LIVE from Clemson: Jackets try to keep ACC hopes alive

Georgia Tech goes through warmups while Clemson fans (right) line up Tigers' entrance on hill.

The Jackets go through warmups while Clemson fans (right) line up for the Tigers' entrance on the hill.

CLEMSON, S.C. — Two years ago this week, Tommy Bowden resigned under pressure as Clemson’s coach, was ripped going out the door by then quarterback Cullen Harper (”It’s what he deserved.”) and was replaced by assistant, Dabo Swinney. Clemson’s first opponent after one of the most tulumultous weeks in the Program’s history: Georgia Tech.

The Tigers, to their credit, put up more of a fight than most expected before losing to the Jackets 21-17 on a late touchdown pass from Joshua Nesbitt to Demaryius Thomas. The Jackets went on to finish 9-4 in coach Paul Johnson’s first season and we started to get a sense that they could be legitimate players in the ACC.

Back in Death Valley two years later, we’re waiting for that sense again. Maybe it comes today. Tech enters its most important stretch of the season with consecutive ACC games against Clemson, at Virginia Tech and home against Miami. Win today and the Jackets’ game in Blacksburg in two weeks takes on major significance. (The Coastal standings going into today: Virginia Tech 3-0, Georgia Tech 3-1, Miami and North Carolina 2-1.) Lose and Tech’s chances of defending its ACC title drop to almost nil.

The Jackets have won three straight but over relatively weak teams (Wake Forest, Virginia, Middle Tennessee State), and Johnson admitted this week he’s not sure yet what kind of team he has, saying: “The game could be 14-7 or it could be 42-40. It’s not like we’re dominant in any one area.”

The positive sign is that there has been improvement on both sides of the ball. Also, while Al Groh’s defense still has some issues, the chances of Clemson hurting Tech with big passing plays seem slim. The Tigers are ranked 89th in the nation in passing and 80th in total offense. As usual, if the Jackets can run the ball and not turn it over, they should be fine.

A quote from Johnson earlier in the week: “Offensively, we’re still not where we’d like to be but we’re averaging 35 points a game. It’s a lot better than it used to be. But it’s not up to everybody’s expectations or even our expectations. Sometimes I’m not sure if I don’t create some of that myself because I have such high expectations. Very few offenses score every time they get the ball but that’s been our mindset.”

One last thing before I turn it over to you: Because of some quirks in scheduling (and baseball playoffs), the last Tech game I covered was in Lawrence, Kansas. That result (Kansas 28, Tech 25) is even less believable now than it was then. The Jayhawks are 2-4. Their only other win came over New Mexico State, which is 1-5. New Mexico State’s only win came over New Mexico, which is 0-6.

In the last two games, Kansas has lost to Baylor (55-7) and Kansas State (59-7) by a composite score of 114-14.

That loss in Lawrence is a difficult memory for the Jackets to get past. But win today and they still have a chance to end their season in the Orange Bowl again.

What are your thoughts on this team? I’ll check back shortly.

I’m giving you last 3 blogs for free

Weekend Predictions: Falcons win (and try not to hurt anybody)

Giants are reminder of what could have been for Braves

Poll time: Who’s more likely to win division, Dogs or Jackets?


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1,091 comments Add your comment

Dawggie

October 23rd, 2010
1:08 pm

Clempsun- 34 Bees- 17

Mr. Touchdown

October 23rd, 2010
1:08 pm

Paul Johnson

October 23rd, 2010
1:08 pm

Dawggie!!!! I will punch you in the face!!!!!!!!

From 11-3 to 12-2

October 23rd, 2010
1:09 pm

GO JACKETS !

Mr. Touchdown

October 23rd, 2010
1:09 pm

and Duke is in punt formation

Robot

October 23rd, 2010
1:10 pm

Jeff, would you set the over/under on Tech “fans” in attendance at 50, or 75?

The Varsity, Downtown Atlanta

October 23rd, 2010
1:14 pm

Thank GOD!!! An away game for the Jackets.

We here at The Varsity are so sick of picking up empty asthma inhalers from our top parking lot on home gamedays. Is there any way you Techies would move your campus to a town with grass and trees, so you can quit using our upper parking lot for all your tailgating needs??

Thanks!

Deuce Coupe

October 23rd, 2010
1:16 pm

Jeff,

The score in the Kansas game was Jayhawks 28, Jackets 25.

Go Tech !
. . . . . . . . . . beat Clemson.

George P

October 23rd, 2010
1:16 pm

Man, I wish VT went from 3-0 to 3-1 today

Tucker T

October 23rd, 2010
1:19 pm

I picked Tech in my pool so I guess I am pulling for them a little. Although, they are the dog in this game so as long as they lose by 5 points or fewer then I am fine with it.

Jeff Schultz

October 23rd, 2010
1:21 pm

Deuce Coupe — Fixed. Not sure why my fingers did that. Bad fingers.

Jeff Schultz

October 23rd, 2010
1:23 pm

George P — Virginia Tech over Duke 24-0 in 2nd quarter.

