How the Tigers win...
1. Take away the quarterback: When the Yellow Jackets get their offense rolling, the quarterback keeper is the foundation block that everything else is built on. Two years ago in the Valley, Clemson stopped Josh Nesbitt, holding him to just two yards on 15 carries, and the Tigers came away with a 27-13 victory. Last season, Tevin Washington burned the Tigers for a career-high 176 yards and the Yellow Jackets turned the tables. Brent Venables' defense will face a new and different test against Paul Johnson's offense, and if they're up to the task, with Tigers will have a leg up on claiming an important ACC victory.
2. Win third down: Earlier this season, Georgia Tech's offense went two full games without being held to single three-and-out possession. The Tigers will need big defensive plays on third down to keep the Yellow Jacket offense on the sidelines. On offense, Clemson showed two seasons ago that that nothing frustrates Georgia Tech like having its opponent keep the football, as Clemson did for most of the fourth quarter. If the Tigers can switch gears with their offense, they'll be in position to control the tempo, and the game.
3. Score and score again: To beat the Yellow Jackets two weeks ago, Miami needed five touchdowns - which matched what Tech had allowed in its first three games combined. Then Middle Tennessee rolled up seven scores, which proved plenty, and then some, to pull of a 21-point upset. Paul Johnson says his defense looks like it's "running in mud" these days, and Clemson needs to be able to score by whatever means necessary - which is Dabo Swinney's definition of a balanced offense.