The ACC's Most Competitive Series
The Clemson vs. Georgia Tech series
has been the most competitive series in the
ACC over the last 11 years. Nine of the last 11
games have been decided by five points or less,
including a six-game streak between 1996-01 in
which every game was decided by exactly three
points. That might be a first in college football
history. We aren't talking by three points or less,
but exactly three points.
Clemson was victorious last year
behind the running of James Davis and C.J.
Spiller. The duo combined for 332 yards rushing
and four touchdowns, three rushing, in the 31-7
Georgia Tech was victorious in 2005
in the lowest scoring game in the series in 14
years when Tech won 10-9 in Atlanta. That was
Clemson's only loss over the last seven games
of the 2005 season. Clemson cut the margin to
10-9 on Jad Dean's third field goal of the game
with 5:36 left, but the Tigers were hurt by a holding
penalty on their last possession.
Georgia Tech has a 45-24-2 lead in
the series with Clemson dating to a 23-0 Tiger
win in Augusta, GA in 1898, just the 11th game
in Clemson football history. In fact, Clemson
won the first four games of the series, including
games in 1902 and 1903 when John Heisman
was at the helm. Clemson defeated Georgia
Tech in Atlanta 73-0 in 1903 with Heisman as
Here are some other series highlights:
•Clemson won three in a row from
2001-03, including the 2003 game in Atlanta by a
39-3 score. That was Clemson's largest margin
of victory in the series since a 73-0 Tiger win in
Atlanta in 1903 when Heisman was the Clemson
coach and is the only game in the series since
1995 that has not been decided by five points or
•The Tigers have an 9-5 advantage
in games at Clemson, but Georgia Tech leads
40-13-2 in games played in Atlanta. Every
game between the two teams between 1907-74
era was held in Atlanta. Clemson's only wins
in those 36 meetings came in 1907, 1936, 1945
and 1969. The 1969 victory was Frank Howard's
final season as head coach. Howard won just
twice in his career in Atlanta.
•The first time Georgia Tech played in
Clemson's stadium was 1974, a 21-17 Clemson
victory. Clemson won that game on a three-
yard touchdown pass from current Virginia Tech
offensive coordinator Mike O'Cain to All-America
tight end Bennie Cunningham with 8:26 left.
•Clemson has a 13-11 advantage in
the series, regardless of site, since Tech joined
the ACC in 1983. Tech actually joined for the
1979-80 academic year, but did not compete for
the football championships, nor play Clemson as
an ACC game, until 1983.
• Since Tommy Bowden has been
the head coach, the Clemson vs. Georgia Tech
games have been high scoring with the exception
of the 2005 game. The point total for the
eight games is 244-187 in favor of the Tigers,
giving Clemson a 30.5-23.4 average victory
during the time. But, in the won-loss column the
teams are tied 4-4.
•Woodrow Dantzler had one of the
best all-around games of his career with 164
yards rushing and 254 yards passing in the
Clemson victory in 2001. He threw for two
scores and ran for two, including a 38-yard "Hail
Mary Run" on the last play of the first half to cut
Tech's lead to 19-14 at intermission. His 63-yard
scoring pass to J.J. McKelvey with 1:58 left put
Clemson ahead by three, but Tech tied the count
with a 20-yard field goal with just six seconds
left. Dantzler's "walk-off" six-yard touchdown
in overtime gave Clemson the win.
•Clemson has had just two games
in its history in which both teams scored in the
40s. They have both taken place at Georgia
Tech under Bowden. Tech won 45-42 in 1999
and Clemson won 47-44 in overtime in 2001 in
•One of the most unusual statistical
occurrences in Clemson history took place during
Clemson's 33-12 victory over Georgia Tech
in 1987 at Clemson. Clemson entered the game
with a streak of 999 consecutive combined punt
returns and kickoff returns without a touchdown
dating to 1970. Then, on the 1000th return, Donnell
Woolford raced 78 yards with a punt return
for a touchdown. Then, later in the game Joe
Henderson returned a kickoff return 95 yards for
a touchdown. It is the only game in Clemson
history that the Tigers have returned a punt
return for a touchdown and a kickoff return for a
Last Year vs. Georgia Tech
Clemson 31, Georgia Tech 7
In front of a nationally-televised audience
on ESPN, #12 Clemson ran away from #13 Georgia
Tech 31-7 in front of an overflow Homecoming
crowd at Memorial Stadium on October 21. It was
the first matchup of top-15 teams in Death Valley
Clemson's running attack proved why
it was one of the best in the nation, as it totaled
321 yards against a team that entered the game
seventh in the nation against the run. It took only
38 carries to amass the 321 rushing yards.
Atlanta native James Davis rushed
for 216 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns
against his hometown team, while C.J. Spiller
added 116 yards on 16 carries and a score. It was
the first time in history that Clemson had a 200-yard
rusher and 100-yard rusher in the same game.
Playing through a "banged-up" shoulder,
Davis had four rushes of 20 yards or more, including
two rushes of over 50 yards. Spiller also had a
50-yard touchdown run and a 50-yard touchdown
catch, giving Clemson four offensive plays of 50
yards or more. Spiller became the first player in
Clemson history to score on a run and pass of at
least 50 yards in the same game.
