December 18, 2018

The average drive against Clemson defense

I realize it’s only 2 games in, Kent State is a pseudo FBS team that played four corners and Auburn doesn’t light up the scoreboard.  That said, the numbers below are impressive.

Huge challenge this week with Lamar Jackson and Louisville.

Here is what the average drive for opponents have looked like in the first two games (24 drives):


Featured image courtesy gwinndavisphotos.com

3rd Down Defense – The numbers & players

As with everything we thrown out this week, there should be a competition disclaimer on the information below.

That said, the numbers are not out of line with what the Tigers typically have done in the last several seasons.

 

Below are the players that made plays on failed third down attempts.

 

Featured image courtesy gwinndavisphotos.com

 

3 and Outs

One component in measuring efficiency is the number/percent of drives that end in 3 and outs.  The reason for this is simple: you don’t get to 99 plays, like Clemson did in the National Championship game against Alabama, by running 3 plays and punting.

Typically, there are 12-17 possessions in a college football game and if you’re on the high end of that range, you would have to average just shy of 6 plays per possession to get to 99.  The number of plays alone is not always indicative of winning, but it does give you a better chance of ending up with more yards and that does correlate to winning, especially for efficient offenses like 2016 Clemson.

For the 2016 Clemson Tigers it’s pretty clear that the defense was on a mission after the Pittsburgh debacle, forcing 3 and outs on at least 41.7% of opponent drives in each game from that point forward.

On the offensive side, it’s interesting to note that as much as the Tigers struggling early was a storyline for ESPN, Clemson only had three 3 and outs the entire game against what was billed by some the best defense in the history of college football.  By this measure the Tigers struggled more against Auburn, Troy, Louisville, Boston College, N.C. State, Florida State, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and Ohio State than they did against mighty Bama.

The offensive numbers also show what we all saw with our eyes – the offense struggled at Auburn and even at home against Troy, but was a juggernaut for the most part post-Florida State.

A note on counting drives and 3 and outs:

  1. “EOH” means end of half, where a team did not attempt to score (generally a kneel down or victory formation) – these were not counted as “drives” for the purpose of this exercise.
  2. End of half drives of less than 3 plays where a team attempted to be competitive were counted. While this is can be subjective this type of possession are few and far between.
  3. Drives of 1 or 2 plays that ended with a turnover are considered “3 and outs” for these purposes. The general idea of the stat is a first down was not gained when the offense was trying to gain a first down.

Clemson-Alabama Preview & Prediction

 

The Clemson program has been waiting for this rematch for a full year and here it is. Despite their victory a year ago, several of the Alabama contingent were disappointed in their defensive performance and are looking to send a message this go round. Can Clemson end their 35-year title drought or will Alabama make it back-to-back championships? Read below to get caught up to speed on everything you need to know before Monday’s kickoff…

 

Every Clemson Fan’s Christmas Wishlist

The Aftermath: Clemson-42 Virginia Tech-35

Clemson junior QB Deshaun Watson led the Tigers to their 2nd straight ACC Title with 5 touchdowns (Photo via Robert Cannon/UPI)

Clemson junior QB Deshaun Watson led the Tigers to their 2nd straight ACC Title with 5 touchdowns (Photo via Robert Cannon/UPI)

 

The SUR Crew of Marty Coleman, Matt Wilczewski, and Chris Cox weigh in following Clemson’s hard fought win to earn their second straight ACC Championship…

On the heels of Clemson’s second straight ACC Championship, talk a little about what this program has accomplished in the last 5-6 years. Is it reasonable to expect it to continue?

