Not a whole lot you can say about games like this, Ball State was just outmatched like I thought they were going into it. And what a kick by Spencer Benton! New ACC and Clemson record.
Tajh Boyd and DeAndre Hopkins both destroyed the Ball State secondary, and I dont think anyone, including FSU, can cover both Hopkins and Watkins when he returns to action. Cole Stoudt had one or two bad throws but hit 12 of 18 passes and another good TD drive. The only thing that would stop the passing game is the pass blocking, even though BSU couldn't really challenge us in that department. Both Boyd and Hopkins had outstanding days today and the offense capitalized on every screwup Ball State made. It was nice to see the offense not play down to the opponent in the first half. 45 points is what they should be scoring against teams like BSU, and they should duplicate it next weekend against Furman.
We were very efficient, but not exactly dominant up front. BSU was doing some things to try to take away the run, but the offensive line was not blowing them off the ball like they were last weekend, especially after David Beasley went down with an ankle injury. In the first half, AE was limited to under 4 ypc on 13 carries. In the second half the defense they presented us was very run-friendly, an Odd front 5-0-5/6 with 2 deep LBs, and we could not generate any more running game than earlier. The backups couldn't even get 4ypc against that. I was not impressed with the 2nd and 3rd team OL, but again, they need snaps before you can make any fair judgement. The offense still generated 500+ yards on 80+ plays, so its not like they were terrible.
Martavis Bryant needs to step his game up however. I don't want to see a WR that is clearly scared of contact. He's big enough that this should not be a problem, but he doesn't want to block and doesn't look like he wants to get tackled. Adam Humphries has half the talent and looks like he plays twice as hard.
Despite the energy we generated in the first half, the defense just could not match the level of focus for 60 minutes. Ball State had only 128 yards passing, but while I thought we were improved in the secondary, the real reason they had only 128 was that the QB sucked ass. For whatever reason he couldn't get a grip on the ball to throw it, and they couldnt exploit anything.
What scares me though is the run defense. Ball State racked up 252 yards rushing, 6.3 ypc, and gashed us repeatedly on cutbacks. The backside LB is still not staying home. The problem I saw was the same that gashed us against Auburn, which I talked about in the film review. The LBs are not paralyzed and standing still as much as last year for sure, but the overpursuit is bad, the angles are bad, and the 'backers are coming up into gaps where the RB aint, and get themselves washed out. Stephone Anthony had a bad day against the run because of this. He'd run up into the A-gap and the RB cuts it back to the B, and no one is home. Willard still overpursues from the backside LB spot, and when he's already passed the outside hip of the RB theres no one left that can tackle him until he gets to the secondary (which still takes horrid angles).
If we do not fix the run defense problem, then we won't fix the pass defense. If teams can run the ball on you they'll just run it all day, and you'll be forced to bring 8 or 9 up, and then they'll kill you deep. The back 7 are aggressive, but not disciplined at all. If we're going to let teams run the ball, they'll play keep-away and our offense won't get the ball. One or two 3 & outs in that situation and you end up losing the game, so this run defense has to get better.
No, for those who are flipping out now, I am not being too down on the team. the first half was very good except for the run defense. We could've had 2 or 3 more INTs that we just missed and Darius Robinson played better. We have problems to fix and they can be fixed. It won't be completely fixed in two weeks but it can be fixed. We'll see if Venables can correct the angles and discipline.
I will say though, once again, that Raycom sucks ass. Its such a wonderful thing that our Illustrious Commish gave this High School organization a nice "in" with the ESPN contract, so they can feed back the money to UNC, because clearly they don't spend it on announcers or equipment upgrades to send out the TV feed. Why is it that at least once per year, when they come to Clemson, they screw up something? The signal went out repeatedly, the announcers have not looked at the roster and didn't practice the names of anyone, they say things that make NO SENSE half the time, and the picture quality looks like I took it with my Iphone. If it had stormed in Clemson, they would have lost the feed completely just like Boston College a few years ago when we missed almost the whole second half. If they cannot connect the camera to the sat truck, and then hit the satellite, then don't send their sorry asses to cover the games.