Tigers' championship hopes dashed

Orwin Smith wriggles away from Clemson’s Xavier Brewer to score one of his two first-half touchdowns for Georgia Tech.

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Orwin Smith wriggles away from Clemson’s Xavier Brewer to score one of his two first-half touchdowns for Georgia Tech.

ATLANTA — Tevin Washington rushed for 176 yards and broke the two longest runs of his career, leading Georgia Tech to a 31-17 upset of No. 6 Clemson and likely snuffing out the Tigers' national title hopes Saturday night.

The Yellow Jackets took a 24-3 halftime lead and held off Clemson, which was off to its best start since 2000. The Tigers had climbed to fifth in the BCS standings but figure to take a tumble.

The Yellow Jackets snapped a two-game skid behind their junior quarterback, who had runs of 46 and 56 yards and a touchdown among his 27 carries.

Clemson, which had scored 115 points in its two previous games, turned it over four times. Tajh Boyd threw for 295 yards, and freshman Sammy Watkins had 10 catches for 159 yards and a touchdown. It wasn't enough.

Clemson drove right down the field on its first possession before Georgia Tech stiffened at its 16, and Chandler Catanzaro hit a 34-yard field goal.

It was all Tech the rest of the first half.

The tide swung toward the Yellow Jackets when tailback D.J. Howard caught a pass out of the backfield but lost the ball just before he hit the ground. The officials initially ruled him down but changed the call after a video review. Cornerback Rod Sweeting recovered at the Clemson 19, and the Tech offense took it the rest of the way, Orwin Smith going in from the 1 on fourth down.

After forcing a Clemson punt, Washington broke off the 46-yard run — the longest of his career until his 56-yarder in the third quarter — and Georgia Tech stretched its lead to 10-3 on Justin Moore's 23-yard field goal.

The Yellow Jackets went 80 yards in 10 plays to make it 17-3 on Smith's 3-yard scoring run.

NO. 15 VA. TECH 14, DUKE 10: David Wilson rushed for 148 yards and the Hokies overcame a sloppy performance to earn their ACC-record 11th straight road victory. Logan Thomas was 17-of-28 for 190 yards with two interceptions and a 2-yard touchdown pass to Eric Martin. Josh Oglesby added a 1-yard scoring run for the Coastal Division leaders.

UNC 49, WAKE 24: Redshirt freshman Giovani Bernard scored three touchdowns and had his sixth 100-yard rushing performance to help make the host Tar Heels bowl eligible for the fourth straight season.

BC 28, MARYLAND 17: Rolandan Finch ran for 243 yards and two touchdowns, and the visiting Eagles earned their first league win of the season in a matchup of the teams with the worst overall records in the conference.

Ga. Tech 31

6 Clemson 17

Tigers' championship hopes dashed 10/29/11 [Last modified: Sunday, October 30, 2011 1:08am]

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