MW: I think the most difficult part of building a program is the climb to reach that “elite” status. Once you’re there, as Clemson currently is, you have recruiting points such as conference titles, NFL draft picks, and general recognition that provides a significant boost to your recruiting efforts. Not to mention, the revenue brought in that stems from continued success turns into innovative facilities. But as the other have mentioned, take a moment as a Clemson fan to appreciate this era of football. The last time Clemson played VT, I was a student and absolutely ecstatic to be able to witness my school secure an ACC Championship Title in 2011. Saturday night? I was happy, sure, but I was simply relieved more than anything. There was now the expectation to win an ACC Championship, rather than just hope. With a few significant losses after 2016, it’s understandable to see some sort of drop-off, but the foundation has been built for this program to be successful and have continued championship aspirations in the future.

MC: Sometimes I think the state of the program and what they’ve accomplished in the last 6 years is underappreciated by Clemson fans, including me.  I remember when Texas was on their run and good friends of mine who are Texas alums thought it would never end.  Enjoy these times ladies and gents. As Dabo said, these are the good old days of Clemson football. I can see 9 or 10 win seasons continuing, but back to back playoff appearances and 26-2 over two seasons?  That’s a tough ask, especially with the sheer volume of talent leaving on offense after this season – Watson, Williams, Leggett, Gallman, Scott (and Guillermo).

CC: When you’re in the midst of greatness I think it’s easy for perspective to get lost. Up until 2011, I had never seen Clemson win an ACC Title in my lifetime. Now I’ve seen 3 in 6 years. Add in the 3 straight wins over SC, 2 straight over FSU, back-to-back CFB Playoff appearances, and it’s truly amazing what this program has accomplished. Oh, I should mention the icing on the cake could be right around the corner. As far as being able to continue this success I think it’s reasonable to expect a 8 or 9 win “dropoff” at some point, but the foundation has been laid for this program to remain nationally relevant for the foreseeable future. Also, recruiting is actually getting better and the new football operations facility is only going to help moving forward.

Obviously the talk over the course of the next week will center around Deshaun Watson’s Heisman hopes. It would appear he’s done enough over the back half of the schedule to at least make things interesting against Louisville’s Lamar Jackson. What are your thoughts?

MW: I think Jackson’s ungodly stats will still win out over Watson’s final shot. As others have mentioned, several voters have already voted and I’m sure many others made up their mind prior to the ACC Championship game. Watson has had his fair share of turnovers, and honestly his success and high expectations from the end of last season didn’t help him either. Watson will get another trip to NY, though, and continue to help to put Clemson the map.

MC: 9% of voters had mailed in their ballot before the ACC Championship Game was even played. Jackson is going to win the trophy.  One thing though, next year don’t tell me it’s about the best player on the best team.  

CC: Probably too little to late as most voters, through the national media, seem to have made their minds up a month or so ago. Watson will still make the trek to New York, but I anticipate a similar result as last year. While Jackson certainly has the numbers, I think Watson’s resume could and should be a trump card. I also believe the interceptions will be #4’s undoing.

Speaking of Watson, he played at an extremely high level versus the Hokies outside of a tipped pass that was intercepted. We also finally saw a sense of urgency from him on the ground which is something we’ve talked about a lot lately in this segment. What does running the football do for Watson and this Clemson offense in general?

MW: Opens everything up. You’re forced to honor Watson, Gallman, and the passing game. I mean, once Watson starts having success, how does when even defend the RPO? It’s certainly a pivotal part to this Clemson offense, and one that they’ll have to rely on moving into the playoffs.

MC: Watson seems to “own” the game a little more when he’s a part of the running game. Sounds ridiculous, I know – he’s the QB how can he not “own” the game.  There’s a glint in his eye, a pep in his step.  I think he likes the physical aspect of it.  We saw the effect on the zone read after a few runs from Gallman. Watson pulled it and gained big yards as the defense moved towards Gallman.  Simply put, it’s the difference between winning and losing (against the better teams).

CC: At times earlier in the year I thought Watson looked extremely passive in the run game. He was giving himself up early and didn’t seem to be too interested. That’s certainly changed over the last few games, and it could very well be by design. When he shows the ability to hurt you on the ground he makes this offense virtually unstoppable. Heck, VT all but eliminated Gallman outside of 3 or 4 carries. It didn’t matter though because Watson was there to pick up the slack. Another thing I noticed last night was how strong Watson has become as evidenced by a couple stiff arms to shed would be tacklers. Kid is something special.

