Climb to safety

CLEMSON - Corey Crawford had his mitts on a would-be pick-6. Instead of a touchdown that would have given Clemson a two-score lead, Tevin Washington's pass fell harmlessly to the ground.

Spencer Shuey picked Crawford up on the next play when he smothered Orwin Smith in the West end zone for a safety.

"We have been preparing for that play all week," Shuey said. "And once I saw the kickoff team pin them down on the one, I knew they had a pretty good chance to run the ball.

"I just got a good read and got a good jump on the ball, and was able to make a play."

Crawford, who was assigned to take the quarterback on the play, said the safety was a group effort.

"We knew it was going to be some kind of options. We just keyed in on our keys. I had the quarterback. Then, Shuey, he made the big play on his part with the pitch, made a tackle in the end zone, got two points," Crawford said. "Everybody just did their part and we got the two points."

After allowing 292 yards and 21 points in the first half, the Clemson defense buckled down in the second, limiting Georgia Tech to 191 yards and 10 points. Seventy-five of the yards and seven of the points came on the Yellow Jackets' first drive of the half.

"Defensively, that's two weeks in a row that we've given up one touchdown in the second half," Dabo Swinney said. "We did a poor job in the first half of leveraging the ball, containing the ball. They did a good job of getting outside of us. I thought the staff made great adjustments at halftime.

"The second half was a thing of beauty. We got stops, we created turnovers." Crawford added, "In the second half, we kind of stepped it up. We just told ourselves they weren't going to score any more.

"If we can put four quarters [together] like we did in the second half, we'll be a pretty good defense."

The slow start…
"We knew we had a lot of snaps in the first half and we just told our guys -- I didn't think we were very fast. I thought we were very off, early in the game. I didn't think there was the passion that needed to be there. I just thought we weren't relentless enough. I was just very disappointed in the way we started this game, the first two drives." - Chad Morris

"They were running us down from the back-side. I think, [Jeremiah Attaochu], he had a lot of good tackles from the back-side pursuit." - Andre Ellington

"Honestly, I came out a little too hyped. I don't know what was going on. I missed some passes and some easy throws." - Tajh Boyd "We all expect Tajh to complete every pass he throws. I'm as guilty as anybody, but he's human. I think he showed that today, at times. He wasn't on. He wasn't on, early on. I needed to give him some passes that he could complete, just get some confidence builders. He found the groove later on." - Morris

"They did some things up front. They twisted their front, brought some pressure. I didn't think we were very physical, at times [in the run game]. We had to challenge our guys on that. I'm disappointed. You have to get ugly sometimes. That's OK. They responded. I was proud to see the way we were able to run the ball there at the end." - Morris

Wearing down the Jackets…
"Ninety-three plays. Our guys kept telling us that they're rotating a lot of defensive linemen in. I think that was a huge part of it." - Morris "We kind of picked up our tempo, a little bit. I think that shut them down a little bit." - Ellington

"We ran 93 plays to their 60. I know fast paced offenses, you run all the plays, I guess the defense has to play all these plays. They played 60. I think we're pretty effective with our philosophy and what we were trying to do today. I do think that it was a factor down the stretch." - Swinney

The home field advantage…
"Playing at home was great. The crowd was electric. That safety, when we got that safety, it was unbelievable." - Boyd

"I want to thank our fans. Our fans were awesome. The Valley was rocking in the fourth quarter. I'm telling you, it was like having 13 people out on the field. They were the difference in the game. I cannot thank them enough for the great job that they've done." - Swinney

Heading into the bye week…
"It definitely gives us some momentum…get some school work done, we have midterms coming up. And to catch our breath and get our bodies back right -- get a couple of good lifts in, so we can get our strength back, as well." - Josh Watson

"It's good to have an open date coming up. A lot of guys banged up, a lot of guys need to get well. Then, we've got to take advantage of a little extra time, to get ready for Virginia Tech. We're 5-1. We've had a good first half, but that's all it's been, a half." - Swinney

"This two weeks of practice, especially this week of practice, it's a huge week for us. We're not playing anybody, but this is an opportunity for us to refine what we do as an offense, refine what we do as a defense [and] special teams-wise -- just continue to make improvements." - Boyd

"Looking forward to a break -- we're going to be smart, try to get our team a little head-start, recharge, refocus, get them healthy, and get back going here for the second half." - Swinney

More from the head coach…
"There are not many people that would have survived this week of practice, for us, defensively. We absolutely challenged these guys, every play of every period in practice. It was a ton of attention to detail, a lot of sense of urgency. It was just a matter of…hold our breath, cut it loose and see if we can grow these guys up, let them bloody their noses a little bit. Our guys responded." - Swinney

"One of the things we talked about, going into this week, was we need to maximize our opportunities. It worked out well for us. We had to take the points that were presented. I wish we could have converted a few more of those touchdowns down [in the red zone]." - Swinney Top Stories