Deshaun Watson threw for two touchdowns, Wayne Gallman ran for two scores and No. 6 Clemson showed no signs of losing momentum with a 43-24 victory over reeling Georgia Tech on Saturday.
On the same, soggy field where the Tigers (5-0, 2-0 ACC) outlasted No. 15 Notre Dame 24-22 last week to surge in the AP Top 25 poll, they made quick work of the Yellow Jackets (2-4, 0-3), who lost four straight for the first time since 1996.
Gallman ran for 115 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown run on the game’s third play and Clemson’s rout was on.
Watson passed for 265 yards, his highest total this season, and had touchdown throws of 29 and 8 yards to tight end Jordan Leggett.
Clemson’s defense held the Yellow Jackets to 71 yards rushing, its lowest total in coach Paul Johnson’s eight seasons.
The questions always surface with Clemson after a big win: When will the inevitable clunker come? There’s even a term detractors toss around “Clemsoning,” when arguing how unreliable the Tigers can be when in the mix for bigger things.
But the Georgia Tech victory was Clemson’s 33rd straight over an unranked opponent and proved perhaps these Tigers have more staying power than in the past.
The proof began three plays in when Gallman swept around the left end and went 66 yards for the Tigers longest play of the year and a 7-0 lead on the game’s third play.
Thomas was intercepted moments later and the Tigers tacked on a field goal to take an early double-digit lead for the second straight contest. While Clemson struggled to build on its 14-0 lead on Notre Dame last week, it little problem piercing the Yellow Jackets defense. Watson went 5-of-5 passing for 68 yards on a second-quarter drive Gallman finished from a yard out for his second TD and a 17-3 lead.
Watson went to the air in the second quarter, finding Leggett on scoring passes of 29 and 8 yards to take a 33-10 lead at half.
The Tigers also got a safety off a blocked punt that looked like something from a Three Stooges short. The ball was snapped over the head of punter Ryan Rodwell, who picks up the ball and boots a low liner that hits off Clemson defender Jadar Johnson before bouncing through several hands and out of the end zone.
It was a dominating show by Clemson, which outgained Georgia Tech 318 to 109 in the opening half.
The Yellow Jackets, who came in leading the ACC with 311 yards a game on the ground, were held to 56 in the first half by Clemson’s defense. They did not do much better after halftime, gaining just 15 on the ground the final 30 minutes.
Georgia Tech’s previous low rushing during Johnson’s time was 79 yards gained on the ground in a 10-7 over Gardner-Webb on Oct. 11, 2008 in the coach’s first season.