Wayne Gallman may not have had the game he wanted, but the Tigers still found a way to pound on a respectable 182 yards on the ground. We talked about Watson above, but what about reserve RB CJ Fuller who seems to be really gaining some confidence. What have you seen change in his game and Is he the guy next Fall?

MW: He hits the hole quickly, and runs with solid power. I think his vision and patience, ability to create when the hole he’s looking for isn’t there. I anticipate him getting the nod as the starter going into next fall, but I’d imagine it’s very much a RB by committee effort as Feaster emerges as well.

MC: I’ve been impressed with C.J. Fuller ever since he became the clear second option. He appears confident and the moments don’t seem too big for him.  He’s limited in the big play capability, but he’s a solid number two.

CC: He’s just a guy that seems to run through the line with reckless abandon. If the OL gives him some space he’s going to hit it and hit it hard. At 220lbs he can get moving pretty well. Granted, he’s not one that seems able to create a hole when there’s not one, which is what makes Gallman so special. Looking ahead to next year I’m not sure how he’d respond in a starting role, but I think he’s proven himself to be a viable option in this offense moving forward.

With 7 receptions against the Hokies Artavis Scott moved into a tie for Clemson’s all-time career receptions record (240). The offense really seemed to be clicking when Scott was involved on the first 3 drives, but they seemed to go in a different direction in the 2nd quarter where things began to stall. Share your thoughts on what #3 means to this team.

MW: It’s another way of opening up the offense. The jet sweeps, quick screens, are all just branches of the run game. Not only that, but Scott tends to make something happen more often than not. He’s smart, has vision, strength, and is elusive. Rarely does a play to Artavis end up behind the line of scrimmage. Positive yards open up the playbook, and when you’re able to pick up 4-5 yards on a quick play to Scott, 2nd and 3rd down quickly become more manageable. Feed him and points will end up on the scoreboard.

MC: Ahh, my sore spot.  Bold statement: This offense runs through Artavis Scott.  As Matt pointed out last night, they don’t even have to be big plays. 3 yard gains suffice sometimes to spread out the defense and open up the run game.  3 receptions on the first drive, 2 on the second and both ended in touchdowns.  Sometimes I think the play callers decide to “distribute” the ball rather than keep doing what’s working until it’s stopped.  If Artavis is getting the ball, Clemson is in good shape.

CC: I’ve know this is one of Marty’s favorite talking points in regards to the 2016 Tigers and I’m starting to see where he’s coming from. We’ve come to learn that when Scott touches the ball good things happen. And truth be told it really doesn’t matter how you get it to him. Screens, jet sweep, slants, quick outs, returns, you name it. This is an example of a kid who won’t truly be appreciated until he’s gone. I look at him as the “glue guy” that’s held together some of Clemson’s most prolific offenses.

It was an up and down night for the defense. Talk about what you saw out this bunch in the 1st and 3rd quarters when they seemed to have Justin Fuente’s offense by the throat?

MW: Like Chris said, everything runs through the front 4. When they can disrupt and create a pass rush by themselves, it allows Venables to be creative. He can place extra defenders in coverage, knowing he can still get pressure on the QB, or he can create even more chaos by way of blitz.

MC: The defense came out playing with emotion and sacked Evans on the first play of the game.  That set the tone early, until Dorian O’Daniel’s ejection. I think the ejection changed the game and shifted momentum.  It seems like a defense that defends well when things go their way, but when they don’t it goes downhill quickly.  On the other hand, I prefer this brand of defense over the previous regimes and I’ll tell you why.  Sacks are drive killers and Clemson is 3rd in the nation in sacks per game.  Yes, you’re going to get burnt from time to time, but be aggressive when the situation dictates.  Matt and I chuckled preseason about this group reaching the 2015 sack total, but guess what? Could happen on New Year’s Eve.

