September 14, 2002
(Clemson, South Carolina-AP) -- Derrick Hamilton ran for 97 yards and a touchdown and set up another with a 79-yard punt return as Clemson held on for a 24-to-19 win over Georgia Tech this afternoon.
Eric Sampson intercepted a pass from A-J Suggs with a minute to go to seal the win. He bailed out quarterback Willie Simmons, who fumbled a snap as the Tigers were trying to run out the clock. Once again, the game was decided by a single score, though the previous six games between the teams were all decided by three points.
Clemson's Yusef Kelly, again playing for injured starter Bernard Rambert, ran for 89 yards on 20 carries. Clemson's defense harassed Suggs all day, sacking him five times. And when they didn't get pressure on Suggs, the junior transfer from Tennessee struggled to find open receivers, going 17-for-31 for 201 yards.
The offensive bright spot for the Yellow Jackets was Tony Hollings, who ran for 147 yards on 23 carries. But the Tigers held him to just 44 yards in the second half. Georgia Tech's only other offensive threat was Kerry Watkins, who caught seven passes for 139 yards. Hollings scored from a yard out with 3:43 to play, cutting the lead to 24-to-19, but the two-point conversion attempt failed.
With the Yellow Jackets out of time-outs, Clemson tried to run out the clock. But Simmons fumbled a snap near midfield, giving Georgia Tech its final shot. Hamilton had two big plays in the first half, running 77 yards for Clemson's first touchdown. His long punt return set up a touchdown late in the second quarter that gave Clemson a 17-to-6 halftime lead.
On their first possession of the second half, the Tigers took a 24-to-6 lead on Simmons' 44-yard touchdown pass to Tony Elliot. Georgia Tech responded with an 11-play, 78-yard drive capped by a seven-yard touchdown pass to John Foschi that cut the Yellow Jackets' deficit to 24-to-