No. 5 Georgia 10, No. 3 Clemson 3

Credit: ACC

No. 5 Georgia upset No. 3 Clemson in the Duke's Mayo Classic in Charlotte, N.C., to open the 2021 college football season.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – No. 5 Georgia upset third-ranked Clemson 10-3 in the Duke’s Mayo Classic on Saturday night at Bank of America. It was Georgia’s first win over a top-3 team since it knocked off No. 3 Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl in 2017.

Key play

Facing third-and-4 at the Georgia 30 late in the first half, Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei tried to hit Justyn Ross on a quick slant. But Georgia senior safety Christopher Smith read it all the way and jumped the route for an interception. Never breaking stride, Smith returned it 74 yards for the game’s first score with 2:58 remaining in the first quarter. It was the first career interception and touchdown for Smith.

Key stat

Clemson had only 90 yards offense in the first half as Uiagalelei went 10-for-20 for 89 yards and was sacked twice in the first half. The Tigers had one yard rushing on 10 attempts at that point. They finished with only 180.

Game ball

Got to give one to Georgia’s entire front seven on defense. The Bulldogs wreaked havoc on Clemson’s offense, with six different defenders sacking the quarterback seven times. Inside linebacker Nakobe Dean had two.

What we learned

We learned that Georgia’s defense is going to be real good. Also, that the preseason fuss about freshman Brock Bowers was justified. The highly touted tight end from Napa, Calif., not only started the game, but was featured by Georgia’s offense in the early going. He had four catches for 26 yards, with a long reception of 12 yards in the first quarter.

They said it

“We see it every day in practice from our guys up front. They got a lot of pressure on the quarterback and that helped us on the back end.” -- Georgia senior safety Christopher Smith, on the dominance of Georgia’s front seven.

“If the defense plays like that, we won’t need to score more than four points.” -- Georgia quarterback JT Daniels

What’s next

Georgia: The Bulldogs play host to UAB at 3:30 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2). The Blazers (1-0) defeated Jacksonville State 31-0 in Montgomery on Wednesday. So, they will have had an extra three days of recovery and preparation. It will be the third time the schools have played, with Georgia winning 16-13 in 2003 and 34-0 in 2006.

Clemson: The Tigers play host to South Carolina State at 5 p.m. Saturday (ACC Network). Also known as the Bulldogs, S.C. State was playing Alabama A&M on Saturday night in Huntsville in a game that kicked off at 7 p.m.

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