A bye week made all the difference in the world for quarterback Kelly Bryant and Clemson, as the No. 7 ranked team looked a lot more like the undefeated one from a few weeks ago to capture a rain-soaked 24-10 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday night.
Bryant started in the Tigers loss to Syracuse but was injured shortly before halftime in that game to cause some doubt as to his status for a pivotal clash against the Yellow Jackets at home this week. As it turns out, all that extra rest was just what the doctor ordered for the signal-caller as he threw for 207 yards and a pair of touchdowns while rushing for 67 yards in an all-around impressive effort.
It wasn’t all about the quarterback on offense either, as 12 different players caught a pass and tailback Travis Etienne ran for 43 yards and a score as well. The Tigers also looked much more like their old self on defense too, as the front seven dominated the line of scrimmage and recorded four sacks and 11 tackles for loss.
That kind of performance was one reason why it was a rough game for Georgia Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall and the team’s option offense. They fumbled three times (losing one) and threw for only 32 yards on the night with just three completions. KirVonte Benson did mange to rush for 129 yards but most of them came off of a 65-yarder that helped lead to a field goal in the first quarter.
Amazingly, the Yellow Jackets had eight three-and-outs in an effort that seemed to frustrate coach Paul Johnson at every turn.
Given events elsewhere in a crazy day of college football, it’s probably safe to assume that the performance in sub-par conditions will do plenty to convince the Playoff committee that the loss to Syracuse was more of a blip in the radar than it was indicative of Clemson’s ability. Dabo Swinney’s crew looked again like the ACC favorite and likely semifinalist and the encouraging outing will likely give the team some much-needed momentum heading into a big ACC clash at N.C. State that almost certainly determine the division representative in Charlotte later this year.