It has been 13 years since Clemson last won at Georgia Tech, a span of five games dating to September of 2003.
The Tigers are tired of being asked about the streak, which was the topic of media sessions all week. They are ready to start one of their own against the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta.
“We pretty much are tired of hearing about it,” Clemson defensive lineman Christian Wilkins said. “We want to do all we can to end the streak.”
The last time Clemson won at Georgia Tech, current Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott was playing wide receiver for the Tigers.
He caught five passes for 31 yards and a touchdown in the game as Clemson won, 39-3. Since then, it has been all Tech in the series in Atlanta.
“We’re aware of how long it’s been. … We’re reminded of that, but each year is a new team and a new opportunity,” Elliott said. “We have to go down there and create our own legacy.”
Elliott never lost at Georgia Tech as a player, but the Tigers have been searching for a win there since.
With his experience as a player and coach at Bobby Dodd Stadium, Elliott knows what makes it a tough place to play.
“It’s a neat little environment,” he said. “It’s not a big environment, but they get loud and crank the music up and they are always excited when they play Clemson.”
The Tigers have had plenty of opportunities to end the streak, but suffered a handful of heartbreaking losses over the past several years.
In 2005, Clemson turned the ball over four times in a 10-9 loss. Two years later, the Tigers managed only 228 yards of offense and fell 13-3.
In 2009, Clemson trailed 24-0 early before storming back, only to lose 30-27.
Clemson was 8-0 entering the game in 2011, but turned the ball over four times in a 31-17 loss. And two years ago, Deshaun Watson was injured in the first quarter as the Tigers threw two interceptions which were returned for touchdowns and fell 28-6. The loss in 2014 is the last regular season loss for the Tigers.
Clemson receiver Ray-Ray McCloud is friends with members of Georgia Tech’s team and had to hear about the streak in the offseason.
“During the summer, when I was down, there they were saying things about how we haven’t beaten them down there since 2003,” he said.
In its previous five games at Georgia Tech, Clemson has turned the ball over an average of three times per game.
“We just haven’t played well down there. There’s really no magic to it,” Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said. “If you score for Georgia Tech, you’re in for a long night. You can’t turn the ball over. You’ve got to win that margin. … It’s usually the same recipe for defeat there as it is anywhere else.”
Clemson is hoping for a new topic of discussion come late Thursday night.
“It’s been brought up quite a lot,” linebacker Kendall Joseph said. “It’s time to end the streak and that’s our goal.”
Clemson’s losing streak against
Georgia Tech in Atlanta:
Ga. Tech 10, Clemson 9
Ga. Tech 13, Clemson 3
Ga. Tech 30, Clemson 27
Ga. Tech 31, Clemson 17
Ga, Tech 28, Clemson 6