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


October 7th, 2012
8:11 am

kick the field goal……..


October 7th, 2012
8:20 am

Can’t wait to start a rookie QB next year……Way to look ahead CPJ…..I mean we have so much to play for right?….


October 7th, 2012
8:23 am

We just keep coming up short in critical parts of the game. Coaching, execution… not sure, but it is becoming a repetitive issue in each game. Still don’t have a kicker that we can count on to get it through the uprights or a defense that can make the big stop when needed. This puts even more pressure on the offense to convert on each and every series. I went back and looked at the stats from the game and we averaged more per play than Clemson but these numbers are hollowed without the W to back it up. We are just playing out the season now. I do believe that Groh will be gone after the season. If we don’t make a good hire here PJ will be next, not sure when but he will be in the crosshairs.


October 7th, 2012
8:33 am

What I don’t understand is on some plays it takes Johnson several seconds on the sideline to tell the carrier coming in the game the play. When the carrier gets to the huddle it is already breaking and the play carrier says maybe two words to Washington. Then Washington goes out and calls the wrong play.

Missed field goals, missed plays at the goal line and no time outs at the end of the games because of sorry sideline management, if I remember right because of a defense that couldn’t substitute fast enough or get ready fast enough, poor clock management, this was a winnable game, lost.


October 7th, 2012
8:57 am

I gave up after the Miami debacle…I just don’t have faith in this team anymore…PJ and AG must go!

This just in....

October 7th, 2012
9:00 am

GT has been invited to the newest bowl. The We Suck Bowl where they will host one of the worst coached teams in America – the mighty UGA Bulldogs. The early over / under is 600 points and the latest lines says a tie after 56 OT’s when the game is called because the ref’s refused to run up and down the field one more time.


October 7th, 2012
9:12 am

PJ and his coaching staff must be fired.


October 7th, 2012
9:12 am

NO MATTER WHAT, ” I STILL LOVE MY JACKETS “. Paul Johnson IS right. A play here, a stop there; who knows. Only Losers call out other percieved losers, as they recognize their own traits


October 7th, 2012
9:14 am

When are we going to start scoring 60+ points a game so we can get back on the winning side . Al Groh is doing a great job. It’s not his fault the offense can’t score enough points.


October 7th, 2012
9:15 am

Enter your comments here


October 7th, 2012
9:17 am

Fire Groh if you want, hire a new D.C., want matter if you don’t have the players. You can only coach up mediocrity so much.

Empty Seats

October 7th, 2012
9:22 am

Everyone settle down. pj has through the end of 2016 to get this right. Why the rush?

And congratulations to pj on his retirement plan!

Along with Paul Hewitts retirement plan and building projects pj is guaranteed to be at gt through 2016, so whats the big rush?

And for a cool $10,000,000 we get this product, his system installed with players that wound up on his team as he does not recruit effectively. Great choice for dc as well. Love the way dc hides from the media. Quite a man, he deserves a raise and lets say $8,000,000 for two more years.

But he choices being made by the athletic department are sound choices. No need to change a thing. Read the last NCAA findings. Admin cost scholarships and ACC Championship. Great way to support the football players. Everything is fine, no problems with his athletic administration.

Papa Doc

October 7th, 2012
9:42 am

Talent wins games; systems don’t matter that much in college. Spread options, 3/4 defense, shotgun, pistol, pro set, are all just ways to put good players in the position to make plays. Smallish and slow are ingredients in a recipe of losses. The 3/4 is a pro-style defense and, supposedly, players want to play in systems that lead to opportunities to play on Sunday. Yet, we have no lineman that will make that transition and only a few linebackers and d-backs who may. You can run any system with a few great players on each side of the ball supported by god players around them. Overall, team talent starting its downward move when Giff left. Most head coaches don’t travel and recruit until the deal is ready to close. Recruiting coordinators are the key.


October 7th, 2012
9:43 am

It drives me crazy when CPJ goes for 4th down when GT is still in the own territory early in the game. Punt the friggin ball and pin the other team deep in their own territory.
My Dawgs of Manhandled, so we have as big or bigger problem than Tech.