CC: When things were going well Clemson’s front 4 were setting up camp in the Hokies backfield. Watkins, Lawrence, Wilkins, and Ferrell had their way in the trenches causing plays to be disrupted before they even got started. That’s where it all starts for the Tigers as it takes pressure off the secondary and gives guys like Boulware and Joseph open lanes to blitz.  

On the contrary, where did things go wrong for the Brent Venables’ defense? Did the absences of O’Daniel, Pagano, and Yeargin have a big impact?

MW: Pagano and Yargin from a depth perspective, certainly. The front 4 could’ve used a breather after a few of VT’s more sustained drives. O’Daniel was without a doubt the biggest, mainly due to his athleticism and ability to play in coverage. It was obvious that Fuente noted his absence and picked on Jalen Williams in pass coverage the remainder of the night.

MC: Absolutely on O’Daniel, most probably on Pagano and not sure on Yeargin. The game changed when O’Daniel went out.  He’s such an athletic, talented, unique defender that it’s impossible to replace him.  Pagano, far from the headlines, busts some heads in the middle time after time. There were several penalties and momentum changers, but defenses have to fight through that. Disappointed that they let it get closer, but absolutely confident they would get a stop when needed. Conflicted for sure.

CC: While O’Daniel’s ejection was quite costly in terms of momentum, I keep going back to the “Cover 11” on a long 3rd down that led to a quick touchdown. On that play, Boulware said the defense was anticipating a screen based on VT’s formation and didn’t really know what to do when it never came. From that point on Jerod Evans seemed to play like a man on a mission, and his offensive line seemed to come alive as well. I certainly think the absence of the aforementioned players was huge. O’Daniel is Clemson’s most athletic linebacker and both reserve defensive linemen would have helped spell a Tiger DL that seemed to tire in the game’s final quarter.

At this point would you like to see Clemson allocate a scholarship to bringing in a punter? A simple yes or no answer will be suffice.

MW: Yes.

MC: Yes.

CC: Yes.

Tigers and Buckeyes. What’s your early thoughts on this colossal matchup?

MW: It’s gonna be a good one. Both teams are extremely talented, I’ll go ahead and say that Ohio State will likely get the edge in SUR’s “Depth Stars” segment. They’ve recruited extremely well. As far as early predictions, none here, as I’ll need to watch a few Ohio State games to get a better feel for this team. However, Ohio State ranked 63rd in the nation in sacks allowed is a nice early stat to see.

MC: I like Clemson’s chances.  My numbers give a slight edge to Clemson, they’re playing in a familiar location with playoff experienced key players. I haven’t seen enough Ohio State to think through matchups at this point.

CC: At first glance I’m thinking points, points, and some more points. Both teams have elite skill position players and quarterbacks that can negate good defenses. I can’t speak much on the Buckeyes mindset, but I do know this is what the entire Clemson program has been waiting on for almost a year. I expect they’ll bring their A-game.

Players of the Game (Offense & Defense)

MW: Deshaun Watson & Cordrea Tankersley

MC: Deshaun Watson & Dexter Lawrence

CC: Deshaun Watson & Carlos Watkins

Play of the Game:

MW: Renfrow’s third down catch.

MC: Renfrow’s fingertip catch on 2nd and 19 from the Clemson 16 up 35-28. Without that it’s 3rd and 19 from your own 16.

CC: Run-pass-option touchdown pass from Watson to Renfrow to put the Tigers up 14 with 7:33 to play.

