The number 9 game in this countdown features the first appearance of gameday in Tigertown. At the time, it appeared as though a Clemson win would put the Tigers on a collision course with a BCS Bowl, as Clemson dismissed Florida State earlier in the season in Tallahassee. Clemson featured a backfield of C.J. Spiller and James Davis, to which Georgia Tech countered with Calvin Johnson and Reggie Ball. This one had a tremendous amount of hype as #12 Clemson faced #13 Georgia Tech for Homecoming in Death Valley (note, this was only the secondtime in Clemson history that two top-13 teams faced each other in Memorial Stadium). This game was one that did not live up to the hype, as Clemson throttled Georgia Tech in the second half on that October night, while Spiller and Davis put on one of the best duo performances that I can remember in Death Valley.
7:45 PM ET, October 21, 2006
Let me go ahead and say that the buzz (no pun intended) surrounding this game was pretty intense, especially here in South Carolina. Clemson came into this contest the #12 team in the land, GT #13. Gameday decided to roll to town andit was also Homecoming weekend. Needless to say, Tiger fans were pumped up for this one. It was really a unique atmosphere, as tons of people flocked to Bowman to check out the Gameday set as well as the Homecoming floats.
It was a pleasant day of tailgating, Gameday, andHomecoming which culminated with a critical battle for (what we all thought) ACC supremacy.
The Yellow Jackets did keep the game close early. GT started out well by intercepting a Will Proctor pass on the game's first possession. GT then drove 55 yards, but were unable to capitalize on a Travis Bell 36 yard field goal. I will admit that I was concerned at this point about the turnover as well as GT's ability to move the ball without a completion to Johnson. The two teams then traded punts and the first quarter ended with the two teams knotted at zero. James Davis was able to get into the open field and broke a 50+ yard gain end the quarter and put Clemson in great position to put some points on the board. The Tigers successfully polished off this drive by running the football, and went up 7-0. Please take a look at the play summary of this drive (courtesy: ESPN.com) and tell me this isn't a thing of beauty--7 plays (one big one), zero passes, one touchdown:
|Clemson at 14:52||GT||CLEM|
|1st and 10 at CLEM 28||James Davisrush for 54 yards to the GaTch 18 out-of-bounds for a 1ST down.||0||0|
|1st and 10 at GT 18||James Davisrush for 3 yards to the GaTch 15.|
|2nd and 7 at GT 15||CJ Spiller rush for 5 yards to the GaTch 10.|
|3rd and 2 at GT 10||Timeout CLEMSON, clock 13:30.|
|3rd and 2 at GT 10||James Davisrush for 4 yards to the GaTch 6 for a 1ST down.|
|1st and Goal at GT 6||James Davisrush for no gain to the GaTch 6.|
|2nd and Goal at GT 6||James Davisrush for 4 yards to the GaTch 2.|
|3rd and Goal at GT 2||James Davis rush for 2 yards for a TOUCHDOWN.||0||6|
|Jad Dean extra point GOOD.||0||7|
|Jad Deankickoff for 65 yards for a touchback.|
|DRIVE TOTALS: Clem drive: 7 plays 72 yards, 03:11 Clem TD|
The rest of the half was pretty lackluster, with Clemson all but abandoning a serious run attack, Tyler Grisham fumbling, and a lot of incompletions. Fortunately for the Tigers, Georgia Tech was unable to capitalize on the great field position gained through the aforementioned fumble, and turned the ball back over to the Tigers on downs inside the Clemson 40.
The second half was the tale of the tape in this one, and it quickly turned into the Spiller and Davis show. Spiller scored on a 50 yard rush and a 50 yard reception, both times breaking Tech defenders' ankles all the way to the end zone. Davis broke off several big gains and scoredhis second rushing TD of the night on a 5 yard carry that put the Tigers up 31-7 mid-way through the 4th quarter. Clemson successfully pounded the ball late in the game, and were the beneficiaries of quite a few big plays. Clemson's rushing stats tell the tale, as the Tigers' two feature backs both had monster games and Will Proctor only having to attempt 16 passes on the evening.
Obviously, the backs were invited to the Gameday set afterwards to hang out with Herbstreit, Fowler, and Corso.
Not to be lost in this great display by the backs is the stout effort by Vic Koening's defense. This group did not allow a reception by GT's herralded reciever, Calvin Johnson. The Tigers kept Georgia Tech on their toes and were able to limit to 205 total yards. A key here was the defensive line play, led by Gaines Adams. I am pretty sure Duane Coleman had a sack in this one as well. Reggie Ball was bottled up all night. The Clemson defense was successfully able to neutralize Ball's scrambling ability and limit his production. All around, a great effort by this football team.
Here is some footage from the game, once again, please feel free to include anything I may have left out or items you may remember from the contest.
and of course a Shoeless production:
Unfortunately, this elation was short lived. Clemson finished very poorly, dropping the consecutive games at Va Tech and at home against Maryland, losing to South Carolina at home and Kentucky in the bowl game. Still this performance (especially by the two backs) in a hyped game was a great performance for Clemson.