Written by Brian Pohl
Atlanta, GA- Early season struggles continue for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets as they looked outmatched by the third-ranked Clemson Tigers on their way to a 49-21 loss.
It was a disappointing performance by the Yellow Jackets, who have now lost three straight games and are 0-2 in ACC play to start the season.
Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson talked about the loss and his team’s performance saying, “We got our tails kicked in.” He continued, “We got outplayed, outcoached, and we got beat by a really good team.”
The glaring mismatch of the game was the Jackets triple-option offense against a Clemson defense that is highlighted by a defensive line featuring four potential first round picks in the upcoming NFL draft.
Limiting the Georgia Tech offense to just 203-yards for the game, the Clemson defense was constantly in the backfield and plugging every hole, and the Yellow Jackets were unable to find the success in the passing game that they needed to be successful.
Senior quarterback TaQuon Marshall continued his inconsistent play, rushing 25 times for 47-yards and a touchdown, and completing just one of his six passes for 29-yards. Marshall has been unable to take the next step most thought he would with his second year starting under center for the Jackets, and if GT is going to get back to winning they need their senior leader to quickly get it going.
Without leading rusher KirVonte Benson, who is now out for the year after suffering a knee injury last week against Pittsburgh, redshirt freshman Jordan Mason would receive most of the snaps at the b-back position for the Jackets. Like the rest of the offense, however, Mason was kept in check, rushing three times for 28-yards. The freshman showed promise on a few plays but lacked the consistency that is expected from such a young player receiving snaps.
Also struggling was the Georgia Tech defense, who allowed the Tigers to go for over 400-yards of total offense. Clemson features two quarterbacks with senior Kelly Bryant and true freshman Trevor Lawrence, and both were given ample playing time against the Jackets.
The freshman received the bulk of the playing time and shined, completing 13 of his 18 passes for 176-yards and four touchdown passes. We may begin to see a separation between the two if one begins to outplay the other and if looks like Lawrence is beginning to do just that.
Also shining for the Tigers was running back Travis Etienne, who rushed 11 times for 122 yards and a touchdown, while receiving a touchdown pass. Clemson as a whole rushed for 245-yards and dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
This was obviously a disappointing showing for Georgia Tech against one of the elite programs in college football today. It has been a tough schedule for the Yellow Jackets, and they have been unable to overcome it early. With the bulk of their ACC schedule still in front of them, they can still compete for a Coastal Division title, but to do so they will have to rebound quickly.
Georgia Tech has a “get right” game next week in Bowling Green and will look to use this opportunity to regroup before traveling to Louisville in two weeks to resume ACC play.
(Photo Credit: Adrian Beecher / The SkyBoat)