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Saturday, October 18, 2008
Halftime update: Georgia Tech 14, Clemson 3


Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

CLEMSON, S.C. -- Clemson's defense was dancing. Heading-bobbing to the hip-hop played between each break.

Until Georgia Tech B-back Jonathan Dwyer stopped the music.

All it takes is one missed assignment and Georgia Tech's big-play capability can suck the life out of even the most energized defense. That's exactly what happened in the second quarter when Dwyer burst for a 31-yard run on a third-and-16.

Clemson bandit end Ricky Sapp was ready for this game. Sapp has been out there bouncing up and down, waiving his hands in the air to get the crowd into it. His enthusiasm has been contagious throughout the entire Tigers' defense, and they have made key stops on third down.

But Georgia Tech's defense has been better. Safety Morgan Burnett squashed a flash of momentum with the Yellow Jackets' third interception of the first half. Clemson has turned it over four times, and they're lucky they only lost one of three fumbles.

It hasn't mattered that Dabo Swinney is now the coach, or that Willy Korn started at quarterback, because this is still the same offensive line Tommy Bowden had to work with a week ago. And it hasn't been able to keep Georgia Tech's defensive line out of its backfield. Jacoby Ford and James Davis each has negative yards rushing.

Clemson has 79 yards of total offense, and unless Swinney goes ahead and lines up at left tackle, there's not going to be any miracles in the second half.

Meanwhile, Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt looks off. He hasn't played since the first quarter of the Mississippi State game and his timing seems off.

Clemson freshman running back Jamie Harper (you remember, the poor kid who will forever be remembered as the freshman who fumbled his first snap against Alabama?) is playing well in the absence of injured star C.J. Spiller.

The fans aren't booing like they were the last time I was here (second half against Maryland), and it's a packed house. They seem to have some patience, despite a mostly bumbling offensive performance.