pm

I now hate this football team!!!! Hahaha the fans are losers, the players are losers the coaches are major losers!!!! The ad is an udder (sp) loser!!!!!!!!

Trolldawg daddy

October 6th, 2012
7:12 pm

Bulldogs are top five. Why are you here? You’re pathetic.

Silly Mutts

October 6th, 2012
7:14 pm

Love those frozen duck throws!

WnE

October 6th, 2012
7:14 pm

Three words describe CPJ’s tenure at GT:

SUB

STANDARD

RECRUITING

Over the course of a game that has probably 100+ snaps, INFERIOR RECRUITING will ruin your chances to win more often than not!

But then again, I said the same thing way back in Dec. 2007 when CPJ was hired with no experience on the BCS Level.

Where are my detractors now?

New Idea

October 6th, 2012
7:14 pm

ole yeller

October 6th, 2012
7:14 pm

Look at the stats, Clemson never had to punt the ball. It could be 3rd and 50 and Groh could not call up the right alignment. Tells you something about our defensive talent or coaching or both, doesn’t it? This may be the worse defense I have ever seen a Tech team field. Someone needs to be fired, NOW!

Highly Respected Southern Troll

October 6th, 2012
7:15 pm

@Ken Sugiura- This is not at all intended as a “troll” or joke question, but do you think it’s possible or feasible that Georgia Tech could/would get George O’Leary and Ralph Friedgen back? Thanks.

Your Bulldawg Daddy!!!!

October 6th, 2012
7:15 pm

Your team is pathetic!!!!!!!

ETN Tech

October 6th, 2012
7:17 pm

I totally agree with north Ave Killer Beez. Coach you gotta get Vad in the game. Time to turn the page from Tevin. He calls his own number way too much in the option. Needless to say the Defense is pretty pathetic. We simply can’t run a 3-4! We don’t have the size on the line for it! Time to move on from CAG.

Silly Mutts

October 6th, 2012
7:17 pm

Season of schmucks!!!!! Give al and paul raises extend their contracts 20 years and recruit a bunch of d iii players!!!!!!!!! Sell tix for 250 a piece! Charge 15 for a coke!!! Lets get new unis!!!

1 4 GT

October 6th, 2012
7:17 pm

Ken, what’s up with the lack of game day coverage & blog………your bosses think GT ain’t worth it or what????????????????????

Brad Nixon

October 6th, 2012
7:17 pm

Paul Johnson now your done,I love the Jackets but as a fan it is time for a change at the end of the year. This sucks

JustinSyder

October 6th, 2012
7:18 pm

Dwag trolls…….how’d you like what just happened?

If do right, no can defense

October 6th, 2012
7:19 pm

Poor recruiting -> lack of talent on defense -> poor defense -> can’t get off the field on 3rd downs -> give up TOP -> ruin the triple option staple of relying on TOP -> ruin your offense’s chances of scoring too many times in addition to bad defense -> lose games -> losing seasons and annual loss to uga -> Poor recruiting.

And the vicious cycle continues.

Samurai Jacket

October 6th, 2012
7:21 pm

GT yielded 573 yds / game over the last three weeks

billyho55

October 6th, 2012
7:21 pm

GAVE A BETTER EFFORT TODAY! JUST HAVE TO FACE THE FACT THAT WE ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH THIS YEAR! I SAY THROW IN VAD SO HE CAN GET SOME PLAYING TIME UNDER HIS BELT! IN MY OPINION, COULD BE DEAD WRONG, BUT THIS HAS TURNED INTO A THROW AWAY SEASON! A SEASON TO GET THE FUTURE STARS MORE PLAYING TIME! PJ WILL UNFORTUNATELY SURVIVE FOR ONE MORE YEAR BUT GROH IS G.O.N.E. GONE! SAYING ALL THIS PAINS ME TO NO AVAIL BUT LET’S FACE IT GUYS, WE ARE NOT GONNA ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING OF ACCLAIM THIS YEAR! THIS IS ONE VERY SAD BUT HONEST MAN’S OPINION!!!

WHAT DO WE HAVE TO LOSE….

GT-UT

October 6th, 2012
7:21 pm

Vad needs to be the starter. This season is lost. TW is a good kid, but not the winner we need. I still have faith in CPJ. Don’t know about CAG…he got a great résumé. I’ll trust CPJ’s judgement. And, for all you haters out there; I like this offense. Period.

1 4 GT

October 6th, 2012
7:23 pm

Only a hand full of teams play real defense anymore…..it seems as though GT isn’t alone……although they may be near the bottom………..

George Stein

October 6th, 2012
7:23 pm

I can’t believe how awful the defense. I really have nothing else to offer.

Silly Mutts

October 6th, 2012
7:23 pm

Hahahahahahahahahhahahahaa gt is back to relevancy in irrelevancy……mount union just called and offered 10 million to gt to come play them!!! They are recruiting the same players!

If do right, no can defense

October 6th, 2012
7:24 pm

That being said, half our season is behind us, and we’re 2-4. Gotta RISE ABOVE THIS. Somehow. Someone. Something. has to step up.

The Ramblin Wreck has seen worse before… we WILL live to see another day. The Yellow Jackets will fight on…

OldGold1964

October 6th, 2012
7:25 pm

Offense: hold your heads high. Defense: (what defense???), oh, you have work to do – wake up. Coaches: some of you need to return last couple of checks to the Athletic Association, uncashed.

Oh, my

October 6th, 2012
7:27 pm

Looking like this will be 2 years in a row my video collection contains no GT football highlight tape.

Silly Mutts

October 6th, 2012
7:28 pm

This offense sucks too!! Cant pass when you need to etc same garbage same story year in and year out!

1 4 GT

October 6th, 2012
7:29 pm

Samurai……….too much credit……..Miami got over 600……MTSU got over 500….on screen stat said Clemons got 601 today…..over 1700 yds in 3 games….573 seems pretty close…..horrible & pathetic….GT will be lucky if they beat Maryland……PITIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BigTIMETechFan

October 6th, 2012
7:29 pm

Nice game, few plays/drives blew it, if we had more then an average QB we could have won the game.

Time to tell TW, you are not playing like a R-SR, to many mistakes, even completed passes look bad

What the deal with getting the ball with 3 min left in the half and not caring about the clock until there is like 20 seconds left. Same thing happened in the Miami game.