Huge victory to start this season off and keep the hopes of a BCS National Title alive for the Clemson Tigers. Clemson became the first team outside the SEC to defeat two Top 10 SEC opponents consecutively.
The game went almost as I expected. A little jittery to start and then a track meet until the end. Our defense bowed up for a while but the offense didn't capitalize on it quickly. Georgia responded to every score until the end, but a turnover here and there really made the difference. I wouldn't drop Georgia in the polls but you all know the AP and Coaches polls will hammer them more than they deserve.
The first thing I wanted to discuss was the play of our RBs, particularly Hot Rod McDowell. When I saw him at Sumter HS he ran more like he did tonight, and we haven't seen it at Clemson at all from him. He ran his ass off against Georgia tonight. It was the game of his career and if he can run that hard the rest of this season this rush offense will soar above where Ellington took it. Zac Brooks whiffed on a block or two, but he also ran hard inside and both surpassed my expectations.
Tajh Boyd had a good night against a good opponent. He threw behind his receiver in the flats a few times but he would've had another TD pass, or maybe 2, if Martavis Bryant and Charone Peake could bring in catchable passes. This needs to be corrected because those two were the 3rd down threats that could've extended drives. Sammy isn't going to get them all and we need a real threat opposite him.
I thought the OL played pretty good on the run, we opened enough holes and Hot Rod churned up Georgia's front, but pass protection needs improvement. Tajh didn't have enough time tonight to find open receivers, or I think we'd have broken 50 points.
This defense though....it needs a lot of work. On the whole, we were not gap sound tonight at the 2nd and 3rd level of the defense. When Gurley went out, we made an adjustment, and brought more intensity to the point of attack, but towards the end you could see them lose some of their legs and Gurley came back in and killed them thereafter. The DL was good for large parts of this game, but the linebackers did NOT show that they're worlds better than last year. I was really hoping for better. Travis Blanks was partly responsible for both long runs because he couldn't fill his gap properly behind the backers. Both he and Shuey were right there on Gurley's long run and neither touched him.
In the secondary I'm sure you all saw how much green space sat between UGA receivers and our defensive backs. Venables backed us off 7-10 in soft zone and Murray picked it apart, but there were still too many guys running free in the middle of the field, and I had hoped Blanks would fix some of this. Exactly why Venables backs us up 7 on 3rd and 5 is escaping me, maybe if the DBs became more aggressive it would work as designed, but for now its a free 1st down.
As it is, I can't say that I'm shocked the defense gave up 35, but I was very happy they choked UGA for several possessions. There is at least something to build on here and we shouldn't face an offense this good for awhile. They will have time to fix some of the problems while the offense continues to stomp asses the rest of this year.
Tonight is a night to enjoy. We haven't beaten someone this good at home since we kicked Florida State's ass in 2003. We have probably the best QB in Clemson history and definitely the best offensive coordinator with an arsenal of weapons and a solidified run game.
Please do not start the "ACC! ACC!" chants like complete idiots though, unless your friend is a Clucker and does it to you, in which case you get up in his damn face and scream at the top of your lungs. Then he should thank you for Clemson softening up UGA for SC next weekend.