Jeff Schultz

October 23rd, 2010
1:23 pm

Robot — Don’t know. But I saw two walking in.

5150 P.O.A.D.

October 23rd, 2010
1:24 pm

Wow all the Dawgs on the Tech blog and you guys say we are obsessed with you MUTS? Seems like you guys are just a lil interested about Tech.
VT is 21-0 over Duke. Tech needs to run the O smooth today and getr ready for VPI.

dawgfan

October 23rd, 2010
1:25 pm

Kansas wasn’t the goal. Beating NC State wasn’t the goal. Beating Georgia is hardly ever the goal. The goal is whatever Tech is able to accomplish. Then it becomes the goal. Mighty convenient isn’t it?

I suspect there will be some bigger fish to fry if Tech can’t get it done against 3-3 Clemson today.

5150 P.O.A.D.

October 23rd, 2010
1:27 pm

Dawgfan and what is UGA’s GOAL? to get drunk and get arrested? That is the goal of Fans and players alike I guess.

Dawggie

October 23rd, 2010
1:28 pm

The goal isn’t to fry ANY fish. It’s to sit back and act like our engineering jobs are the only thing that matters in the US, and if you happened to chose not to be an engineer, you are simply a failure.

But, no doubt, Paul Manboobs Johnson would love to eat some fried fish. Perhaps from The Vortex.

Dawggie

October 23rd, 2010
1:29 pm

POAD, to bring up drinking and arrests, simply shows you have ZERO football argument. Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Deuce Coupe

October 23rd, 2010
1:29 pm

. . . GEORGIA TECH makes it 4-0 against DABO.

Robot

October 23rd, 2010
1:32 pm

Tech fans, you amaze me how you LOVE to hate UGA more than you love GT. However, when you get the hate returned, you do not know how to handle it.

Let’s start by taking the “To Hell with Georgia” flag off that ugly car you parade around before your home games, whether UGA is there ro not, and then we will begin to discuss who is obsessed with hating who more.

south eastern chumps and drunks

October 23rd, 2010
1:33 pm

if you dogpoops do not have anything better to do and obvioously you do not, why don’t you go see about getting Quincy Carter out of jail

George P

October 23rd, 2010
1:36 pm

I was also trying to point out another typo ;)

5150 P.O.A.D.

October 23rd, 2010
1:39 pm

Dawgs don’t you need to be watching Arkiesaw and Ole Miss?

5150 P.O.A.D.

October 23rd, 2010
1:40 pm

Ole Miss just got a Field Goal. Boy getting that Masoli convict was a great choice.

Deuce Coupe

October 23rd, 2010
1:40 pm

The 3-4 Dawgs need to quit worrying about 5-2 Georgia Tech,
and focus on 4-3 Kentucky who beat the Gamecocks last week.

Biff Pocoroba

October 23rd, 2010
1:48 pm

The Coastal standings are Virginia Tech 3-0 and Virginia Tech 3-1? Where Georgia Tech?

5150 P.O.A.D.

October 23rd, 2010
1:53 pm

Really want to see either Tarrant or I Johnson have a Pick or a Pick6. Bostic needs to get some touches. I want to see the Spped guy for Tech make some big plays today. Hill catch and hold on to the damn ball. Hill made 2 big catches last week, but the Offensive pass Interference was a bad call.
Michgan St looking bad and Northwestern can really screw-up the early BCS poll today.

The Other Mark

October 23rd, 2010
1:55 pm

Do Tech fans watch Navy with an interest or no?

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AJC , Jeff Schultz. Jeff Schultz said: Blogging LIVE (a little early) from Tech-Clemson. #GT #Jackets http://bit.ly/bfNc9Z [...]

5150 P.O.A.D.

October 23rd, 2010
1:59 pm

Loving watch Navy beat on Notre Dame for sure. Navy has guys smaller than TECH and they are giving a much Bigger Notre Dame all they want. Tech has not used the pass well yet, but you can see how Navy uses it. Tech receivers have to make the catches when the pass is there.

Biff Pocoroba

October 23rd, 2010
1:59 pm

Would Duke and Vanderbilt play football if teams didn’t need a homecoming opponent? Tech’s loss to Kansas is as mysterious as Virginia Tech’s loss to James Madison. The Hokies might beat them by 30 today.

Systemic

October 23rd, 2010
1:59 pm

I’m most worried about those CU backs 8 and 23. Those guys are explosive. I’ve really got to hand it to the Clemson coaches they have had a real knack for having top backs for the last decade it seems.
Like alot of other posters have mentioned I also think it’s imperative Tech does better in the turnover dept. this game. If Tech can manage this I think we’ve got a chance.

Go Jackets!

A dawg fan

October 23rd, 2010
2:00 pm

I’m pullin fir Clempson

5150 P.O.A.D.

October 23rd, 2010
2:03 pm

A dawg fan
you should pull for cats all day and early evening too. Big Bad Bruce in his red leather panties is going to get that cat scratch fever on his rearend.
Navy with another pick.

