Clemson jumps out to a 28-10 lead at the end of the 1st and cruises the rest of the way at Wallace Wade Stadium.
Well lets look at the numbers: 718 total yards of offense, 379 passing on 21/29 completions and 339 rushing at 6.5 ypc and 34 1st downs. Hard not to be very happy with that kind of performance. I think the primary thing that we did better that I was really hoping to see was the commitment to running the football. It appeared that we got a bit pass happy in some periods, probably because Duke was leaving men open 50 yards downfield, but once we had the lead we went to the run game and had great success with it. We could've had 1000 yards tonight if The Chad wanted it.
Probably the only things you could point to for us to work on were the turnovers, there were 4 in total. One INT on Cooper himself when he had the ball taken away from him was the worst one. A meaningless one was basically an armpunt at the end of the 1st half.
It appeared that Clemson wanted to establish the run early and unfortunately we lost Andre Ellington to a hamstring injury after his first carry for 26 yards. He could possibly have returned in the 2nd half, but with the lead there was no need to push him. D.J. Howard and Hot Rod carried the ball thereafter and did well enough against what was really a bad defensive front 6.
It was really nice to see Howard and McDowell get some numbers in the carry column so we could get a better idea of their abilities. Howard runs hard but tends to tiptoe into a hole instead of hitting it, and both of them run far too upright into a hole. If Howard lowers his pad level he could be a capable #1 back next season if Zac Brooks is not heavy enough to take it. Brooks also needs to try to bring his pad level down as he carries the ball. Out of 52 carries, the RBs got 13, 13, and 12. Tajh carried it 9 times. Brooks needs to be getting a few carries in each game and hasn't gotten much of anything this season since the Furman game.
The secondary did about as well as I'd expected. Duke can throw the ball around and their receivers ran very very good routes tonight. It just looks that much better when you put them against our pitiful back 7 play. DBs still can't play the ball in the air, they get sucked up on play-action, and their footwork is absolutely dreadful. I see guys opening their hips one way and the receiver is going the other direction, and we're constantly getting caught with our eyes in the backfield and not the receiver. Footwork confusion is what gave them the initial separation on the long TD pass against Brewer, and he did not appear to have help inside. I wouldn't hold it harshly against him even though his job is to stay on top of that route and not try to jump a stop route, the other guy was just faster and he guessed wrong. Not many Corners are talented enough to make up for that. If he had guessed right its an incompletion or possibly an INT.
In the 2nd half it was primarily garbage time, and you could see Duke kind of wanted it over as well, and just ran the ball a lot more. They did get some yardage initially with the run game but for the most part the run defense was pretty good. Duke generated just 85 yards on the ground.
Nuk Hopkins crossed the 1000 yard mark and recorded a Clemson record 22nd receiving TD on the night. Sammy Watkins finished with 97 yards receiving and Tajh Boyd set a Clemson record for most TDs. 500 of our 718 yards were by halftime.
The film review this week will probably be short, no need to cover the entire game in review, but we will look at the performances of some of the backups in garbage time.