Georgia Tech’s defense thought it had finally made an impact play against Clemson’s offense in Thursday’s 26-7 loss at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Leading 14-0 and facing first-and-15 on the 16-yard line, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson and receiver Mike Williams miscommunicated. Williams ran to the 5-yard line and cut outside. Watson threw as if Williams was supposed to keep running down the field. Watson’s pass was intercepted by Tech cornerback Lance Austin in the end zone.
Austin ran out to the 1-yard line, where teammate Corey Griffin tried to leap over him. However, Griffin hit the ball, knocking it from Austin’s arm and back into the end zone. Austin recovered the fumble but was tackled for a safety, giving the Tigers a 16-0 lead with two minutes remaining.
Austin didn’t have many answers after the game, saying “I don’t know” to most of the questions about the play.
“It was kind of a freak thing,” coach Paul Johnson said. “He probably should have stayed in there.”
Following Tech’s kick off, Clemson drove 72 yards and tacked on another touchdown to take a 23-0 lead with four seconds remaining in the half.
It was the second consecutive game in the series against Clemson that Tech has given up a safety. The Tigers’ Jadar Johnson blocked a Ryan Rodwell punt that led to a safety in last year’s 43-24 Tech loss at Clemson.