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No. 4 Clemson Tigers Turns it on Late to Upend Georgia Tech in Season Opener

It isn’t the method that you start. It’s the way you finish.

Although it remains to be observed how that may connect with fourth-ranked Clemson’s hopes of time for the faculty Football Playoff in 2022, it worked well within their season opener. The Tigers used a stifling defense that held their opponent to 237 total yards and a late-starting offense that set up 27 second-half points to earn a 41-10 victory over Georgia Tech at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Monday night.

The Tigers, who blocked two punts in the overall game, found their eighth consecutive victory on the Yellow Jackets to start out the entire year 1-0 overall and in the ACC.

Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, under immense pressure to boost from the rough 2021, threw one touchdown and ran in another. He went 19-of-31 passing for 209 yards without interceptions and rushed for 28 yards on 13 carries. Running back Will Shipley scored twice via the bottom, however the Tigers only mustered 3.2 yards per carry.

Backup QB Cade Klubnik got the initial snaps of his Clemson career on the Tigers’ final possession with the overall game well at hand, and the freshman led a 10-play, 66-yard scoring drive that ended with Klubnik’s 3-yard touchdown pass to Will Taylor.

Both teams got off to a slow start offensively. GT quarterback Jeff Sims threw a pass picked off by Andrew Mukuba on the initial play from scrimmage. Uiagalelei turned the ball over on a fumble in Yellow Jacket territory.

Finally, Clemson jumped out to a 14-0 lead following a blocked punt resulted in a second-quarter touchdown run by Will Shipley on the fifth drive accompanied by a 6-yard TD pass from Uiagalelei to Beaux Collins.

Georgia Tech got a field goal before halftime to cut in to the lead and the Jackets scored on a 13-yard TD pass from Sims to EJ Jenkins to obtain within 14-10 with 9: 47 left in the 3rd quarter.

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Clemson answered, though, with a field goal from B.T. Potter to move up 17-10. Then your next drive was sustained by the Tigers when Uiagalelei flipped the ball to Shipley while he was getting tackled on third down. Shipley ran for the initial down, and Uiagalelei later scored on a 9-yard set you back put Clemson up 24-10 after three quarters.

Freshman Wade Woodaz blocked the next punt of the night time for the Tigers, who scored on another Shipley touchdown set you back put the overall game away.

Player of the overall game: KJ Henry affected the type of scrimmage just as much or even more as any player on the field Monday night. The Clemson defensive end had seven tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss, one sack and something forced fumble. He harassed Sims forever in the backfield and appeared as if a man who’s poised for a large season in his final year.

Key play: Carson Donnelly blocked a punt in the next quarter. It had been found by Spector and returned to the 5-yard line. It resulted in a 1-yard touchdown run by Shipley on fourth-and-goal with 9: 53 to play in the next quarter.

Freshman Impact: Antonio Williams caught four passes for 37 yards in his first career game. Williams, who didn’t arrive on campus before summer, impressed his coaches in fall camp and earned playing amount of time in Week 1. He’ll likely get yourself a more expanded role because the season goes along.

Stat of the overall game: Clemson’s defense held Georgia Tech to 2-of-15 on third downs.

Coach’s decision: Georgia Tech’s Geoff Collins made a fascinating decision never to call timeout and prevent the clock late in the next quarter with Clemson facing a fourth-and-3. There is a targeting review, and Collins could’ve given his team an opportunity to obtain the ball back with about 30 seconds left. Instead, he chosen a 10-second runoff. Swinney then allow clock run-down and punted. Time expired. Collins said he thought if he called a timeout that Clemson would do it now on fourth down. Ultimately, Swinney made a decision to let Collins off the hook and move on to the locker room.

Next Up: Clemson opens up its home part of the schedule with an instant turnaround game against Furman at 3: 30 p.m. on Saturday. The Paladins arrived at Memorial Stadium 1-0 on the growing season. The Tigers are 36-0 against FCS teams.

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