Support your team

October 7th, 2012
9:45 am

I just read the UGA blog…
Don’t be like them.
Support your team!


October 7th, 2012
9:48 am

“Talent wins games; systems don’t matter that much in college.”–Papa Doc

I have to disagree with you on this statement. Just look 45 miles north to Athens, GA.
You need talent, but I believe coaching is more important than your talent level.
I will agree with you that Tech needs to do a better job at recruiting top talent, but Coach Mark Richt proves that talent alone does NOT win Football games.

Tech is a decent defense away from being at the top of the ACC.

DOC 51

October 7th, 2012
9:58 am

All you have to do is look back at CPJ coaching history.He was fine at GSU and Hawaii where defense and close games don’t matter.At NAVY a (6-7 ) wins per yr. record is great.In big-boy games,(where defense and fourth quarter results are huge), his record is unacceptable.CPJ players hustle when they want to,in the particular games they want to.Whatever happened to playing hard every game.GT players can.t get up for 12 games.This program is unbelievable.

DOC 51

October 7th, 2012
10:05 am

The ACC is terrible in football.Check out the scores of teams that have beaten us this yr.VT,UM,& that powerhouse MTSU all got spanked again.When DUKE is one of your better teams,watch out.

Hate That

October 7th, 2012
10:20 am

CPJ, come to State!! We NEED you!

Atlanta Native

October 7th, 2012
10:23 am

Why don’t all you Dawg fans get on your on blog…what do you have to say about your teams performance from last night, seriously???
Do I hear silence?


October 7th, 2012
10:35 am

DOC 51 SEC teams have some bad losses too, see UL Monroe.


October 7th, 2012
10:43 am

CPJ says team needs to score more. Wrong. Team needs to learn to defend better. And defense looks a step slow meaning they will be outclassed for the rest of the season. Six wins maybe seven. Unacceptable.


October 7th, 2012
10:45 am

“Why don’t all you Dawg fans get on your on blog…what do you have to say about your teams performance from last night, seriously???
Do I hear silence?”–Atlanta Native

Georgia Bulldogs got SPANKED by a much better team AND coach. Plain and simple.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t follow Tech and root for them to win (except that one day per year)
You aren’t the ONLY Atlanta Native. Get over it! :-)


October 7th, 2012
10:59 am

Funny how the UGA smack talk stopped once their “game” kicked off. At least put up a fight you leghumpin puppies!

Who Cares?

October 7th, 2012
11:17 am

@ Trolldawg daddy, October 6th, 2012, 7:12 pm Ya think? I’m betting they won’t be by Monday morning. Oh, and yes, the jackets have given a few away this season, but refresh my memory here. Who’s beat Tech by 28 points so far this season?

georgia tech breakin neckz

October 7th, 2012
11:26 am

no defense no defense no defense

georgia tech breakin neckz

October 7th, 2012
11:27 am

but uga got spanked too and the falcons are on point.

1 4 GT

October 7th, 2012
11:41 am

USMC D……is a good guy….leave him alone…have seen no trolling posts from him….one of the dawgs that shows class….what else you expect from a leatherneck….thanks for your service USMC D….


October 7th, 2012
12:53 pm

Worst defense I’ve ever seen. BTW, congrats to Duke, solid win and now 4-1.

The Sunday ACC football wrap: Week 6

October 7th, 2012
1:01 pm

[...] Self-destructive habits surfaced again for Georgia Tech, which allowed 600 yards to Clemson in a los… [...]

Empty Seats

October 7th, 2012
1:02 pm

pj is using the same recruiting technique he used at navy.

Is it honorable to command such high salaries and produce this product? This is a question for the entire A Department and Board of Directors to consider please.

I thought pj had higher standards. I stand corrected.

The Tower

October 7th, 2012
1:05 pm

A loss is a loss, is a loss, is a loss, is a loss, is a loss!!!!!

GT Fan

October 7th, 2012
1:26 pm

Unfortunately, I think GT may not win another game this season. Maybe Maryland (but they played GT tough last season in Atlanta). Teams that can pass (BC, Duke, UGA, UNC) are going to continue the light show vs. GT’s pass D. There’s 0-4. And BYU has the best D GT will face this season. That leaves the Turtles as the only “pick’em” game remaining.

