NCF Nation: Richard Jackson
CLEMSON, S.C. -- First, an injury update. Chris Chancellor has a lower leg injury. He’s being reevaluated during the break. Now, a quick look at what happened in the first half here in Memorial Stadium.
Turning point: It was first and goal from the FSU 5-yard line, when Kyle Parker was sacked by Markus White for a loss of a yard and fumbled. Dekoda Watson recovered it, and Clemson’s chance at heading to the locker room took a hit. The defense gave Parker and Co. another opportunity on the ensuing drive with an interception, but Richard Jackson missed a 38-yard field goal. That fumble on the five-yard line was as close as the Tigers would get to reasserting themselves in the first half.
What Clemson needs to do: Eliminate the penalties and capitalize on their red zone scoring chances. Clemson has five penalties for 40 yards. That’s surprising, considering the Tigers entered this game averaging just 4.6 penalties per game, which was fourth best in the country. Earlier in the year, when Clemson was struggling, it was in the red zone. That appears to be the case again tonight.
What Florida State needs to do: Continue to run the ball and limit the mistakes. Jermaine Thomas has been a bright spot for the Noles, and his success helps Ponder with the play-action passes and opens up other options in the passing game. Right now, though, FSU has only been successful on 1 of 2 third downs. Their three turnovers have kept them out of a rhythm. Ponder’s two interceptions are uncharacteristic, but Clemson’s defense deserves some credit for that.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Turning point: With the game tied at 27 in the fourth quarter, Clemson had a 38-yard play nullified by a holding call on guard Thomas Austin. It erased a beautiful pass from Kyle Parker to Jacoby Ford, and forced the Tigers back to third-and-21 instead of landing inside Georgia Tech’s 30. They had to punt it away with just under 3 minutes remaining and gave Georgia Tech the possession that resulted in the game-winning field goal.
Stat of the game: Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt was 3-of-13 with two interceptions before a 39-yard pass play with 1:15 left in the game to Demaryius Thomas at the Clemson 27 for a first down.
Player of the game: Georgia Tech kicker Scott Blair. His surprise 34-yard touchdown pass to Thomas put the Jackets up 21-0 in the first quarter, and his three field goals of 24, 27 and 30 yards accounted for the remainder of Georgia Tech's points.
Best call: Richard Jackson’s 53-yard field goal attempt on fourth-and-8 with 11:33 left in the fourth quarter put the Tigers ahead 27-24. With the way Clemson’s defense was playing, Dabo Swinney showed confidence the Tigers would get the ball back anyway, and he showed confidence in Jackson.
Second guessing: To pass or not to pass? Was it really a good idea for Nesbitt to keep throwing the ball? The Jackets got away from their identity, a run-based offense, and Paul Johnson is the one who calls the plays. Clemson’s defense showed Nesbitt no respect in totally committing to stopping the option. Johnson might have tried to loosen them up by throwing, but for the most part, it didn’t work.
Happy Friday! I hope everyone has a great weekend.
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