The day after

CLEMSON - Coach Dabo Swinney's words echo from two hours northbound on I-85 from Atlanta.

"This loss won't beat us twice," he said, almost definantly.

Of course, if there was ever a loss for Clemson fans to find satisfaction in, then this can be it.

Players and coaches alike, the Tigers could have easily packed it in facing a 24-0 deficit in the second quarter.

Their rebuttal came in the form of a flash of lightning.

Twenty-six seconds later, C.J. Spiller is racing up the side line for 63 yards on the receiving end of a Kyle Parker touchdown pass.

Holding off two more second quarter drives by the Rambling Wreck, Clemson kept the score at a very manageable 24-7 heading into the second half.

"We got great leadership. We hit them in the mouth in the second half," Swinney said. "I couldn't be more proud of the guys for getting that done and handling it."

Spiller's score was the first of five consecutive scores by the Tigers. Taking a 27-24 lead with 11:33 to play, Clemson's 27-point run was answered by Georgia Tech's six consecutive points to close the game. The 24-point handicap was too much.

Thursday night's nationally televised game of white outs ended 30-27 in favor of the Yellow Jackets.

But there are plenty of good things for Swinney to speak of, including Richard Jackson's field goal that put Clemson ahead 27-24.

"There's no negative in (my) head or those player's heads," Swinney said.

Of the four goals for Clemson to accomplish in 2009, one includes an ACC Championship and Swinney adamantly noted that as Thursday night approached Friday morning.

"There hasn't been an ACC Champion undefeated, not one, not one," Swinney said, referring to the league's championship game era. He's also referring to the bigger picture.

"There hasn't been that. probably on one hand, the number of 13-0 or 14-0 undefeated teams in the last 15 years," Swinney said, "just a few but not many.

"Good teams have to go and win on the road and we'll get some more shots to get on the road and win."

In the meantime, Clemson has two more home games before trying to pick up the season's first road win. That will start by changing gears to next Saturday's noon game versus Boston College.

"Just like had we won the game, we'd move onto the next one, period," Swinney said. "This win wouldn't have made our season and this loss won't cost us our season. It isn't going to cost us twice."

Clemson coaches showed an obvious sign they'll adjust. From my view in the press box, they showed lots of patience too.

Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan had his way with the right side of Clemson's line with three first half sacks.

The adjustment before the end of the second quarter: Chris Hairston is moved to right tackle.

When Clemson scored its first touchdown with 10:13 left in the first half, the Tigers had 28 yards rushing on 13 carries. Down 30-27 with Georgia Tech kneeling on the final snap, the total carries jumped to 36 for a total of 125 yards. From 24-7 on, the Clemson carried twenty-three carries for 96 yards.

That's 4.2 yards per carry. That's pretty good. One might call sticking to the plan resilient. Patient works better.

Twenty-seven unanswered points as a response to 24 unanswered points, now that's resilient. Top Stories