ose from a streaking Carl Hagelin, turning the pl

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ATLANTA -- For Georgia Tech, its a chance to put to rest all reminders of that dismal 2015 season.Clemson is coming to town.The Yellow Jackets may be unbeaten, but the level of competition -- Boston College, Mercer and Vanderbilt -- isnt enough to lift the cloud that still lingers over this program after last years 3-9 debacle.An upset over the No. 5 Tigers would certainly change that perception.I think were a little better than we were a year ago, coach Paul Johnson said. But this is the most talented team weve played -- by a lot.Georgia Tech (3-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) is hoping the prime-time setting Thursday will rekindle the sort of atmosphere that helped produce the only highlight a season ago.On a raucous night at Bobby Dodd Stadium, the Yellow Jackets shocked mighty Florida State 22-16 when Lance Austin returned a blocked field goal for a 78-yard touchdown as time ran out.It was one of the most memorable plays of the year.It was also Georgia Techs lone ACC victory.We always have, for night games in general, a really good atmosphere, Johnson said. Hopefully well have a good crowd on Thursday night and it will be fun for guys to go out and play.The players are eager to show -- for a national TV audience, no less -- that these Yellow Jackets are more like the 2014 team, which claimed a spot in the ACC title game and won the Orange Bowl.Theres going to be so much yelling and enthusiasm everywhere you turn, defensive end KeShun Freeman promised. If we can focus in and make plays and do what weve got to do, well be very satisfied with the outcome.Coming into its ACC opener, Clemson (3-0) is the defending conference champion and expected to challenge again for a national title. But the Tigers havent looked all that impressive, struggling to beat Auburn and Troy before blowing out South Carolina State in what was little more than a glorified practice .Another lackluster outing could put a huge dent in their championship hopes -- especially with No. 3 Louisville , the hottest team in the country, visiting Death Valley next week for what suddenly looks like a September playoff game.All eyes are going to be on us, said quarterback Deshaun Watson, who sustained a serious knee injury at Georgia Tech two years ago. Weve just got to go out and show what weve got.The Yellow Jackets rank among the top teams in the country in points allowed, surrendering just 10.3 per game. But Clemson poses a challenge at every spot on the field, from Watson at quarterback to Wayne Gallman at running back to a host of speedy receivers.Georgia Tech certainly got a taste of that last season in Clemson, when the Tigers built a 33-10 halftime lead on the way to a 43-24 romp.We were not a very good football team a year ago and they were, Johnson said. I felt sorry for our quarterback (Justin Thomas). It looked like he was the only guy who knew what was going on.Thomas is back for his senior year, leading an offense that is short on plays -- averaging about 61 per game -- but looks to control the clock and tempo with its run-oriented option scheme. That will be vital going against Clemson, which tried to maximize its weapons by getting off as many plays as possible out of a hurry-up spread.Johnson believes his offense could be as good as the one he had two years ago.I think weve got the same kind of skill position guys, he said. Our offensive line should be as good or better. Its more athletic. And weve got the same quarterback.Now, bring on Clemson.---Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at His work can be found at Sports Writer Pete Iacobelli in Clemson, South Carolina contributed to this report.---AP College Football website: Dennis Eckersley Jersey .ca NBA Power Rankings, ahead of the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs. Dave Henderson Jersey . -- The proud fathers huddled near the Dallas Stars dressing room, smiling, laughing and telling stories while wearing replica green sweaters of their sons team. . John Tavares, Thomas Vanek and Kyle Okposo were also being counted on to slow down sizzling Rangers forward Rick Nash. That plan didnt go so well early. Bruce Maxwell Jersey . Philadelphia is 2-0 against the Senators this season and scored five goals in each victory. The Flyers recorded a 5-0 win in Ottawa on Nov. 12 and then earned a 5-2 home decision on Nov. 19. The Flyers have claimed three straight and four of the last five encounters with the Sens overall and Philly has won two in a row and three of its past four tests in Canadas capital city. Chris Hatcher Jersey .Y. - General manager Billy King says the Brooklyn Nets are looking to add a big man and confirmed the team worked out centre Jason Collins, who would become the first openly gay active NBA player if signed. PITTSBURGH -- The first-ever matchup between generational stars Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid did not disappoint -- unless you were an Edmonton Oilers fan, of course -- as the 19-year-old McDavid had three assists in a losing effort as the Pittsburgh Penguins erased a 3-1 deficit and edged the Oilers 4-3 Tuesday night.Lots to appreciate about this well-played, fast-paced game, but lets first focus on McDavid, who showed little stage fright in playing his first game against Crosby, a player he idolized growing up.It wasnt just that the two first-overall draft picks, separated by a decade but forever linked by enormous expectations, were sharing the same ice for the first time -- they spent most of the night sharing the same space, too.For most of the first two periods and into the third, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan matched Crosbys line with McDavids trio. And for much of the night, it was a strategy that looked as though it might backfire, as McDavid earned assists on two goals by Jordan Eberle and one by Patrick Maroon as the Oilers jumped out to a 3-1 lead early in the second period.On all three goals, McDavid illustrated just why he has many believing he could win a scoring title in his sophomore season, using blazing speed to open up space in the neutral zone and to create odd-man situations.The play that was most impressive came late in the first period as McDavid hustled back into the Oilers zone and knocked the puck loose from a streaking Carl Hagelin, turning the play up ice before feeding Maroon with a nice backhand pass tto make it 2-1 Oilers.ddddddddddddMcDavids 17 points in 14 games have him in a tie for the scoring lead.As for Crosby, Tuesday marks the first game of the season he was held off the score sheet. But to suggest this was an off night for the star center would be to misinterpret what happened at PPG Paints Arena.It was Crosby who started the play that led to the Penguins second goal in the second period, directing a shot on net that eventually ended up as a Hagelin marker.Crosby was also working down low on the winner by Conor Sheary with less than two minutes to go in regulation, although he did not earn a point.And so Crosby will gladly take the two points in the standings -- the Penguins improve to 9-2-2 and 6-0-1 in the seven games in which Crosby has appeared this season -- even if he personally was denied points.As for McDavid, who actually made a great play to Eberle for what might have been a tying goal with netminder Cam Talbot on the bench in the waning seconds, hes got his first game against his hero under his belt and wont have to answer the same questions (or at least not as many) when the two teams meet in Edmonton on March 10.The big question for the Oilers -- who are now 9-4-1 -- and McDavid is what implications that next game may have for a team that hasnt been to the playoffs since 2006. If McDavid keeps this up, my guess is that game will have meaning far beyond Round 2 of McDavid versus Crosby. ' ' '

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