Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Clemson's Jalen Williams puts pressure on South Carolina State quarterback Caleb York during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
Associated Press

Clemson’s Jalen Williams ‘to miss a few weeks’ with sprained MCL

Leave a comment

Clemson’s win over Georgia Tech Thursday night came at a bit of a cost for the Tigers, especially with Lamar Jackson and Louisville on deck.

On Tech’s first offensive possession of the game, Jalen Williams sustained a knee injury as he was chasing quarterback Justin Thomas out of bounds on a third-down play.  After being helped off the field and, ultimately, into the locker room, the linebacker/nickel cornerback was seen walking on crutches.  He didn’t return to the game.

Afterwards, the Charleston Post & Courier reported, head coach Dabo Swinney revealed that Williams had been diagnosed with a sprained MCL and is expected “to miss a few weeks.” An MRI is expected to be performed Friday to determine a more definitive timeline for a return.

Williams, a three-star 2014 recruit officially listed as the Tigers’ backup strongside linebacker, played in the first four games this season, starting one of those contests.  Entering the Tech game, he was tied for fifth on the team with 13 tackles.

As a redshirt freshman last season, Williams played in all 15 games.

Clemson’s dominant defensive effort helps secure win against Georgia Tech

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Christian Wilkins #42 of the Clemson Tigers sacks Justin Thomas #5 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium on September 22, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

All week Clemson has heard about how the team has lost five straight at Georgia Tech and haven’t won in Atlanta against the Yellow Jackets since 2003. If they paid close attention to some media members, they probably heard that Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney has never beaten his opposite number Paul Johnson there either.

Consider the message received — and corrected — by Clemson after a Thursday night victory over Georgia Tech that was not as close as the 26-7 final score indicated.

The Tigers gave the 1985 Chicago Bears a run for their money in the first half, limiting Tech’s triple option to just 22 total yards before heading to the locker room and kept things up in the second half by holding Georgia Tech under 100 yards rushing for the game. Freshman defensive tackle Christian Wilkins was disruptive from the first snap (a huge tackle for loss) and forced just about everything on the ground outside to his teammates. Linebacker Dorian O’Daniel was even more impressive, flying all over the field on his way to a nine tackle and one sack night.

About the only positive on the night for the Yellow Jackets offense was freshman running back Dedrick Mills getting going for 75 yards and a score.

As impressive as Clemson’s defense was, the team’s offense wasn’t too far behind. Quarterback Deshuan Watson returned to his 2015 form in the first half after a slow start this season by throwing for 304 yards and two scores on the night. He did toss an ill-advised interception into the end zone following a miscommunication with a receiver but the play ended up as a safety for the Tigers after a miscue by Tech’s defense.

The win by Clemson sets up a massive top five clash next week at home with Louisville that very much could be for the ACC title and a berth in the College Football Playoff. The Tigers seemed to take the foot off the gas in the second half, and had a few issues up front along the offensive line, but otherwise put together a second straight impressive victory.

Things will get much, much tougher next Saturday when they try to slow down Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals however but at least Clemson will head into that matchup with a few days of extra rest and will be fresh off their best defensive effort in a long time.

Strong defense and Deshuan Watson power Clemson to halftime lead over Georgia Tech

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Deshaun Watson #4 of the Clemson Tigers warms up prior to facing the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium on September 22, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

For nearly a month, the college football world has been wondering when Clemson was going to look like, well… Clemson. You know, the Tigers that made it to the national championship game last year and ran the table during the regular season in 2015.

Well, the college football world can stop wondering after Thursday night.

Facing a pesky Georgia Tech team in their ACC opener, Clemson’s defense looked like one of the best in the country through the first half and quarterback Deshaun Watson finally showcased the skills that had many people labeling the Heisman Trophy favorite in 2016. The Tigers jumped out to a 23-0 lead going into the locker room at halftime but the score line didn’t quite indicate just how lopsided the game was up to that point.

After just two quarters, Watson and the Clemson offense had 347 yards. Georgia Tech? A whopping 22. The Tigers had more first downs than the Yellow Jackets had plays run and yards.

It was just that kind of half in Atlanta.

Freshman defensive tackle Christian Wilkins was particularly impressive for Brent Venables’ defense, blowing up a play in the backfield on the very first snap of the game and generally disrupting the Yellow Jackets’ triple option each drive.

Watson also finally returned to the form he displayed last year, throwing for 262 yards and two scores while adding 27 yards on the ground. Perhaps most encouraging for the Clemson offense was the big plays they got from Ray-Ray McCloud (seven catches, 90 yards) while the defense focused on Mike Williams.

Things were not completely perfect in the half for Watson even if he was bailed out by a bone-headed mistake. After a miscommunication with a receiver in the red zone, the signal-caller lofted a ball directly into the hands of defensive back Lance Austin.

Austin stepped out of the end zone however and then back in, before fumbling and then recovering the ball for what was a safety.  Clemson promptly marched down for a touchdown on the ensuing drive.

Going to be a long halftime speech filled with adjustments for Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson as a result.

After a year as Oregon St.’s AD, Todd Stansbury leaves for same job at Georgia Tech

ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 1:  A member of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football team holds his helmet up at the beginning of the fourth quarter during the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field on November 1, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia.  Georgia Tech beat Florida State 31-28.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

In the end, the lure of going home proved to be too much for Todd Stansbury.

Thursday, Georgia Tech announced that Stansbury has been hired as the university’s new athletic director.  Stansbury won’t begin his new post until late November or early December.

Stansbury, who played his college football at Tech in the early eighties and served in an administrative role in his alma mater’s athletic department from 1988-95, will replace Mike Bobinski, who left last month for the same job at Purdue.

In June of 2015, Stansbury left UCF to become the athletic director at Oregon State.  One year and three months later, the opportunity to return to the place “where I found who I was” was too much to turn down.

“I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to return to Georgia Tech, a place that has played such a large role in my life and the place responsible for opening up a world to me that I didn’t even know existed,” Stansbury said in a statement. “I am thankful to President Peterson and the selection committee for providing me this opportunity.”

Stansbury becomes just the ninth athletic director in the university’s history, joining such luminaries such as John Heisman and Bobby Dodd.

Stansbury’s new job will prove costly, though, for either himself, his new employer or some combination of the two.

Clemson hopes DE Austin Bryant can return next week for Louisville

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 31:  Austin Bryant #91 of the Clemson Tigers celebrates after stopping the Oklahoma Sooners on fourth down in the third quarter during the 2015 Capital One Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on December 31, 2015 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

When Austin Bryant went down with a foot injury in the middle of summer camp last month, the target date for the defensive end’s return was the Sept. 22 game against Georgia Tech.  While that won’t happen, the lineman could return for the following weekend’s game that will go a long way in shaping both the ACC and playoff races.

Tuesday, Dabo Swinney officially ruled Bryant out of Thursday’s conference opener against Georgia Tech.  The head coach hedged somewhat, though, when discussing Bryant’s availability for the Week 5 matchup with Louisville.

Bryant has already missed the opener against Auburn as well as the next two games against Troy and South Carolina State.

Last season as the backup to both Kevin Dodd and Shaq Lawson, Bryant played in 13 games. He was credited with 35 tackles, two tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks while averaging under 20 snaps per game.

With Dodd and Lawson leaving for the NFL, Bryant, prior to his injury, had been viewed as someone who would help replace the lost sack production.