Clemson vs. Virginia Tech Preview & Prediction

VT Preview

 

For the second consecutive year Clemson finds themselves playing in primetime for an ACC Title. The last time these two teams met with the ACC Championship trophy on the line Clemson prevailed in blowout fashion. Justin Fuente and his Hokies would love nothing more than to exact revenge and spoil the Tigers playoff hopes. Catch up on everything you need to know before Saturday’s 8pm kick in this week’s preview below…

 

The Aftermath: Pitt-43 Clemson-42

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, Jeff Scott and the players watch the final seconds from the sidelines. The Clemson Tigers played host to the Pittsburgh Panthers at Memorial Stadium, Saturday, November 12, 2016. Gwinn Davis / The Post and Courier

Clemson coaches Dabo Swinney, Brent Venables, and Jeff Scott (Photo via Gwinn Davis/gwinndavisphotos.com)

 

The SUR Crew of Marty Coleman, Chris Cox, and Matt Wilczewski recap Clemson’s first regular season loss in nearly two years…

After 10 games, give me your 2-minute analysis of this Clemson team

MC: I’m not sure what to make of this team at this point. Good? Lucky? Flawed? Unlucky? Probably a bit of all of the above, but I don’t think they’ve played up to their potential. Or maybe they have and I just don’t realize it. The next two weeks will show me what this team is made of.  Every team is different and this team struggles putting teams away.  Hats off to Pitt – they brought it.

CC: I think this is an extremely talented football team that can’t seem to get out of their own way. Gimme turnovers, a non-existent running game, and the defense’s inability to cover the RB/TE have been recurring themes to the season. The fact they’ve been able to make it this far before getting caught tells me the Tigers are either really, really lucky or they’re actually a pretty damn good team. I think the turnovers are fixable. Especially the red zone turnovers. I don’t know about the bigger picture things like running the football and the lack of pass defense. The good news for Clemson fans is they still have one hell of a quarterback in Deshaun Watson and one hell of a DC in Brent Venables.

MW: An abundance of talent paired with a lack of execution. And I’m not sure if that will get shored up at some point, especially now with a loss, or if this Clemson team IS what we’ve seen through the season thus far. Fortunately for these Tigers, they’re two games away from playing in the ACC Championship and likely still control their own destiny as far as their playoff chances go. This could EASILY be a 2, 3, 4 loss team at this point in the season considering all of the mistakes made throughout the year, so just 1 loss at this point and time is quite fortunate. Execution must get better and the turnovers must get shored up. If those two occur, this team is still one of the most talented and dangerous teams in the entire country.

 

We’ve praised Brent Venables a lot, and one game doesn’t change the big picture, but what did Pittsburgh do that was so difficult to stop?

MC:  First and foremost – props to Matt Canada and the entire Pitt offense. Great game plan, great execution.  The linebackers in coverage has been an issue all season, but I was surprised to see the shuffle pass work repeatedly with seemingly no response from Clemson until late in the game.  It was reminiscent of past Clemson defenses: Opponent finds a crack and exploits it all game with little or no adjustments, at least that were visible.  I was disappointed in a Venables defense for the first time in a long time.  

CC: Let me start by saying Matt Canada deserves some serious praise for the scheme he brought to Death Valley yesterday. The massive shifts, play action, shovel pass, and ability to get favorable matchups downfield were all executed to near perfection. We’ve seen teams have success against Venables defense, but I don’t know if we’ve ever seen a group have the kind of success in a half of football as Pitt did in the first 30 minutes. Joseph and Boulware were flat out exposed in pass coverage. Pitt challenged Clemson in 1-on-1 coverage as well that seemed to result in a positive result more times than not by way of penalty. Oh, and that James Conner guy is a load. At times I thought it looked like Clemson defenders wanted nothing to do with tackling him, but maybe that was just me. Clemson actually adjusted well in the 2nd half, but turnovers and penalties were equalizers.

MW: Canada put together a strong scheme to create mismatches and take advantage of the natural aggressiveness of a Venables defense. Everyone knows that the biggest weakness of Clemson’s defense is the linebackers in pass coverage, which Canada went after. Add that into motion and shuffle passes to beat the pass rush, a few fortunate penalties, and James Conner, and their offense did just enough to find a win.