Systemic

October 23rd, 2010
2:03 pm

Yeah the Midshipmen are looking sharp today. I enjoy watching Navy play; especially when they are beating up on the Irish. I think Ivin Jasper’s really calling a great game today. Really tore ND up running inside in the first half.

dawgfan

October 23rd, 2010
2:05 pm

5150 P.O.A.D, our goal is to win the SEC and play for national title. That’s right. You heard what I said. That’s the goal. Go ahead and scoff if you like. We simply do not care what a bunch of p1ssant Tech fans think about it. It would be one thing if you beat us with any consistency, but you don’t. You just sound like a bunch of bitter crybaby losers cracking jokes about a program that owns your sorry azzes like a rented mule.

Want to know the difference between us and you? We aim high. You aim for ACC titles. We want it all. You want whatever you can get. We lose with dignity. You lose and run your mouth about how it wasn’t the goal and there are bigger fish to fry. We lose and our coaches are on a hotseat. You lose and make excuses and start talking about calculus and how much money you make. We are winners. You are losers.

Have a WONDERFUL day.

collegeballfan

October 23rd, 2010
2:11 pm

“Let’s start by taking the “To Hell with Georgia” flag off that ugly car you parade around before your home games,…’

Actually the THWG line goes back to the song whose lyrics go back to 1908. I would have thought that after 102 years you dogs would be getting over it. But apparently not.

5150 P.O.A.D.

October 23rd, 2010
2:12 pm

dawgfan
You don’t make excuses? What the F have the blogs been loaded with after every UGA arrest? Excuses why people are being too hard on the boys. It was just a sppeding ticket. He just missed a court date no big deal. UGA is full of excuses. Maybe if you do win the SEC you will not hear the complaints about how BAD BAD BAD Bobo really is, but you have not ben winning a lot with Bobo calling the plays. Stafford and the Dawgs won despite of BOBO not because of him. I think Tech fans were mad enough to get rid of Chan and Wommack? The problem is you and the DAWGS do want it all and really believe you can win it until the season starts. Wait Til Next Year! isn’t that waht the write in Latin on the botton of all UGA diplomas?

GTBob

October 23rd, 2010
2:15 pm

lol, the trash talk is in full force already. Ive got a good feeling about today’s game. If we have less then two turnovers then I think we win.

Biff Pocoroba

October 23rd, 2010
2:15 pm

Yeah, dawgfan. Did you go out and get that book that just came out about the Belue to Lindsay Scott pass? You guys are still thinking about 1980 and wondering why you can’t win again. The only thing that Richt aims for is to have less arrests than the previous year because he knows that a team in a cow pasture will never win a national championship having to play every game at 12:30 on peachtree tv.

5150 P.O.A.D.

October 23rd, 2010
2:17 pm

The Tre lae(?) Jones kidd caught the pass for the only Notre Dame score so far. I still can’t believe he didn’t go to UGA or at leaset stay South. Notre Dame looks bad and I hope that kids from Gaineville, Ga is ready for a REAL Freaking WINTER.

5150 P.O.A.D.

October 23rd, 2010
2:25 pm

Texas, Michigan St, and West Virginia all in trouble late in the 3rd Qtrs. The Top 25 could be Ugly and the BCS Uglier after this weekend.

Jeff Schultz

October 23rd, 2010
2:28 pm

Jeff the– You’re out for language.

5150 P.O.A.D.

October 23rd, 2010
2:37 pm

You have to love the Title. Tech has 1 ACC loss and this came is against the other division and we are trying to stay alive. UGA has 3 SEC loses and they are just a 1/2 game behing USC. Please explain to me how Big and Bad the SEC east is exactally?

The Nature Boy

October 23rd, 2010
2:38 pm

been watching a little of the NW vs Michigan St game those teams are really bad and slow…..I have Navy in Sack Schultz..yes Im in the 16%….I think Tech beats Clemson by 7pts…and I think JS has a short hook today….

SOUTHGADAWG88

October 23rd, 2010
2:39 pm

Big and bad enough to have 7 teams that would win the ACC

macrotech

October 23rd, 2010
2:39 pm

dawgfan has been MOST faithful in his obsession with Tech. Never misses a chance to share his/her thoughts…it’s cool; we’re HUGE fans of Tech, too. You made me chuckle a little with your post, “we want it all”, in reference to ugas’ goals each year. I REALLY had to laugh when you stated that Techs’ goal was to ONLY win the ACC…of the two schools, who has the most National Championships? Who has a winning record going into this game? As you stated, “We aim high”….mission accomplished! You’re sounding like you’ve finished the bong all by yourself. Congrats!!!

Intellibird

October 23rd, 2010
2:39 pm

Clemson will win big. Ga Tech lost too many players last year, therefore I don’t expect they’ll win.

SOUTHGADAWG88

October 23rd, 2010
2:40 pm

Tenn would be a title contender in the ACC right now

cheap seats

October 23rd, 2010
2:41 pm

Thanks Jeff, for taking Jeff out!! Uncalled for!! Go Jackets!! Pass the Ball!!