No. 13 Georgia Tech 45, Clemson 42
ATLANTA (AP) _ Joe Hamilton threw for 322 yards, matched a school record with five touchdown passes and ran for another 88 yards Saturday as No. 13 Georgia Tech held off a fourth-quarter charge to beat Clemson 45-42.
Georgia Tech (7-2, 5-2 ACC) took over second place in the conference from Clemson (5-5, 5-3) and virtually clinched a second straight bid to the Gator Bowl on New Year’s Day.
Hamilton had touchdown passes of 28 and 42 yards to Kelly Campbell and a a 12-yarder to Conrad Andrzejewski before Sean Gregory, who had 101 yards rushing on 24 carries, had a 3-yard TD run in the opening half. Hamilton hit Kerry Watkins on a 9-yard TD and Ed Wilder on a 3-yarder in the second half.
Hamilton’s five TD passes equaled the school record set in 1972 by Eddie McAshan against Rice. He was 22-of-30 and had two interceptions and also had 19 carries.
Clemson got three 1-yard touchdowns from Travis Zachery and quarterback Woodrow Dantzler ran for another of 22 yards and threw for scores of 17 yards to Pat Cyrgalis and 19 yards to Mal Lawyer.
The Yellow Jackets broke from a 28-28 halftime tie with a 36-yard field goal from Luke Manget early in the third quarter. Hamilton then connected with Watkins on a 9-yard scoring strike with 3:32 left for a 38-28 lead.
Hamilton made it 45-28 with a 3-yard TD strike to Wilder only 36 seconds into the fourth quarter before Clemson rallied after Tech’s much-maligned defense held Clemson to only 20 yards and no first downs in the third quarter.
The Tigers, however, made it 45-35 with 11:44 left when Dantzler, filling in for the injured Brandon Streeter, threw a 19-yard TD pass to Lawyer.
Dantzler was 13-of-24 for 185 yards and ran for 120 yards on 26 carries.
Hamilton, who was intercepted twice and fumbled once, threw his second interception with 10:05 left when he was picked off by Alex Ardley, who returned it 13 yards to Tech’s 31.
Zachery scored eight plays later from the 1 to get the Tigers within 45-42 and had another chance to win it when Clemson stopped Tech with 4:32 left.
But the Yellow Jackets stopped Clemson’s Joe Don Reames for a 4-yard loss on third-and-7 at Tech’s 43 and defensive back Chris Young knocked down a pass from Dantzler to Lawyer near the goal line on fourth down with 3:07 left.
Tech took over and ran out the clock.
Clemson still has a chance to qualify for a bowl by beating South Carolina next Saturday in coach Tommy Bowden’s first season after the Tigers finished 3-8, 1-7 in the ACC, last season.
Tech, which leads the nation in scoring (41.1 points) and total offense (508 yards), entering the game, had 537 total yards. Clemson, with its no-huddle offense, managed 428 yards against a defense that was pounded last week in a 45-38 loss to Virginia that dealt a severe blow to their Bowl Championship Series bid.
Tech can clinch second place by beating Wake Forest next week.