 

Pretty hard to believe Clemson could drop a game in which Deshaun Watson set an ACC record for passing yards. Despite his big day there appeared to be lapses in judgement that resulted in his second 3-interception game of the year. Let’s discuss his play below.

MC:  I’m at a complete loss.  Part of me thinks he is so confident in himself and his receivers that he tries to fit passes where they should never be thrown.  Part of me thinks he’s not good at understanding coverages, but I’m certainly no expert in that realm.  The biggest surprise to me is the judgement and lack of understanding the game situation.  The game was there for Clemson to win and it was given away. You’re up by 8 on the opponents 3 yard line with less than 6 minutes to play.  How do you throw that pass?

CC: Deshaun Watson is the most talented quarterback to play at Clemson, but that’s not to say he’s perfect. I’ve spent some time thinking about the turnover bug that’s bit him repeatedly this Fall and my best guess is that he just get’s a little too comfortable. Like Marty said, I’m no expert in breaking down coverages and I would imagine it’s the most difficult part of the QB position to master. With that said, it appears to me that Watson is committed to one player and one route at times. That results in him forcing some unwarranted throws. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Underneath coverage seems to go unnoticed by #4 and is something he’ll have to straighten out if he intends to play at the next level. Let’s also remember that he was also asked to throw the ball 70 times yesterday and set several records in doing so. Kid’s special and he’s a winner. I think we’ll see that going down the stretch.

MW: Well, he’s bound to make some mistakes when asked to throw 70 times. However, I do believe that he trusts his pre-snap read and arm too much, and has difficulty pulling away from those two factors when the defense makes an unexpected change. Locking into receivers and forcing the issue isn’t the way to go, and teams have often started to drop defenders underneath in hopes that Watson will make a re-occuring error. He just needs to relax, dial it in a bit, and try to avoid forcing throws.

 

On a more positive note let’s talk about the dominance of Clemson WR Mike Williams. How does he stack up against past Tiger greats, and what are your thoughts on his draft status at this time?

MC: I tweeted that the only thing that could stop Mike Williams Saturday was the play calling.  It’s difficult for me to compare him to other Tiger greats because he’s a different, more physical receiver.  He does drop some “easy” passes, but  I expect Williams to be in the top 2 wide receivers taken in the draft.

CC: That was as dominant a WR performance as I can remember for a Clemson WR. 15 receptions 202 yards and a touchdown. What those numbers don’t show is the number of 50/50 balls that he went up and got. While he obviously doesn’t have the flash of guys like Watkins or Bryant she’s got to be up there with Hopkins in terms of guys who brutalize defenses with crisp routes and body control. We hear the term body control tossed around a lot, but few guys are able to consistently use it create favorable opportunities to catch the ball like Williams does. Don’t believe me? Watch him on a simple slant route and you can see what I’m talking about. Williams is truly a special player, and his performances this year may have pushed him into the Top 10 next April.

MW: He’s a top 10 draft pick. Speed, size, possession, big play ability. Really all you could ask for in a professional wide receiver. I also liken him to Hopkins in his body control and ability to go up and win 50-50 balls. As far as stacking up against former Tigers, it’s hard to say whether or not he’s at the top or not, but I do believe he has the potential to be the best NFL receiver of all of them.

 

With the upsets Saturday night what seemed like a season crushing loss could end up being a spark that propels Clemson toward the playoffs.  How do you think this team responds next Saturday?

MC:  I think they respond big against an outmanned Wake team that left a lot on the field vs. Louisville.  If the Tigers don’t respond it’s pretty simple: They don’t belong in the playoff.

CC: Wake gave the Cardinals all they wanted for 45 minutes before the wheels fell off. Now they have to turn around and face a Clemson team coming off their first regular season loss in 2 years. That same team is also playing for the ACC Atlantic and has no wiggle room for playoff consideration. The talent gap is enormous. So yeah, probably not an ideal situation for Wake. Throughout the years I’ve come to appreciate the way Dabo runs this program, and I truly believe they respond in a big way next Saturday night.

