Staff writer Steve Hummer give his take on Saturday’s game:
1. Good seats still available: The fact that this was the first Georgia Tech game in three years in which both teams were ranked was not enough to fill up Bobby Dodd Stadium. The announced crowd of 49,378 was almost 6,000 under capacity. Clemson orange occupied significant sections of both the north end zone and east stands (granted, they left early). Spare the lectures because it is no one’s obligation to absorb the expense and make the effort to attend a game. But it is something of a bummer that a team on an impressive roll couldn’t fill the place on the last home game of a (so far) nine-win season. More supply than demand remains the odd economy around here.
2. No Watson, no chance for Clemson: At least a good third of the stadium was upset when Clemson freshman quarterback Deshaun Watson left in the first quarter with a knee injury. Everything said about Watson’s importance to the Tigers in advance of his appearance here was wrong — he’s even more vital than they said. His injury, apparently suffered without the benefit of contact, was the turning point of this game. So bad was senior Cole Stoudt in his stead that Dabo Swinney turned to a former walk-on from Grayson, Nick Schuessler, in the fourth quarter. Watson could have made a real difference in this one. A sizable slice of Clemson’s future rests on that knee.
3. In praise of a Tech receiver: There is hardly any opportunity to celebrate the wide receiver in the Yellow Jackets’ offense. So, let’s seize this chance: DeAndre Smelter is really good. His first of five receptions Sunday was a star-quality, leaping 19-yarder along one sideline. His touchdown reception, of merely five yards, was anything but modest (a pretty over-the-shoulder number). Smelter became the 21st Tech player to surpass 1,000 career receiving yards Saturday, which is pretty good stuff for a one-time baseball player.
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