We'll begin with the good. Clemson's offense was clicking all around. We were able to run and throw the football at will en route to the 10th win of the season. We harp on getting to double digits in the win column and the Tigers have achieved that in just 11 games. Of equal importance, Clemson did not fall as a clear favorite all season. The Tigers beat who they were supposed to beat and didn't "pull a Clemson" by losing to a vastly inferior team. Swinney and the staff need to be commended for assuring these guys were ready to play each week regardless of the opponent. If Clemson can defeat the Gamecocks next week, there will be a clear argument that Clemson deserves a better bowl than the Peach.
So far as gameplay, the glaring item that sticks out is the piss poor play from our secondary. All of the confusion and questionable fundamentals were piss poor and marred what should have been a good end to ACC play yesterday. We gave up nearly 500 yards through the air and made Tobias Palmer look like Jerry Rice out there. Dr. B ranted about it extensively yesterday, so I will point you to his discussion on the piss poor play out of our secondary.
The secondary wasn't the only defensive problem yesterday. Clemson allowed Shadrach Thorton to run for 114 yards. As the game was actually being played, it didn't seem as though he ran that well. Nevertheless, NC State is a poor running team so giving up that many yards is troubling. Thorton's 5.4 ypc gives me some concern heading into a football game against a team that really wants to run the ball.
I would have liked to see the defensive line sack the quarterback more. We missed a couple of tackles on a largely immobile quarterback that should have been sacks and instead ended up as completions. Our tackling at times overall was poor. We saw pass catchers dragging what seemed like the entire Clemson defense. We have complained and complained about tackling for quite some time here and still have a ways to go.
Tajh Boyd had another big day, passing for 426 yards and five touchdowns in addition to running for over 100 yards and three touchdowns. Sammy had a big day and Brandon Ford reached the 100 yard mark including a 70 yard reception to effectively ice the game late in the 3rd period. Andre Ellington was a beast, churning out 124 yards on the ground. Needless to say, there were a lot of positives on offense.
We had a couple disappointing dropped passes and I thought Tajh at times stared down his primary receiver. Boyd has to work on looking off the secondary. He also had a couple poor throws that resulted in turnovers. The long pick early was Tajh just heaving the ball down the field into double coverage. I don't really mind chunking the ball down the field with our receivers but wasn't particularly excited about the deep pass over the middle of the field with lots of help back there. Overall, though, it is tough to complain too much about a 60+ point offensive effort.
On the national scene, the BCS got completely shaken up. Stanford did what few thought they could and went into Eugene to beat the Ducks. Kansas State got rolled on the road setting up Notre Dame as the #1 team in the land. I am still not sold on Notre Dame, though their wins over Stanford and Oklahoma are impressive. We all know Pitt should have beaten them and I still think that Stanford got hose, but you cannot argue with an undefeated football team. As much as I dislike Lane Kiffin and USC, I'll definitely be pulling for the Trojans this Saturday because I can't stand Notre Dame.
Your boy Les Miles is something else. You have to wonder what really goes through his head both during games and when he is talking to to the media. Last night's post game presser looked more like an audition for a play than a press conference. I guess that is what makes Les Miles Les Miles. So long as he has all the talent he has down there, Miles can pretty much do whatever he wants because LSU will keep winning despite some of the Mad Hatter's in-game stupidity.
South Carolina pulled away late against Wofford. The Terriers definitely had their chances and the game was a lot closer than the final score indicated. Regardless, I wouldn't penalize the Gamecocks for winning a close one over a Southern Conference foe. They run a relatively unique offense and give all the big teams (including Clemson) a tough time whenever they play. I'll note that Clowney was held out and we'll discuss the Gamecocks further and more in-depth all week.
I wish Jimbo Fisher would quit crying to the media. Sure the system is inadequate but the reason the Seminoles are out of the title chase is their own fault. They completely collapsed against NCST and chose to play crap for an out of conference schedule. They chose to dodge major opponents (West Virginia) and put more cupcakes on their schedule. Because they lost to a bad football team and intentionally softened their schedule, the ‘Noles get no sympathy from me.
Tennessee, Tennessee...their loss to Vandy is quite comical to me. UT got smoked. I understand the decision to part ways with Dooley following this season was made last week. After this performance, I wouldn't be surprised if Tennessee-fan let Dooley back in to Knoxville. Ever since Fat Phil turned in Bammer, it has been an uphill struggle for a program that has tons and tons of capital but limited in-state football talent. It will be interesting to see the direction that UT takes in selecting its next coach. Likewise, Arkansas is out looking for a new head man. These are two high profile jobs with schools that have a lot of cash at their disposal. The only question now is how soon can each of these programs get their new coach in his job? We will emphasize that picking the right person for the job is much more important than any single recruiting cycle.
Everyone have a nice Thanksgiving week and tune into STS for our takes on the big game this coming Saturday.