MW: We’ll find out if a loss was what this team needed to finally wake up. I like to think Dabo will have them ready and they’ll respond well. Anything less than putting this Demon Deacon team away well before the fourth quarter, and I’ll be quite concerned.

 

Moving forward what do the Tigers need to improve on to be a legitimate threat for the National Championship?

MC:  I’m not sure what you can do about the linebackers in coverage, it is what it is.  That said, if you stop turning the ball over, you’ll get enough stops to win most games.  Alabama is miles ahead of everyone else at this point, but in a one game scenario you never know what can happen, just ask Pittsburgh.

CC: Stop turning the ball over. That’s the key. Clemson has an elite passing game and an average running game. Clemson has a dominant pass rush and average pass coverage. That’s where they are and that’s likely who they are. Cutting out turnovers creates more opportunities for yourself and eliminates opportunities for your opponents. I truly believe it’s that simple.

MW: Execution and eliminating turnovers. Execution especially in the run game, which will better open up the passing game. Take away the turnovers from yesterday, especially those in the redzone, and the scoreboard wouldn’t even be close. These guys are good, really good, one of the best in the country. They just have to shore a few things up to take the next step.

 

Across the board, can you recall a conference officiating crew being more controversial than the ACC’s this year? A simple yes or no should be suffice.

MC: No.

CC: No.

MW: No.

 

In closing feel free to add any other takeaways or commentary from Saturday’s contest.

MC: We can talk about officials, but Clemson has gotten it’s share of calls and should have put this one away about 4 times.  We all knew the Tigers were living on the edge and most of us knew it was going to catch up with them at some point. Saturday was that day.

CC: We didn’t talk about it above, but Clemson’s inability to convert on 3rd or 4th and short was gutting. I’m honestly stunned that the staff elected to go with pitch plays behind either true freshman tackle on back to back plays. Nonetheless, the coaches expect those guys to execute. They didn’t. Also, hats off to the Panthers who didn’t blink inside of Death Valley on Saturday. We’ve seen a lot of teams buckle, but they did not.

MW: Props to Pittsburgh, they came to play and never let the big moment get to them. The run game must improve, and ideally the return of both Hyatt and Fruhmorgen will help greatly. I’ll echo Chris’ sentiments at the pitch plays, especially when using the jumbo package. Takes longer to develop and allows more time for the defense to react, along with putting pressure on true freshmen tackles. Maybe this game becomes a blessing in disguise, providing the opportunity for a reality check and re-focusing prior to the final stretch in the season. Clemson received quite the gifts with Michigan and Washington losing, likely having the opportunity to lose a game and still control their own playoff destiny.

 

Players of the Game (Offense & Defense)

MC: Mike Williams, Dorian O’Daniel

CC: Mike Williams, Dorian O’Daniel

MW: Mike Williams, Dorian O’Daniel

 

Play of the Game

MC: Failed 4th down attempt. 1 yard ends the game and the Tigers failed to get it.

CC: Watson’s goal line pick by Saleem Brightwell was the game-changer for Pitt

MW: Watson’s goal line pick and big return for Pittsburgh. Momentum swing.

Clemson vs. Boston College Preview & Prediction

BC Preview

 

With the emotional high of the Louisville win beginning to wear off, the Tigers will take flight to Chesnut Hill for a rare Friday night matchup. It’ll be interesting to see if Clemson can carry momentum to build on the big win, or if they’ll let the Eagles catch them with a hangover. Read this week’s preview to get up to speed on all you need to know for this week’s matchup.

 

Clemson vs. Georgia Tech Preview & Prediction

GT Preview

 

As conference play arrives Clemson will look to shake the remaining cobwebs in an effort to reverse a curse that spans the course of an entire decade. Read this week’s preview below for an in-depth look into the matchup between two undefeated ACC rivals.