College Football:Georgia Tech 21, Clemson 17
CLEMSON, S.C. ó Demaryius Thomas let one chance slip through his fingers. He wasn’t about to blow a second one, not when it mattered so much to Georgia Tech.
Thomas caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Josh Nesbitt with 5:22 to go Saturday, lifting the Yellow Jackets to their fourth straight victory, 21-17, and spoiling the feel-good debut of new Clemson coach Dabo Swinney.
Earlier in the fourth quarter, Thomas has slipped behind the Tiger defense but Nesbitt’s perfect pass went through his hands steps from the end zone.
“I alligator-armed the ball. I didn’t reach out,” Thomas said. “I’m still disappointed about that.”
Thomas made up for it the best way he knew, waiting through Nesbitt’s pump fake and confidently grabbing the ball for the winning score.
“That’s the thing with coach Johnson, he’s going to give you another chance to make a big play,” running back Jonathan Dwyer said.
Georgia Tech sure needed one down the stretch.
The Yellow Jackets (6-1, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) took advantage of Clemson’s confused offense ó coordinator Rob Spence was let go by Swinney soon after taking over ó and the inexperience of freshman quarterback to build a lead.
Clemson’s botched attempt at a flea-flicker ended with receiver Tyler Grishman’s pass picked off by Dominique Reese, who took it 34 yards for the opening touchdown.
Nesbitt finished off a 9-play, 80-yard drive with a 5-yard scoring run just before halftime to go up 14-3.
But feeding off the emotion of Swinney’s first game, Cullen Harper threw for two third-quarter touchdowns to Aaron Kelly, another senior who has so far not lived up to past performances.
Swinney said he was proud of his group, despite the loss.
“I am not disappointed in these men today,” Swinney said. “I’m proud.”
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