YES, the Cougars’ D is better than UGA’s. I’m a former GT season tix holder that moved to Utah 9 months ago…BYU’s D is STOUT! GT scores less than 20 vs. the Cougars, even after BYU plays Oregon St on 10/13, then travels to Notre Dame on 10/20. After playing those 2, GT will be like a prep team to BYU. I’m attending next Saturday’s BYU-Oregon St game to get a second live look at their D (already saw the Cougar’s O lose to Utah). But I already know it’s good! More of a get familiar with the area in anticipation of GT coming to Provo in 2013.

...Take The Wheel

October 7th, 2012
1:34 pm

I hope PJ plays Lee more.

Not that I think Lee would be any better than Washington if there are no other changes to go with it. But he at least needs to get more practice running the offense. And also so that you could all see that there’s only so much any ONE player can do. That is unless you all think Lee can throw the ball, block for himself, catch it and run in the TD. … And then line up on defense and make some stops too!

There’s a mountain of things that need to improve.

GT Fan

October 7th, 2012
1:39 pm

Further regarding BYU ……….. They are now playing their FRESHMAN QB (Taysom Hill) over the Senior (Riley Nelson). IT’S GLARINGLY OBVIOUS THE FRESHMAN IS BETTER THAN THE SENIOR. The guy can run & throw, and he’s tough.

However, Hill is only starting now (and won’t be losing his job unless he gets injured) b/c Nelson got hurt. Nelson’s healthy now, but it took an injury for the better QB to get a chance to show he’s better. That’s exactly what’s going to have to happen at GT for Vad Lee to become the starter.

That’s really the case with all positions (i.e. Isiah Johnson on D). PJ praised this kid so much when he arrived at GT that he ain’t going anywhere unless he gets injured or suspended, i.e. (again) Daniel Drummond (we all see who GT’s best LB is now – JHD). He only got his opp b/c DD was suspended.


October 7th, 2012
1:40 pm

I’m a fan of CPJ and think he has the system that obviously works on offense, when you score as much as we do, offense is not the problem. That being said, it seems like this season he has lost his concept of when we should run certain plays and what type of offense is appropriate in certain situations. We should have run short passes and crossing routes behind the LB’s when we had the ball before halftime, we needed a score right then and wasted a big opportunity. We shouldn’t have wasted the clock with players still running in each individual play, they should have come in with two or three plays and run hurry up, maximizing our potential. To see what we did there was disappointing and seemed to take a bit of wind out of the offense for the rest of the game.
When it’s painfully obvious that with our defense letting our opponent score at will we have to score on every offensive series, we can’t waste opportunities like we did Saturday. Al Groh needs to be fired and CPJ needs to teach this team a two minute drill like every other football team on the planet.

Delbert D.

October 7th, 2012
1:42 pm

BYU is winning (or not losing, as it may be) with their defense.

Jacket Fan

October 7th, 2012
2:00 pm

Why not Vad Lee? Season’s over, might as well get him some work. #13 will not play at the next level in any capacity. Only 2 games we have left in which we have any possibility of winning – BC and MD, and they are not gimmes. With 4 – 8 as our best possible outcome, why not get Johnson and staff to resign now?

GT Fan

October 7th, 2012
2:01 pm

BINGO! Delbert D.

BYU’s D is very good, to say the least. Through 6 games, only 53 pts have been put up against BYU (24 by Utah). Take away a 47yd fumble ret TD by Utah, and on 46 pts have been scored vs. BYU’s D. That’s 29 pts by the other 5 opponents, combined (Wash St, Boise St, Hawaii, Utah St, and Weber St).

GT’s last 3 opponents have tallied 47, 49, and 42 respectively. GT has scored 31, 28, and 36 in those 3 games, and are 0-3. With a BYU-like D, GT would be 6-0.

Defense wins championships!

GT Fan

October 7th, 2012
2:05 pm

Jacket Fan … you need to delve a little deeper into BC …….. they can PASS. A positive for GT is that they get the off week to rest/heal & prepare for BC. Unfortunately, Al Groh has NO solution to consistently stop a good passing O.

