Clemson University

Georgia Tech will challenge Clemson with ACC’s leading rusher

Dabo Swinney previews Clemson game vs. Georgia Tech

Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney looks ahead to the game against Georgia Tech.
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Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney looks ahead to the game against Georgia Tech.

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson needs an effective runner at quarterback for his offense to be at its best.

He has one this year in Georgia native TaQuon Marshall.

The junior leads the ACC in rushing yards per game, averaging 117, and is a big reason Georgia Tech’s offense is averaging more than 100 rushing yards per game more than it did a year ago.

“He’s smart. He’s little. Sometimes he’s hard to find, but he’s really smart,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “He’s got a big ole tool belt when he walks out there every single play, and he’s got answers. It’s one thing to have the answers. It’s another thing to be able to apply them. He definitely understands what he’s doing.”

Marshall is undersized at 5-foot-10, but is speedy and elusive.

He rushed for 249 yards and five touchdowns against Tennessee, 112 yards and two touchdowns against Pittsburgh, 137 yards and one touchdown against North Carolina and 163 yards and two touchdowns against Wake Forest.

Marshall is averaging nine more rushing yards per game than Heisman winner Lamar Jackson.

“He’s very deceptive with the ball. Sometimes it’s hard to find out who’s got it,” Swinney said. “That’s why you’ve just got to tackle everybody. Just tackle them all, because you don’t know who’s got the ball. And he’s a small guy on top of it. Sometimes he just slips through the cracks. He’s a very tough player.”

Marshall has passed for five touchdowns and has yet to throw an interception.

Georgia Tech’s offense is rushing for 373 yards per game after finishing with less than 260 per game in 2015 and 2016.

“The quarterback has really made great decisions,” Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. “He shows good instincts with his decision-making, and his patience and poise is really outstanding for a young player.”