Week 1 Preview: Georgia Tech vs Clemson
By: Tony Thomas
August 28, 2019
The other game on Thursday marks the beginning of the 2019 title defense of the National Champion Clemson Tigers as they take on the Ga.Tech Yellow Jackets in that “other” Death Valley. And, it also marks the debut of the ACC Network.
Ga. Tech, coached by Geoff Collins, are coming off a 7-6 record in 2018. They only return 9 starters, 5 on offense and 4 on defense. And, they will try a new scheme on defense. The Yellow Jackets ended last season with a 34-10 loss to Minnesota in the Quick Lane Bowl. They have lost 4 straight road openers, but are 8-3 in ACC openers. The home team in this game has won 8 of the last 10.
As far as Tech goes, there is not much else to discuss here.
Clemson is ranked #1 in The Gridiron News Preseason Top 10 poll for 2019, and are coming off a 28 point victory over Alabama in the National Championship Game.
The Tigers, coached by Dabo Swinney, have talent and experience on both side of the ball, especially on offense. And that offense is controlled on the field by SO. QB Trevor Lawrence.
Lawrence passed for 3280 yards, 30 TD’s and 4 INTs. He is surrounded by talent at the skill positions. JR. RB Travis Etienne rushed for 1658 yards and 24 TD’s. The Tigers bring back their top 3 WR’s in Justyn Ross, Tee Higgins, and Amari Rodgers. This trio combined for 160 catches, over 2500 yards receiving, and 25 TD’s in 2018.
The Tigers are a well-oiled machine on offense, averaging 44 points per game last year.
The Clemson defense lost a ton of production to the NFL, including their entire defensive line. They will have to reload. And, they will do so starting with DE Xavier Thomas, who had 3.5 sacks and 7 tackles for loss as a freshman. JR. LB Isaiah Simmons returns, having made 97 tackles and 8 tackles for loss last year. The secondary returns JR.CB A.J. Terrell who recorded 53 tackles and 3 INT’s in 2018; SR. FS Tanner Muse, recording 76 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 INT’s, and SR. SS K’von Wallace, contributing with 55 tackles and a INT.
The Clemson defense allowed just 286 total yards and 13 points per game.
Clemson is a 33-1/2 point favorite and will win this game handily. There are simply too many offensive weapons for G-Tech to defend against.
My pick: Clemson
Thanks for reading.
Material for this article sourced from: Logos via http://sportslogos.net, Phil Steele’s 2019 College Football Preview, vol.25, pages 1-352.