Will Proctor was 7-16 passing for 105
yards and a touchdown, giving Clemson 426 yards
of total offense on only 54 plays (7.9 yards per
Meanwhile, Clemson's defense swarmed
Georgia Tech all night, allowing just 205 yards of
total offense. For what would be the only time in
his career, first round draft choice junior Calvin
Johnson was held without a catch. Reggie Ball
was limited to 12-25 for 117 yards.
Clemson's defense also allowed only
one carry of 10 yards or more (14-yard scramble
by Ball), and one pass play over 12 yards, which
was a 35-yard touchdown catch that bounced off
a Tiger defender.
After the Tigers went through warmups
in orange jerseys and purple pants, they changed
jerseys in the locker room and ran down the Hill in
all purple. It was the first time in the modern era
that Clemson wore all purple uniforms.
The Yellow Jackets put together a long
drive of their own, but came away empty. After
driving 55 yards, Travis Bell hooked a 36-yard field
goal wide-left. Both teams traded punts on the next
Davis ran 53 yards on the first play of
the second quarter to the Georgia Tech 18. After
four more rushes by the sophomore, he scored
from two yards out when he dodged a defender
Neither team threatened again, leaving
the Tigers ahead 7-0 at halftime. It marked the first
time since 1987 that Clemson held Georgia Tech
scoreless in the first half.
After back-to-back, negative-yardage
plays by Ball early in the third quarter, Georgia
Tech punted. A kick-catch interference penalty
gave the Tigers the ball at the Yellow Jacket 42.
Davis rushed 30 yards on the next play, but the
drive stalled. Jad Dean made a 25-yard field goal
to put Clemson up 10-0.
After both teams traded punts, Davis
carried 22 yards to midfield on the first play of the
ensuing drive. Spiller then dashed 50 yards up
the middle for a touchdown to put Clemson ahead
17-0 with 0:58 left in the third quarter.
Georgia Tech responded with an eight-
play, 73-yard drive to cut the Tiger lead to 10 points.
After converting two third downs, James Johnson
caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Ball after
the ball deflected off Crezdon Butler.
But Clemson answered and upped its
lead back to 17 points thanks to a highlight-reel
play. On third-and-four, Spiller took a swing pass
on the right side, eluded two Yellow Jackets, and
sprinted 50 yards for a touchdown. He became the
first Tiger in history to have a 50-yard touchdown
run and 50-yard touchdown catch in the same
Gaines Adams and company made sure
Georgia Tech got no closer, as he sacked Ball on
third-and-five on the next drive to force a punt.
It was Adams' sixth-straight game with a sack,
establishing a Tiger record.
Davis carried on all four plays of the ensuing
drive. The second carry was a 54-yard jaunt
to the Georgia Tech five. Two plays later, he ran
five yards for a touchdown, giving the Tigers a 31-7
lead with 7:29 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Battle of Kickers with Ties to Clemson Soccer
While there will be a lot of interesting
match-ups in the Clemson vs. Georgia Tech
game on Saturday, the competition between the
place kickers will certainly be of note. Georgia
Tech's Travis Bell, a senior from Roswell, Ga,
leads the ACC in kick scoring with 11.0 points
per game. Clemson's Mark Buchholz, a junior
from Alpharetta, GA, is second in the league
with 9.2 points per game.
Bell has the experience edge as he is
a red-shirt senior who is a perfect 115-115 on extra
points in his career. Buchholz hasn't missed
an extra point either and is 19-19 on PATS, all
coming this year. Buchholz is 6-8 on field goals
and Bell is 10-11.
What is interesting is that they both
have ties to Clemson soccer. Buchholz is in his
fourth year as a starter on the Clemson team
this year and will play in a match against Duke
at Clemson on Friday night. That match will
be televised by the Fox Soccer Channel, so he
will play in two televised events in two different
sports within 24 hours.
He will then be transported to Atlanta
Friday night to join the Clemson football team for
its 3:30 PM game on Saturday.
Bell was an outstanding soccer player
in high school and actually served as a goal
keeper for Clemson men's soccer coach Trevor
Adair's Olympic Development team when Bell
was in high school. He committed to come to
Clemson and play for Adair at one point, but
changed his mind and decided to walk on to the
Georgia Tech football team.
Tigers From Georgia
Clemson has 12 players on its roster
from the state of Georgia. That includes three
players from the city of Atlanta, the home of
Georgia Tech. James Davis, Ray Ray McElrathbey
and Kwam Williams all list Atlanta as their
hometown. Davis is the starting running back,
while McElrathbey and Williams are reserves.
McElrathbey is out for the year with a torn ACL.
Clemson's starting quarterback Cullen
Harper is from the Georgia, as he is a native of
Alpharetta. He and starting place kicker Mark
Buchholz list Alpharetta as their home, but they
went to different high schools. Buchholz went to
Chattahoochee, the same school that produced
Aaron Kelly is another Clemson starter from Georgia. He is a native of Marietta and Walton, SC. He needs just
one catch to reach 100 for his career. He has at least one catch in 28
of his 29 career games, so chances are he will reach that milestone this
weekend in the ACC stadium closest to his home.
