ACC football took the national stage Thursday night, as the No. 8 Clemson Tigers easily dispatched of the visiting Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 55-31, keeping Clemson's slim ACC title hopes alive while dashing the Yellow Jackets' dreams for a Coastal Division title.
Tajh Boyd broke Phillip Rivers' all-time ACC record for career touchdown passes in the game, throwing four to bring his total up to 97 over his four years with the Tigers.
Joey Weaver at From the Rumble Seat said the game showed how far Georgia Tech has to go to meet their goals as a program and match the top tier of the ACC.
I want to be confident. I want to believe. I want every year to be 2009, where we're shocking the world and reeling off upset after upset. I want to go to a BCS game and make a splash and be the premier team in the ACC. But unfortunately that's not happening this year.
Maybe it happens next year. Maybe the year after that. Who knows. All I know is that we're looking at a list of problems right now that isn't short and features a varying level of control (injuries have plagued our defense in the worst way).
Until we can fix a most or all of those issues, we're going to keep getting more of the same from this program, and that's the grim reality of our situation right now.
Shakin the Southland said that once the Tigers took an early lead, Georgia Tech's gameplan was simply unable to recover.
I'm very happy with the way Clemson's DLine dominated the Tech front for much of this game. We've always said two things that you must do to stop the option: stop the dive and slam the QB. In the 1st half we did just that, and because of the lead they got away from the Veer and Counter and instead decided to throw the ball, which makes their problem much worse. The scheme we played looked exactly the same as last season, but we were more aggressive in forcing the pitch and in the alley.
Clemson got on the board first, as Chandler Catanzaro kicked two field goals in the first quarter to give them a 6-0 lead. Boyd got to work early in the second quarter, finding Sammy Watkins and Mike Williams for touchdown throws to increase the lead to 20-0.
Georgia Tech got on the board at that point on David Sims's one-yard touchdown run, but Clemson responded less than a minute later on Boyd's 76-yard touchdown pass to Martavis Bryant. The Yellow Jackets kicked a field goal before the half was over, making it 27-10 at the break.
The Yellow Jackets appeared to get back into the game early in the third quarter, opening the period on Robert Godhigh's 65-yard run to cut the deficit to ten, but Boyd responded by running for a touchdown and throwing a 44-yard score to Watkins to make it 41-17. Godhigh ran for another score later in the period, but the damage had already been done.
Clemson scored two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter -- both on the ground -- while the Yellow Jackets scored one in the final minutes to make it 55-31.