Last week Clemson got its biggest win of the season against 15th ranked Notre Dame. Now they must turn their attention to a tricky Georgia Tech team. The Yellow Jackets have had an interesting season to this point. They have a couple of really good wins this season as well as a couple of bad losses. It has been hard to tell just how good Georgia Tech actually is this season. This week it will be up to Dabo Swinney and staff to figure it out.
Figuring Out the Yellow Jackets
With an overall 5-4 record nine games into the season, it is hard to say how good Georgia Tech truly is. They are 4-2 in ACC games right now putting them third in the conference standings. The Yellow Jackets pulled off a couple of great upsets against Miami and North Carolina earlier in the season. Also though, they had a bad loss to a group of five team, Bowling Green. Along with that they also lost by two scores to Boston College and by three scores to Ole Miss as well this season.
The offense and defense for the Yellow Jackets look very different. Offensively Georgia Tech is one of the best in the conference. They are second in total offense in the ACC, third in scoring offense, and up front have given up the least amount of sacks of any offensive line in the conference. The Yellow Jackets also have the second-best rushing offense in the ACC which is also a top 15 rushing attack in the FBS.
Defensively Georgia Tech is one of the worst in the country. They are bottom two in the FBS in rush defense and bottom five in total defense. They also do not get to the quarterback well enough being bottom three in the conference in sacks. The one thing this defense does do well is get interceptions. They are tied for the third-most interceptions in the ACC with 10.
Stick to What Works
This week the game plan for Clemson needs to be simple. Stick to what worked last week against Notre Dame. Not just because the Tigers looked the best they have all season last week, but it also attacks the Yellow Jackets weakest areas. Georgia Tech’s defense is not very good in the run game. So, Clemson’s offense should lean on the run once again. Phil Mafah had the best game of his career last Saturday. Allow him to build off of that. Also, get Will Shipley going again if he is indeed back on the field this week.
Defensively the Tigers have to come ready to make plays just like they did last week. The run defense does have to be better than it was in the first half of the Irish game. Besides that the Tigers were spectacular. If they can keep up the tackles for loss, and force turnovers they can have another great day. The one problem this Georgia Tech offense does have is giving up turnovers, especially through the air. Yellow Jacket quarterback Haynes King is very talented. He has 2,330 passing yards and 22 touchdowns on the season already. He also already has 10 interceptions though. Getting pressure on him and forcing him to throw it to the guys in orange and purple will be important for Clemson’s defense.
The Tigers took huge strides in pulling off the upset against Notre Dame last week. The one problem they still haven’t avoided is turning the ball over, but the offense did look more efficient last week. Establishing the run game early will be important again in this game and could once again make a huge difference. Winning this game would be another strong victory to keep building on the future of the Clemson football program.