Linebacker Antonio Clay had 13 tackles against Georgia Tech
last year and was named ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week.
Davis Returns to Atlanta
James Davis is certainly looking forward to playing Georgia Tech
in Atlanta. The Clemson junior grew up just blocks from Grant Field and
could hear the roar of the crowd from his home.
This will be his second trip to Atlanta with the Tiger football team.
His first trip in 2005 as a freshman was discouraging. After gaining 143
yards against NC State that year, he suffered a broken wrist. He could
play just one snap and had just one carry at Tech that year due to the
injury. Clemson lost the game 10-9.
Last year, Davis played perhaps his best game against Tech in
a contest at Clemson. He gained 216 yards and scored two touchdowns
in the 31-7 Tiger victory. Davis is coming off an 166 yard performance
against NC State, the second highest rushing game of his career.
Tigers Dominating Points off Turnover Stat under Current Coordinators
One area that has been strong for Clemson since coordinators
Rob Spence and Vic Koenning came to Tommy Bowden's staff in 2005
has been points off turnover. The Clemson offense has done a great job in
terms of scoring after turnovers and the Tiger defense has done a great job
of limiting scoring after the offense commits a miscue.
In 2006, Clemson had a 113-51 advantage in that statistic and
was outscored in that area in just three of the 13 games.
In 2005, Clemson had a 55-13 advantage in that statistic and
was outscored in that area just once all year, by a 3-0 count in Clemson's
13-9 win at South Carolina.
So far this year Clemson has a 28-0 advantage in that area and
obviously has not been outscored in any game.
Over the last three years, Clemson has a 196-64 advantage in
points off turnovers and has been outscored in that area in just four of the
last 29 games.
Tigers Open 4-0, 2-0 in ACC
Clemson has jumped out to a 4-0 start, one of 23 teams that are
still undefeated entering this weekend's play. Clemson and Boston College
are the only ACC teams still undefeated. The 4-0 undefeated teams
remaining are Clemson, West Virginia, Oregon, Oklahoma, LSU, Florida,
Boston College, Hawaii, Kentucky, Kansas, California, Wisconsin, Purdue,
Michigan State, Ohio State, Missouri, Texas, Cincinnati, Arizona State,
and UCONN. The teams that are 3-0 include Southern California, Rutgers, and South Florida.
This is the first time Clemson has been 4-0 to start a season
since 2000 when Clemson started 8-0, and it is just the second 4-0 start for
the program since 1989. This is Clemson's second 4-0 start under Tommy
Bowden. Overall it is the 12th season in the history of the program that
Clemson has opened 4-0, just the fifth since 1958.
Clemson's 4-0 starts since 1958 took place in 1981 (when Clemson
won all 12 games on the way to the National Championship, 1987
when the Tigers started 6-0, 1989 when Danny Ford's last team started
4-0 and 2000, Tommy Bowden's second Clemson team. It is interesting to
note by the chart below that all four Clemson teams that have started 4-0
since 1958 have finished the season in the top 20 of the final polls.
Clemson will have an opportunity to reach 5-0 if it can win at
Georgia Tech on September 29. Clemson has been 5-0 just nine previous
seasons, most recently in 2000. Clemson's other 5-0 starts since 1958
have come in 1981, 1987, and 2000.
Clemson's most recent 4-0 start was the 8-0 start in 2000 and
it was ended by Georgia Tech, a 31-28 Yellow Jacket victory in 2000 at
Clemson is 2-0 in the ACC, just the third time since 1988 that
has been the case. This is the first time Clemson has started 2-0 in the
league since 2000 when it jumped out to a 6-0 league mark. Clemson
was also 2-0 in the ACC in Tommy Bowden's first year, 1999. But, prior to
that you have to go back to the 1988 season to find the last time Clemson
opened at least 2-0 in the ACC.
Tigers Start Three Seniors Across Offensive Line
Clemson starts three seniors across the offensive line, but it
doesn't mean it is an experienced offensive line. Clemson returned just
one starter from last year, All-ACC tackle Barry Richardson. Sophomore
starters Thomas Austin and Barry Humphries had played just 13 games
and 201 combined snaps as freshmen prior to this year.
Richardson is the most experienced and has started each of the
last 36 games. He has played 40 games overall, never missing a game
since the first game his freshman year in 2004. He is now a veteran of
2,125 career plays and has 161 career knockdown blocks. He graded a
season best 90 percent in the win over NC State, helping Clemson to 608
yards of total offense and 340 yards rushing.
Chris McDuffie leads the team in knockdowns this year from his
guard position with 41.5, including a team season best 15 against Furman.
He added 13.5 in the win over NC State and now has 102.5 for his career.
Christian Capote was Clemson's nominee for ACC Offensive
lineman of the week for the win over NC State. He graded 91 percent, and
had 11 knockdowns in 68 snaps.
Clemson's five starting offensive linemen have 56 career starts
between them, 36 by Richardson.
Clemson - Georgia Tech Game Notes
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