Weekend Spotlight: Georgia Tech at Clemson
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Georgia Tech (6-3, 5-2 ACC) at No. 8 Clemson (8-1, 6-1 ACC)
Georgia Tech leads the series 50-26-2 (Last meeting October 6, 2012: Clemson 47, Georgia Tech 31)
Georgia Tech can clinch at least a share of the ACC Coastal Division title with a win Thursday, while Clemson can keep their dreams of a BCS at-large invitation alive with a win. While Georgia Tech has nearly doubled up Clemson in the win column in this rivalry’s history, the Tigers own an 11-6 mark against the Yellow Jackets in Death Valley.
Georgia Tech has been one of the most consistent programs in the country over the past 20 years. The Yellow Jackets have 19-straight seasons at or above .500, which is the longest such streak in the nation. This year’s team is one of three teams to rank in the top 10 of both rushing offense (311.2 ypg, 5th overall) and rushing defense (103.4 ypg, 10th overall) along with Ohio State and Wisconsin. The Jackets, while known as a rushing team under Paul Johnson, also have big-play potential in the passing game, as they rank second behind Baylor in yards per completion with 18.2. On defense Georgia Tech is led by a pair of seniors, Jemea Thomas and Jeremiah Attaochu. Attaochu comes into the game the third active FBS leading in career sacks with 25, and just six sacks shy of Georgia Tech’s career record. Thomas enters the game on a hot streak as over the past two games he has accumulated 21 tackles, three pass break ups, and an interception and earned back-to-back ACC Defensive Back of the Week honors.
While Georgia Tech has been consistent over the past two decades, Clemson comes in on one of the more successful stretches of any team in the nation. The Tigers are one of just five teams, along with Alabama, Oklahoma, Stanford and Oregon, to be ranked in the top 20 of the BCS Standings for 20 consecutive weeks. Clemson is led by their offense and its array of offensive weapons. Senior Tajh Boyd enters just two touchdown passed behind Phillip Rivers for the ACC career record of 95. Last week he broke the ACC record of total touchdowns created (rushing and passing touchdowns) with 116. Boyd’s favorite receiver has been Sammy Watkins who enters the game needing just 18 receiving yards to become just the second ever Clemson pass catcher to have two 1,000 yard seasons in their career. He is also just 112 yards away from breaking DeAndre Hopkins’ record for career receiving yards.
-Clemson is Georgia Tech’s oldest ACC rivalry with their first meeting occurring in 1898. This will also be the first time the schools meet on a Thursday since playing each other on Thanksgiving every year between 1905-1914.
-John Heisman coached at both schools in the early 1900s. He went 19-3-2 (.833) at Clemson between 1900-1903 and 102-29-7 (.779) at Georgia Tech from 1904-1919. He is the all-time leader in winning percentage at both schools.