You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but what you can do is learn from those old tricks. That’s what Georgia Tech has to do on Saturday to beat Clemson.
One of the reasons that Georgia Tech has a top-rated strength of schedule every season is the simple fact that they play a crossover game with the Clemson Tigers. The history of this rivalry game is long and rich for the Jackets. It saw the emergence of the phenom that was Calvin Johnson and had one of the best trick plays in Georgia Tech history with a fake field goal TD reception for Demaryius Thomas in 2008.
Lately, however, the game has become a little more one-sided in favor of the Tigers over the past few seasons. Few teams can say they have had as great a stretch in the last three years as Clemson (Alabama anyone?), and with that success has come exciting games between the Jackets and Tigers.
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Clemson vs Georgia Tech has produced more than a few stellar games over the past decade. The most thrilling of those games came in 2011 when Clemson brought their national title hopes to Bobby Dodd Stadium and were beaten by Tevin Washington and the Yellow Jackets 31-17. Turnovers and exceptional offensive line play were the winners that night in Atlanta with Clemson coughing up the ball an astounding 4 times. The QB follow play was the dagger of the offense as the line opened hole after hole for Washington to run through.
The question coming into this Saturday for the Yellow Jackets will be if they can replicate that kind of success again. In 2011 the Jackets gouged the Tigers on the ground, rushing for 383 yards while Clemson settled for 95. The Jackets will need to replicate those numbers and more if they hope to pull off the upset bid.
Let us not kid ourselves, this will be a major challenge for the Jackets this weekend but I want to look at one more thing from the 2011 game that stands out. At that point in the year, many people had written off the Jackets in the game and did not believe the Jackets had a chance at all to win. In his postgame press conference, in his pure Coach Johnson manner, he was quoted saying “Let us finish the season before you do our tombstone.” A strong showing on Saturday could put a hold on the hammer and chisel, for now.