Tigers Romp Louisiana Tech in Rematch
Aaron Hunt made a career-high four field goals and Kevin Youngblood caught a career-best 10 passes for 89 yards as the Clemson Tigers beat the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 33-13 Saturday afternoon.
Yusef Kelly added 97 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns on 25 carries to lead the way on the ground for the Tigers.
With Clemson leading Louisiana Tech by 13 points midway through the 4th quarter, freshman cornerback Justin Miller made the biggest play of the afternoon by intercepting a Luke McCown pass in the endzone, preserving the Tigers' lead.
On the next drive, defensive end Maurice Fountain picked off McCown for the third time on the afternoon and raced down the left sideline to the Bulldogs' 5-yard line. Yusef Kelly would then score from 2-yards out to provide the final margin.
Heisman trophy candidate Luke McCown didn't have the type of day he hoped for, thanks in part to a Clemson defense that seemed to keep him on his heels all day. The junior quarterback completed 26-of-44 passes for 213 yards and no touchdowns, just one week after throwing for 450 yards and 3 scores.
"I see some great-looking athletes out there, I know that," Tech head coach Jack Bicknell said in reference to the Tigers. "I think those guys can run, they are big and strong, so I would say probably they were better defensively this year than last."
Clemson would open the scoring in the 1st quarter when Yusef Kelly scored on a 1 yard run to put the Tigers up 7-0 with 10:51 left. Tech would then add two field goals by Josh Scobee, one tying his career best of 51 yards.
The Tigers would get a 47-yard field goal from Aaron Hunt in the 2nd quarter after a blocked punt by reserve defensive back Ronny Delusme.
Kelly would then rumble into the endzone again, this time from 6-yards out, to give the Tigers a 17-6 lead. "I'm happy with the we had out there performance today, but we know a lot to improve on to get better," Kelly would say afterwards.
Clemson would take a 4-point lead into the locker room after Tech closed out the first half scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run by Joe Smith. It would be the last time the Bulldogs would score in the game.
The Tigers defense was stifling in the 2nd half, as Clemson's defensie line kept consistent pressure on Luke McCown all afternoon long.
"For the most part, we kept them out of the end zone and that's what a defense is supposed to do. The kids played hard and we beat a good team. I thought, except for one series, we played pretty well," said defensive coordinator John Lovett.
The Tigers would finish off the scoring with 3 Aaron Hunt field goals from 22, 38, and 34 yards respectively, and Kelly's final scamper into the endzone after Mo Fountain's long interception return.
Afterwards, Tommy Bowden seemed pleased with the Tigers' performance, with the exception of their inability to score touchdowns in the redzone.
"The thing that disappointed me on offense was we had to settle for field goals. We had some missed assignments and Willie missed a couple of receivers. We've got to fine tune it, especially down there. We can't settle for field goals," said Bowden.
Offensively, Willie Simmons finished the game by completing 25-of-43 passes for 242 yards. On defense, John Leake led the way with 12 total tackles and Brian Mance, Mo Fountain, and Justin Miller eached finished with an interception.
Nick Eason recorded the Tigers' only sack of the afternoon on McCown, but All-American candidate defensive tackle Donnell Washington had a tackle for loss on Tech running back Joe Smith.
The Tigers will now face ACC rival Georgia Tech in a pivotal game this Saturday at 12:00 PM on ESPN-2 in Death Valley.
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