Football can be a fickle sport. An odd bounce or a difference of inches in an alignment can drastically affect the outcome of a game. The Jackets have certainly learned that lesson this season. Two weeks ago they were undefeated and approaching the top 10. Two losses and an absence from the current top 25 have humbled the Jackets. Now, the Jackets have to face their toughest opponent of the season in the Clemson Tigers. The Jackets can erase all that heartache of the last two weeks with a huge win on national television against the Top 10 Tigers.
The Clemson offense is rolling. Tahj Boyd has shaken off any of the intermittent struggles he had last year and has been the catalyst for a high-powered scoring machine. Sammy Watkins may not have the ball in his hands every play but the Tech secondary will know where he is on every single play. Watkins is putting up astronomical numbers that could have him as a Heisman front-runner if he were not a freshman. The fact that he is a freshman has to have Clemson opponents quite nervous about his future. Running Back Andre Ellington has been hurt but Head Coach Dabo Swinney said he should to be good to go for Saturday. Ellington has great speed and could bust the big one at any moment. We'll see how much his injury hampers his performance on Saturday.
Within ACC play the Jackets actually boast one of the conference's best defenses at 1st in total defense and 3rd in scoring defense. Since there's not many garbage scores against ACC opposition this bodes well for Tech fans. The Jackets did a great job against Lamar Miller last week and will need to duplicate that effort this week. Passing defense has been quite good so far but will face an incredibly tough assignment on Saturday night.
The flip side of that coin is that the Jackets have been underwhelming on offense in ACC play. Tevin Washington appears to be losing confidence each week. Of course, this falls on everyone else as well as blocking has been subpar and is leading to a lot of negative plays. It's small things but those things are leading to an absence of big plays. The passing game has been virtually nonexistent and the run game has been quite timid. With a highly rated team coming into town Tech fans are hoping that the Jackets have pulled themselves together this week and displays a solid performance on the four letter network this Saturday.
Sports can be a funny thing, because anything can happen from game to game. Clemson is sitting on all the momentum and appears to be breaking their trend of struggling down the stretch, but Saturday could change all of that. The Jackets certainly have the pieces to pull an upset, but it'll be a tall task. A sold out stadium, national television exposure, and a return to the friendly confines of Bobby Dodd Stadium could help right the ship in monumental fashion.
Who: Clemson Tigers (HC Dabo Swinnery) vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (HC Paul Johnson)
When: Saturday October 29th, 2011 @ 8:00 pm (ABC/ESPN)
Where: Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field in Atlanta, GA
- The game is the first sell out since the 2009 game against Georgia.
- Clemson has not won in Bobby Dodd Stadium since 2003.
- The last time GT played Clemson ranked this highly they upset the Tigers 31-28.