IMO, only Maryland is a “pick’em” ….. I think all the others are losses, unless PJ/AG make some personnel changes.

GT Fan

October 7th, 2012
2:08 pm

Also, it was another stellar day for PJ’s “player too good to be standing on the sidelines” …. Synjyn Days.

PJ is beginning to look like a baffoon. Add to it the lack of finding ways to put the ball in track star B.Snoddy’s hands.

Did PJ’s classis “undisclosed injury” sideline BJ Bostic & Deon Hill yesterday?

1 4 GT

October 7th, 2012
2:09 pm

GT Fan….FWIW….I think so too!!!

Delbert D.

October 7th, 2012
2:12 pm

BC is in pretty much the situation as Tech. They have had 3 very tough losses, and the inexplicable one against Army. Tech gets a break with them playing FSU this week. I haven’t given up; I got my tickets to the BC game via FedEx this past Thursday.

Buzz 2011

October 7th, 2012
2:20 pm

@Your Bulldog Daddy………..I wish my Jackets were as goos as your Dawgs and could handle ranked teams. The Dogs impress totally……………………The Dawgs really shine against SEC power teams.. Wow, wow wow………….Richt is yo Daddy ………………


October 7th, 2012
2:27 pm

Vad won’t see the field again this year. CPJ is just too loyal to his senior QB and may as well finish it out with him. It will eventually cost CPJ his job in the end, but he’s remaining loyal to his QB.

By the way, it’s sad when you honestly (and I mean with all of my heart) knew that Clemson could score whenever it wanted to. Our defense is that bad. Clemson’s offense is good but I seriously think Duke will roll up 40+ on Tech. We won’t win another game and I”m not just saying that b/c I’m pissed at this team. I honestly believe our defense can’t compete with anyone in NCAA right now. Our offense will at some point, give up hope and this team will become divided b/c they can’t rely on our D for one freaking series…..put a fork in them boys….

GT Fan

October 7th, 2012
2:56 pm

How about this stellar, DEFENSIVE STAT ……

Holding a 4th qtr lead in the past 3 games, GT has been outscored, 17-3, 14-7, and 14-0 in those games. Outscored 45-10 in those 45 minutes, and a nice 0-3 record to show for it.

Al Groh is awesome! I know GT is lacking depth, in a big way, but AG should be able find a way to skeem at D to have won at least one of the past 3 games ….

Silly Mutts

October 7th, 2012
3:13 pm

Pj is the best head coach in the country! Give him a 20 year extension and pay al groh a real salary! Forget recruiting the system works! It only took 3 years get our defense to this point! Best gt ever!!! Gt accepts that it is a 6 win team every year. Winning Bowl games and beating uga are never going to happen so just accept reality! The ACC sucks and gt is the best team in it year in and year out!!! We are the best because we only lose by a little most of the time. Oh we have the academics to prove we are the best! So there everyone else in the country! We have the best football program in the country because we are gt and are engineers! What a bunch of LOSERS on this board!

Silly Mutts

October 7th, 2012
3:22 pm

Gt football is dirt 1) crappy no pass offense 2) crappy special teams 3) no defense 4) loser coaches and yes that includes it’s HC!!! 4) loser players and most importantly 5) loser fans who accept loserdome!!!! You deserve to lose every game and become duke and vandy!!!!!!!!

dry dirt road

October 7th, 2012
3:35 pm

CPJ better watch out or he’ll get fired. I saw 3 calls he made that were like earlier in the season, 2 dive plays after big gains that wasted one out of four plays since they gained no yards, and one trip opt off to the closest sidelines, attempting to tight rope walk it, didn’t work, next was fourth down and punted. If Tech only wins 2 games this year CPJ will get fired probably. At least the all white unis and helmets were there and looked good, but the pink socks are starting to creep back in, maybe why Tech lost. Clemson had more complex offensive formations, but the movements were mainly to the sides, thus harmless.


October 7th, 2012
3:38 pm

@ S.M you say what we are losers for being on this board ,yet YOU are on here alot .So what does that make you.If you hate tech so much,pull for U.G.A. you would fit right in.