CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Christopher Smith returned an interception 74 yards for a landing and No. 5 Georgia turned in a defensive effort for the ages, toppling third-ranked Clemson 10-3 on Saturday within the opener for each groups.
The Bulldogs held the Tigers to 2 yards speeding and sacked D.J. Uiagalelei seven instances to place themselves for a run on the School Soccer Playoff.
Uiagalelei, who entered the season as a Heisman Trophy candidate, completed 19 of 37 for 178 yards with one interception. He bobbled snaps, was out of sync together with his receivers and spent many of the day below heavy duress towards a relentless Bulldogs cross rush.
One of many considerations getting into the sport was how Clemson was going to switch the manufacturing of operating again Travis Etienne. Tigers operating backs Kobe Tempo and Will Shipley mixed for simply 14 yards on eight carries.
“We pissed off and confused them,” Georgia coach Kirby Sensible mentioned.
Even when Georgia turned the ball over, the Tigers, who have been held to 180 complete yards, couldn’t take benefit.
With Clemson down 7-0 within the third quarter, Baylon Specter appeared to offer the Tigers they momentum they wanted when he intercepted J.T. Daniels’ cross on the Georgia 33. However after a brief achieve on first down Uiagalelei was sacked on consecutive performs and Clemson was pressured to punt.
Clemson didn’t rating till 9:08 left within the sport when a 44-yard reception by Joseph Ngata an a defensive cross interference penalty arrange a 22-yard area objective by B.T. Potter, serving to the Tigers keep away from their first shutout since 2003.
Regardless of being dominated all sport, the Tigers had an opportunity to tie with 7:35 left after they took over at their very own 25. The Tigers reached midfield and head coach Dabo Swinney went for it on fourth-and-5 — however Uiagalelei’s hurried cross fell incomplete.
“I knew we have been could be fairly good and fairly deep on protection,” Sensible mentioned. “However we’re extra athletic than once we have been previously.”
From there, the Bulldogs ran out the clock.
Georgia’s protection, which dominated the road of scrimmage, set the tone early with Nolan Smith and Nakobe Dean registering third-down sacks on Clemson’s first two possessions.
In a primary half dominated by protection — and a few fairly spectacular punting — it was solely becoming the one rating got here when Smith jumped in entrance of a Uiagalelei cross meant for Justyn Ross and raced 74 yards to the top zone to offer the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead at halftime.
Swinney layed the blame on Ross making a foul choice on the route, saying he was alleged to “sit down” on the route however as an alternative stored operating.
“He didn’t make the proper choice and it was a essential play,” Swinney mentioned.
Daniels had a pedestrian day for Georgia, finishing 22 of 30 passes for 135 yards with one interception, however walked away with a smile on his face saying, “We simply beat Clemson, so I’m completely happy.”
The loss leaves Clemson with virtually no room for error in relation to making its seventh straight School Soccer Playoff. No staff has ever made the playoff with two losses because the new four-team format started in 2015.
“I’m not going to jot down the season off as a result of we misplaced 10-3 to a top-five staff,” Swinney mentioned.