Here’s a look at what might be the difference when No. 15 Clemson hosts Georgia Tech today:
Who will punt?
The first team to force a punt in today’s game might end up winning. In 2009, neither team punted in their meeting in the ACC championship game, and both teams enter today’s game with highly productive offensives paired with suspect defenses. The two defenses have combined to allow 2,200 yards over the last two weeks. Discipline has been a problem for the Clemson defense, which will be tested by the misdirection of the Georgia Tech flexbone offense.
Big plays, big problems
To slow the Georgia Tech offense, Clemson must do a better job of not allowing big plays. Clemson has allowed 12 rushing plays of 20 yards or more this season, which ranks 122nd in the Football Bowl Subdivision ahead of only Rice. The No. 15 Tigers have allowed 20 passing gains of 20 yards or more, ranking 105th.
Clemson’s biggest defensive challenge will be containing shifty Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington, who leads the nation in rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (11) and can also beat teams in the play-action passing game. The Clemson defensive front will be tested in the run game and corners Garry Peters and Bashaud Breeland will have to hold up on the edge against 6-4 receiver Jeff Greene and 6-2 receiver Ray Beno.
Georgia Tech has had Clemson’s number, winning four of the last five meetings, including a win to end Clemson’s perfect season last year. But Andre Ellington is healthy this year and the Clemson offense has reached another level of efficiency.
CLEMSON 45, GEORGIA TECH 31