Back To The Future, Part V: The Good, The Bad, The Noteworthy from Georgia Tech (plus Boston College preview)

Sammy Watkins


CLEMSON – Payback was sweet, wasn’t it?

Georgia Tech will always give Clemson a tough game, but at least the Yellow Jackets didn’t ruin a good thing this time around.

Clemson garnered revenge with a 47-31 hardfought victory in the 2012 edition of this rivalry, a year after Georgia Tech ended the Tigers’ bid at an undefeated season.

Wanna watch the video? Here it is if you wanna try to follow along.

This is the fifth installment of our new biweekly feature on and the TigerTracks blog this summer. I’ll provide a glimpse to the past – evaluating throwback tape from each 2012 game – as well as one into the future, looking ahead to whichever opponent awaits correlating to that game.

This is a way to utilize what we’ve learned about the returning Tigers and how they’ll fit in with the 2013 team, which is why you won’t read a ton of elaboration on guys who are gone (Andre Ellington, Malliciah Goodman, etc.)

One way to differentiate you should know: Clemson players will be listed with abbreviated positions and listed in bold. Opposing players will be preceded by full positions and not in bold.

(So: QB Tajh Boyd … quarterback Tevin Washington.)

NO. 15 CLEMSON 47, GEORGIA TECH 31 ~ Oct. 6, 2012, ESPN

Memorial Stadium, Clemson, S.C.

The Gamer

The Good

I’ve run out of ways to tell you how good WR DeAndre Hopkins is at football.

That 2-point conversion trick play was really cool. While QB Tajh Boyd’s pretending to call out an audible, there goes a direct snap to RB Andre Ellington. Hopkins meanders into the backfield, and Boyd slips to the right, catching Hopkins’ flick over the shoulder. As Boyd leapt into the arms of RT Gifford Timothy, ESPN’s Mike Patrick yelped one of the great lines I’ve heard on a broadcast: “(OC) Chad Morris doesn’t get much sleep! That probably came to him on a Tuesday night about 3 o’clock in the morning.”

Safety dance: LB Spencer Shuey didn’t do anything special, except blow through a wide gap on the right side of the line and take down A-back Orwin Smith for essentially a checkmate safety. Credit SS Jonathan Meeks for sealing the edge by occupying A-Back and blocker Robert Godhigh.

Leading by nine trying to bleed the clock, Boyd twice dropped back on 3rd-and-9, surveyed the field, and scrambled for a first down. Read that sentence again, and marvel.

When Tech’s furiously trying to get the ball back in the closing minutes, RB Roderick McDowell is shot out of a cannon down the field, and even draws a horse collar by defensive back Jemea Thomas. The icing on the cake.

A rundown: DT DeShawn Williams dove through on 4th and 1 to stop an ill-timed sneak. That was a stupid decision by Georgia Tech (and color man Ed Cunningham ripped it properly), but credit Williams for making the Yellow Jackets not even close and turning it over on downs … 4th-and-1, early 2nd quarter, FB Darrell Smith makes a textbook block on linebacker Daniel Drummond, allowing Boyd to dive forward for the first. Big contribution by the veteran … three plays later, Smith takes out cornerback Louis Young to spring McDowell to the corner for a short score … CB Bashaud Breeland hangs nicely with receiver Anthony Autry down the sideline on a deep route misdirection. It was quarterback Tevin Washington’s first incompletion, 18 minutes into the game … terrific pursuit by DT Grady Jarrett chasing Washington into the short side of the field, allowing LB Tavaris Barnes to seal the edge. Punt. … McDowell was wiiiiiiide open in the flat, and Boyd slightly overthrew him. Rod actually showed some good hands and solid feet to haul it in considering he’s not a normal receiver before going out of bounds. Nice job.

The Bad

Georgia Tech is really good at blocking people. Misdirections bedazzled Clemson.

Here’s guessing DC Brett Venables tore some paint off the walls after tape of Godhigh’s 25-yard run on which he logged about 75 yards. Meeks and CB Xavier Brewer: just awful missed tackles. Then on the first play of the fourth quarter, Smith slips through LB Stephone Anthony and FS Rashard Hall.

Not to burst any bubbles, but Clemson ought to learn how to tackle sturdily and consistently before any talk of being a top-10 or top-15 defense is taken seriously.

