September 22, 2016 Atlanta - Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets head coach Paul Johnson (left) and Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney talk before their game at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Thursday, September 22, 2016. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Paul Johnson wary of Clemson defense

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson sounded as though he expects the firmest of challenges when he takes his team to play No. 7 Clemson on Saturday.

“I don’t think you’re going to beat Clemson in a shootout, guys,” Johnson said after his team’s Wednesday practice. “It’s not like anybody lights ’em up. We’re going to have to play good on offense, defense and special teams to win the game. It’s going to take a complete game.”

Clemson ranks seventh in FBS in scoring defense at 13.6 points per game. The most points the Tigers have allowed was 27, in their 27-24 loss to Syracuse on Oct. 13, their most recent game. They were 10th nationally at 18 points per game last season, when Tech lost 26-7 at Bobby Dodd Stadium. That was only the sixth time in Johnson’s tenure with the Yellow Jackets that his team was held to single digits on the scoreboard.

The Jackets have rushed for a combined 166 yards in the past two games against Clemson, both losses.

“We haven’t played particularly well (against Clemson),” he said. “We didn’t play very well last year on offense. We’ve just got to play better.”

Clemson had something to do with it. Johnson estimated that at least six Tigers defensive linemen will be in the NFL. He described defensive tackle Christian Wilkins as “really good” and highlighted defensive end Clelin Ferrell, as well.

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