It started with a complete domination, the likes of which I have not seen in some time. Clemson, yes you heard right, Clemson, came out and blew the other team off the ball.
Sure, we have beaten up on the Sisters of the Poor from time to time, but this was a quality team and we absolutely owned them in the first half in every facet of the game.
But then...something we've seen before, once or twice...
It happened. The inevitable 3rd quarter collapse, where, no matter how much we were crushing the opposition, we essentially quit in the 3rd quarter and let them entirely back into the game. Of course, it might not always be the 3rd quarter. Sometimes we spot the opposition a quarter of play in the beginning.
Their morale was crushed, the stadium was silenced. They went in at halftime a beaten team. So we came out in the 3rd, and did we continue to stomp them while they were down? Did we blow them out for another 24 points?No, we did absolutely nothing for a full quarter. It was as if a different team put on the jerseys and just showed up for 15 minutes.
The wrap up tackles and big hits turned into arm grabs and misses. The DL couldn't even get close enough to their QB to read his jersey. The push from the OL was transformed into a push in the wrong direction. We quit playing the same football, for some reason. Maybe Auburn "made adjustments." Do we have to wait for 24 unanswered points before we do?!?!?
But to our players' credit, they fought back in the 4th quarter. Kyle Parker unbelievably was able to battle on, despite being crushed by an illegal spearing helmet to the back. They battled back and took it to OT. This in itself was a remarkable feat. Many other Clemson teams would have gone on to lose by 30 points.
And there, even with several chances to win, there had to be the inevitable screwups. Jiggle the ball before the snap, and take the tying FG off the board. Miss the ensuing FG. Game over.
This game should never ever have been in OT. We should have put it away in the 3rd quarter. Instead we gave it away.
The positives were:
- Parker can throw, and he is a hero for toughing out this game. He did his job. No picks or fumbles or stupid run backward sacks.
- Ellington can seriously run. He should be getting the carries until Harper stops playing flag football.
- Our defense is capable of getting pressure, and they are capable of tackling.
- Harper can catch a pass, and so can Dwayne Allen.
- The OC can come up with some good play calls.
The negatives were:
- Harper runs sideways and will not use his power nearly enough. That is about as politely as I can put it.
- We for some reason abandon schemes that seem to be unstoppable. When we are winning with power football, suddenly we go to an empty set and throw to WRs who can't catch simple passes.
- Our receivers drop too many easy balls that are in their hands.
- We stop playing for a quarter and expect beat a team? Or maybe it's because they "made adjustments." OK, why the hell can't we make adjustments.
- We somehow found a way to lose a game that should have been a 30-point victory.