Huge mistake by Boyd facing two men of pressure. Linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu hacked right through C Dalton Freeman, and Boyd’s flip to Ellington didn’t have nearly enough mustard on it, putting it right in the breadbox of defensive lineman Shawn Green.

A rundown: Attaochu destroyed gimpy Timothy around the edge, killing the first drive … Smith’s perforation is still on LB Travis Blanks’ body. Smith ran right over Blanks on a 38-yard pickup … McDowell runs straight into LT Brandon Thomas’ backside. It wasn’t a butt fumble, but still, better recognition is required … very un-Tajh, those two interceptions and three sacks. Made a 460-yard day from scrimmage seem ordinary.

The Noteworthy

Eight lead changes. Exciting stuff. Gotta love football.

You know the bar’s set high for this offense when the fans boo for taking a knee on their own 28-yard-line with 24 seconds left before halftime.

If WR Sammy Watkins was less than 100 percent from the virus, he didn’t show it when he dove for the goal line and got upended by 8 and 30. Falling short at the goal line. Great effort. However, Watkins only had six catches, none longer than nine yards.

Boy, it sure looked like linebacker Jabari Hunt-Days arrived early and interfered with TE Sam Cooper, didn’t it? Can’t really blame the quarterback for that interception. To make matters worse, left tackle Ray Beno clearly held DT Josh Watson on the very next play, which wasn’t called and allowed for a 32-yard toss to Smith. Refs didn’t help Clemson there, forcing the Tigers to take care of business themselves.

Enter Watson, blocking the field-goal attempt. Taking matters into his own hand.


3) Grady Jarrett, DT. He’s got good push in the middle, and makes plays in different ways. Five tackles, one for a loss, one fumble recovery and a quarterback hit.

2) Roderick McDowell, RB. Nine rushes, 56 yards (didn’t have any negative runs), a healthy 6.2 average and two scores, including the clincher. Great game for the reserve.

1) DeAndre Hopkins, WR. In the first half of his 2012 season, DeAndre Hopkins set a school record with 13 catches, set a school record with three touchdowns, set a school record with 197 yards (soon to be broken by Sammy Watkins, but still.) He set all those records, in three separate games. The word ‘ridiculous’ just seems like an understatement. And those ball skills; let’s just say the Colts, Jaguars and Titans should be abjectly terrified.


GAME 6: Boston College at Clemson, Oct. 12, 2013, Death Valley

Hall of Fame Day / Football Reunion Weekend


2012 record: 2-10, 1-7 ACC

2012 highlights: Maine and Maryland were left to be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. Oh, and Notre Dame “only” beat the Golden Eagles 21-6.

Head coach: Steve Addazio, first year … @BCCoachAddazio on the Twitter. He yells and calls people ‘dude’ a lot.

Returning starters (o/d): 15 (7/8)

BC-Clemson series: Clemson holds a slight 11-9-2 lead, and just 4-3-1 in Death Valley. Swinney has maintained the Tigers’ edge, though, going 4-1 in the series since his promotion. The Tigers will be going for just their second 3-game winning streak in the series – the first being from 1950-52. The Golden Eagles beat Clemson all three years with Matt Ryan at quarterback from 2005-07 (including twice in Clemson), which included overtime in 2005 and two OTs in 2006.

Notes: Chase Rettig is not Matt Ryan. But he’s been a good quarterback nonetheless, dealing with his fourth different offensive coordinator. Rettig needs 3,743 passing yards to become Boston College’s third QB with 10,000 yards through the air, joining Doug Flutie and Glenn Foley. He’d also surpass Ryan with 3,057 yards, and Rettig went for 3,065 last season … Rettig will get to hand off to top rusher Andre Williams and throw to top target Alex Amidon again, so there are some pieces there for BC to improve on its ghastly 2012 season … Addazio previously coached Temple to a 13-12 record in two years, following a championship-riddled run at Florida as an assistant.

One thought on “Back To The Future, Part V: The Good, The Bad, The Noteworthy from Georgia Tech (plus Boston College preview)

  1. Pingback: Back To The Future, Part V: The Good, The Bad, The Noteworthy from Georgia Tech (plus Boston College preview) « Sports Greatest Rivalries

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