With a bag full of big plays and a fierce defensive performance, No. 22 Georgia Tech scored its biggest trophy of the season, a 28-6 takedown of No. 19 Clemson Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Two interceptions returned for touchdowns and two big run plays of 40 yards or more gave the Yellow Jackets the margin to overcome Clemson and its defense, ranked No. 1 in the country in yards per play. Safety Jamal Golden returned Cole Stoudt’s throwback pass 85 yards for a touchdown to give Tech a 9-3 second-quarter lead and cornerback Chris Milton ran back his own interception 62 yards for a third-quarter touchdown that improved the Jackets’ advantage to 25-6.
The runs, a 46-yarder by A-back Broderick Snoddy and a 65-yard sprint from quarterback Justin Thomas, set up a field goal and touchdown. They gave Tech all the scoring it needed to score its first win over a ranked opponent since 2011, when the Jackets upset the same Tigers.
Tech (9-2 overall, 6-2 ACC) won its fourth game in a row and continued its cathartic string of reversals against rivals who have gotten the better of it in recent years. The Jackets ended a four-game losing streak to Virginia Tech, a five-game losing streak to Miami and now have stopped Clemson’s two-game winning streak. All that remains is the biggest prize, No. 15 Georgia, in Athens Nov. 29.
Clemson (7-3, 6-2) managed just 190 yards of offense, clearly suffering the loss of quarterback Deshaun Watson, who made his return from a broken finger but left the game in the third series with a leg injury and did not return. It was the first game in which the Tigers did not score a touchdown since their 13-3 loss to Tech in 2007.