It’s so far, so good for defending national champion No. 1 Clemson, as the Tigers hold a 28-0 lead over Georgia Tech at the break in Death Valley East.
Clemson accepted the ball to start the game and Georgia Tech immediately forced a three-and-out… and then gave the ball immediately back to the Tigers when Juanyeah Thomas muffed the punt and Brannon Spector hopped on it at Georgia Tech’s 16-yard line. Lawrence cashed in five plays later with a 6-yard zone read keeper to give Clemson its first of many early leads this season.
Georgia Tech, displaying its brand new (to them) spread offense, picked up two first downs on its first series but saw a promising series end in flames when a backfield miscommunication on a 1st-and-10 at midfield result in an 11-yard loss and a punt.
Travis Etienne put the game in comfort territory for Clemson on the next possession when he raced 90 yards for a touchdown, giving Clemson a 14-0 lead at the 5:39 mark of the first quarter.
Leading 21-0 midway through the second quarter, Lawrence appeared to serve Georgia Tech’s first points on a platter when he tossed a pass straight to Georgia Tech’s Tre Swilling, who raced the ball 41 yards until he was knocked out by Lawrence himself at the 2.
Put in its first disadvantageous situation of this young season, Brent Venables‘ retooled defense shined, surrendering yards of one, zero and zero yards to force a 4th-and-goal from their own 1. Georgia Tech called for Oliver to toss a roll out pass, which was tipped and intercepted by Clemson’s Denzel Johnson.
Clemson then went 94 yards on five plays, the last 62 coming on a catch-and-dash from Lawrence to Tee Higgins.
In a stat line that seems quite similar to other Georgia Tech games, Oliver finished the first half 2-of-7 for 11 yards and an interception while leading the Yellow Jackets with 16 carries for 61 yards. Jordan Mason rushed nine times for 42 yards.
Lawrence completed 12-of-22 tosses for 148 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions (the second of which came on a heave as time expired in the half) while adding three carries for 24 yards and a score, and Etienne compiled 145 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.
Georgia Tech will receive to open the second half.