Clemson clocks Georgia Tech behind career day from Davis

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) -- With a little "Thunder" and

"Lightning," Clemson showed who's tops in the Atlantic Coast


Paging Mr. Johnson

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Since a season-opening loss to Notre Dame on national television, Georgia Tech has done two things: win five straight and climb back into the AP top 15. Much of the Jackets' recent success can be attributed to the play of star wide receiver Calvin Johnson. With eight of the team's 10 receiving touchdowns entering Saturday, Johnson has been quarterback Reggie Ball's go-to playmaker. On Saturday, the 6-5 junior was nowhere to be found, as he failed to record a catch for the first time in his career. Take a look at Johnson's season stats and see if you can figure out why Tech was only able to muster seven points against Clemson.

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Behind James "Thunder" Davis, C.J. "Lightning" Spiller and a

defense that held Georgia Tech star Calvin Johnson without a catch

for the first time in his career, the 12th-ranked Tigers got a

surprisingly easy 31-7 victory over the 13th-ranked Yellow Jackets

on Saturday.

The powerful Davis rushed for a career high 216 yards and two

touchdowns. The quick, elusive Spiller had a 50-yard touchdown run

and a 50-yard TD catch. And the Tigers defense made sure they

didn't hear Johnson's name very much in the game after hearing it

all week long at practice.

"If I had a nickel for every time they said, 'Calvin Johnson,'

I'd have a lot of money in my pocket," Clemson linebacker Antonio

Clay said.

Davis and Spiller proved that some of the league's best

offensive stars are in Clemson's backfield.

Davis, the Atlantic Coast Conference's leading rusher, got the

Tigers (7-1, 4-1 ACC) scoring started with a 2-yard TD run and

finished with his seventh career 100-yard rushing game. Spiller

added a 50-yard scoring run in the third quarter and answered the

Yellow Jackets' (5-2, 3-1) only score with a 50-yard catch and run

to help Clemson to its sixth straight victory.

Davis is an Atlanta native who talked quite a bit this week

about having a big game against his hometown school. "I wanted

this one a lot," he said. "I thought about it all the time."

He gained 66 of Clemson's 71 yards on its first TD drive, ending

things with a 2-yard scoring run. In the second half with Clemson

ahead 10-0, Davis opened the series with a 22-yard run and Spiller

finished it a play later with the first of his two 50-yard scores.

"It's a pretty good feeling to have running backs like James

Davis and C.J. Spiller," Clemson offensive lineman Barry

Richardson said. "Whey you have two backs making plays like they

did tonight, it makes us tough to beat."

When it was over, Davis told everyone still watching about

Clemson's "Thunder" and "Lightning" pairing. "How's that

sound?" he said. "Can't we get a little hype on that?"

The Georgia Tech-Clemson rivalry has typically been one of the

league's most exciting with nine of the games since 1996 decided by

five points or less.

Davis, Spiller and the Tigers' D turned this one into a runaway.

The Tigers clamped down on Johnson, who came in leading the

conference with 35 catches for 559 yards, yet was never much of a

factor in the showdown between the ACC's highest-ranked teams.

Johnson made a name for himself as a freshman at Death Valley

two years ago, catching three touchdown passes including the

game-winner in the final moments of the Yellow Jackets' 28-24

victory. He entered this one with three straight 100-yard receiving

games, all Tech victories, and looked like he would again wreak

havoc on the Tigers when he drew a pass interference penalty on

Tech's first play.

But that was it. Johnson didn't catch either ball thrown to him

in the second half.

Johnson did not talk to reporters after the game. "We just

didn't make plays and they did. That's all it is," Georgia Tech

quarterback Reggie Ball said several times.

Georgia Tech closed to 17-7 in the fourth quarter when its other

receiving Johnson, James, hauled in a 35-yard pass off Clemson

defender Crezdon Butler with 13:31 left.

Spiller, a freshman, ended all thoughts of a comeback when he

took Will Proctor's flip pass, stopped to let the defenders slide

past and headed down the right sideline for the score and a 24-7


Davis finished the scoring, setting up his own 5-yard touchdown

with a 54-yard run. Davis has 16 touchdowns this season, two shy of

Travis Zachery's school record set in 2000.

Spiller had 116 yards, his third game with more than 100 yards


Clemson outgained Georgia Tech 426 yards to 205.

It was just the second-ever matchup of teams ranked in the top

13 at Death Valley, and the Tigers took advantage. Clemson fans

filled Bowman Field 10 hours before kickoff, then the Tigers came

out after warmups in all-purple uniforms -- a color scheme school

officials said hadn't been used in the "modern era" of football.

The Tigers had their first-half struggles. Proctor was

intercepted by Djay Jones to end Clemson's opening possession and a

second-quarter drive ended on Tyler Grisham's fumble.

The only sign of offensive life was Davis' touchdown drive. The

sophomore gained 66 of the Tigers 71 yards on the series, ending

things in the end zone with a 2-yard scoring run.

Davis spent the rest of the half on the sidelines, slowed by a

hard hit on the drive that caused his shoulder pads to need an

adjustment. He sat on a back bench with his gear off as trainers

took the pads back to the locker room.

Georgia Tech tried to get Calvin Johnson involved in several

ways. He took a pitch on Clemson's 19 and lost four yards in a

drive that ended with a missed field goal.