Clemson, Ga. Tech Recap
Posted By:Brett Haynes - Greenville, SC Tags:
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If you are a Clemson fan, this just plain sucks. Yes, the Tigers scored 27 unanswered points to take the lead late in the game. Yes, Kyle Parker looks like he is going to be a great player at Clemson for many seasons Yes, the attitude on the team seems to be a good one. But, in the end, once again, the Tigers came up short.
I'm not going to get onto Coach Dabo Swinney or the coaches or any one player about why we lost this game. Sure there were a couple of play-calls and decisions that were questionable, but overall I thought the game was pretty well coached and that some very good play-calls in the second half made up for a couple I didnt quite understand in the first half. I didn't understand the decision to pooch the rugby style punt, but I think that was less Dabo's fault than just a bad kick. The punter kicked the ball on a line drive straight to the return man - that is not how you do that.. Later I thought Swiney was nuts for trying a 53-yard field goal. Wrong. He made it.
I thought my Tigers showed heart in coming back from the big lead. However, the big lead was their own wrong doing. The Tech running touchdown I can handle as they run the ball very well and from time to time they break one. But how (HOW?) do you give up 14 points on two consecutive first-quarter kick plays??? I haven't seen the replay yet, but on a field goal try, GT had a man so wide open on the sideline it was as if he waddled onto the field after the ball was snapped.
And so it was, a 24-7 lead for GT at the half due to a long td run and two tds on kick plays. My Tigers were finished right? Wrong. Clemson came out in the second half and made some serious adjustments on both offense and defense. To me, this was the first time in years that I have actually seen a Tiger team come out in the second half with a much better gameplan than in the first half. Maybe we do have some good coaches. Behind several key passes from Kyle Parker, and strong runs by a trio of Tiger backs including CJ Spiller, Jamie Harper and Andre Ellington, Clemson fought back and even took the lead at 27-24.
Coach Swinney actually said after the game what I was thinking. "That is not easy to do on the road. In the locker room at halftime, there was no doubt. They were focused, made adjustments, and took a 27-24 lead. We had a chance to win it at the end, but just like last year, we get another big holding call on the pass to Jacoby, and we weren’t able to overcome that.”
The penalty he speaks of is one that made me go from an emotional high to an emotiional low over the course of about 5 seconds. It was literally like getting my heart ripped out. For the second straight year, Clemson was driving to put GT away, and the Gods of college football (or the refs), took it right away. Last night, Kyle Parker hit Jacoby Ford deep down the right sideline for a gain that would have put Clemson well into Tech territory with a first down and just a couple of minutes to play and the score tied. But a debatable holding penalty called on Thomas Austin brought back the beautiful pass play. A year ago - in Dabo's first game as head coach - nearly an identicle play went the same way, complete with holding penalty, against the Tigers.
I have not seen the replay but one time, but it appeared that the ball had been delivered and that Austin simply fell down in a struggle with his defender. Who knows. All I know is that once again, instead of basking in the glory of a big-time victory on national TV, we wake up this morning with a headache over what could have been. What if the holding flag isn't thrown? What if CU doesn't give up two first quarter td's on special teams? What if. What if. What if.
Do I have a good feeling about this team? Yes I do. I really do. But that "feeling" is getting old. I always feel good about Clemson because I believe in us. But it is time to win a game like this. Weird things always happen in college football - always. There will always be excuses - always. It is time for CU to wake up the next day and not have excuses. Again, I am not faulting anyone, I am just saying that CU has been through this song and dance so many times; Auburn in the Chick-Fil-A bowl, GT last year at home, Nebraska in the Gator Bowl, last night, etc....We need to start finding a way to close out and win these games.
Once again, it is going to be a fight just to win the division. With Florida State losing a game, the Tigers had a chance to take an early advantage in the ACC Atlantic race and they didn't get the win. The season is still wide-open, and the chance for CU to have a big year is still there. FSU is at home, and the rest of the division is suspect.
In the end, in conclusion, that was a fun game to watch. But a big penalty late took my celebration away from me and this loss hurts. It really hurts bad.
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