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Yellow Jackets try move on after dismal loss to Clemson
Clemson's C.J. Spiller (28) runs for a 50-yard touchdown in the third quarter against Georgia Tech on Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C. The Yellow Jackets fell 31-7.
ATLANTA (AP) — It’s time for Georgia Tech to move on. No more sulking about that dismal loss to Clemson.
    The Yellow Jackets actually have a bigger game this Saturday.
    While there might have been more national attention on last week’s Georgia Tech-Clemson matchup — billed as a showdown between the two best teams in Atlantic Coast Conference — the No. 21 Yellow Jackets can virtually lock up their main objective with a win over unranked Miami at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
    This one could be the Coastal Division clincher.
    ‘‘We all know that this is a big game,’’ tight end Michael Matthews said Tuesday. ‘‘We know that Miami is on our side of the conference and it’s important to win this one because it affects us greater being a divisional win as opposed to a conference win.’’
    He’s right.
    While Georgia Tech’s reputation took a prime-time beating with a 31-7 loss to Clemson, this has been the must-win game all along. If the Yellow Jackets (5-2, 3-1 ACC) can knock off troubled Miami for the second year in a row, they would only need to win two of their final three conference games to advance to the Dec. 2 conference championship in Jacksonville, Fla.
    And considering two of those games are against North Carolina (1-6, 0-4) and Duke (0-7, 0-5) — the two worst teams in the ACC — it would take a major collapse to give away a spot in the title game.
    While the Yellow Jackets don’t want to get too far ahead of themselves, coach Chan Gailey said his players are fully aware of the significance of beating the Hurricanes.
    ‘‘They understand this is a division game, and it’s bigger because you not only get a win, you also give that other team in your division a loss,’’ Gailey said. ‘‘That’s what you’re trying to do to get to the championship game. This one is a big one because it’s a division game. It’s bigger in the scheme of getting to Jacksonville than last week’s game was.’’
    Still, the loss to Clemson isn’t just a throwaway.
    Gailey knows his players, who had been riding high with a five-game winning streak, aren’t quite as sure of themselves as they were a week ago. He worries about getting back on track against a team of Miami’s caliber, even though the Hurricanes (5-2, 2-1) clearly aren’t as dominant as they once were.
    ‘‘Your confidence takes a blow when you prepare and don’t win a ballgame,’’ Gailey said. ‘‘The thing about football is that you have to live with the results of a game for an entire week before you get an opportunity to do something about it. In baseball, basketball, hockey, they wait about two days and they can go do something about it. They don’t have to think about that last one for a while.’’
    Clemson ran over the Yellow Jackets with its ‘‘Thunder and Lightning’’ backfield.
    Bruising James Davis piled up a career-best 216 yards, while speedy C.J. Spiller scored on a pair of 50-yard runs. The Tigers finished with a staggering 321 yards on the ground against a defense that had been ranked among the Top 10 nationally in that category.
    Miami’s running game isn’t nearly as challenging. The Hurricanes rank in the middle of the ACC pack with an average of 128.4 yards per game — less than half of Clemson’s nation-leading figure (260.8).
    All in all, this has been a tough year for Miami and its embattled coach, Larry Coker. The Hurricanes started with an ugly 13-10 loss to rival Florida State and were blown out 31-7 by Louisville. While they’re now on a four-game winning streak, none of the victories have been against significant opposition.
    Actually, Miami has probably hurt its reputation more over the last month, barely beating Houston (14-13) and Duke (20-15) while getting involved in a nasty, helmet-swinging brawl with Florida International that led to the suspension of 13 players.
    Twelve of those players could be back this week. Coker also left open the possibility that receiver Ryan Moore, who was suspended indefinitely on Aug. 26 for an alleged altercation with two women, could return against Georgia Tech.
    The Yellow Jackets can’t worry about Miami’s troubles. They’re still trying to get over that Death Valley debacle.
    ‘‘You can’t sit around and say ’woe is us,’ or feel sorry for yourself,’’ Gailey said. ‘‘We have to make sure we don’t dwell on it. You learn from it, drop it and get ready for the next one.’’