Labor Day featured an ACC Clash between the No. 4 Clemson Tigers and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. While Georgia Tech came within striking distance to take the lead against the Tigers, a consistent lack of discipline resulted in a 41-10 blowout loss.
While the Yellow Jackets have five days to get ready to host Western Carolina on Saturday, they have a lot to clean up from Monday night’s performance. Here are the takeaways:
- Cut down on the penalties and improve the Special Teams
The biggest takeaway from this game was the penalties and miscues by the Yellow Jackets offense and special teams. Ten penalties for 86 yards and two blocked punts changed the direction of the game for the Yellow Jackets.
“Ten penalties and two blocked punts even when you’re playing a caliber team like that, that’s not a recipe to win the game,” said Yellow Jacket head coach Geoff Collins. Collins also mentioned how the team worked on crowd noise and other factors so the offensive line would be ready to play and not have these miscues.
Both blocked punts resulted in touchdowns for the Tigers. After defense dominated the first quarter, the blocked punt set the Tigers up at the Yellow Jackets five resulting in a touchdown. The second block resulted in another Tigers touchdown on offense. By that point, the game was out of reach at 34-10. It is hard to win games with self-inflicted mistakes.
- Currently, Georgia Tech’s defense is their strength
Before the game got away from the Yellow Jackets, their defense kept them in the game, especially in the first half. They finished the game with three sacks on Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei while allowing 119 yards on the ground. Even when the score was 14-10 in the third quarter, the defense caught a tough break losing linebacker Charlie Thomas on the ensuing defensive drive due to a targeting penalty. They still managed to hold Clemson to three points. Great defensive play like this going forward this season will help put Georgia Tech in winning situations.
- Clemson is a playoff team
While this may be a debate for some observers, this game showed why the Tigers can make a run for the College Football Playoff. Uiagalelei started off slow but found his groove as the game went on. He finished 19-32, 210 yards and two total touchdowns (one rushing). The two blocked punts by special teams changed the game tremendously for the Tigers and the offense capitalized.. Championship teams make plays when needed and capitalize off of opponents weaknesses, the Tigers did that against the Yellow Jackets.