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Game Film Review: SC State @ Clemson

Tyler Smith

Not much need to do a full review for a 1-AA team, and the defense played so well that I won't have a play-by-play review of the defensive drives. Only in a few cases will I point out things I see.

ESPN Play-by-Play

CU from 25 - Quick slant to Bryant for 11...Power for 7...PA pass to Smith up the seam, the LB tipped it away. Pass was a little low for that window...Swing route to Hot Rod for 2, inadequate block by Peake...Power for 3 on 4th down...Tajh drops back and pressure forces him out for 7, looked like good coverage...Shovel pass to Seckinger for 10...IZ for 8. Beasley beaten bad off the snap but Hot Rod cut it back...WR screen to Sammy for 4...Bucksweep for 2, bad block by Beasley, Brooks also needed to go harder outside...Tajh throws to Bryant down sideline incomplete. Great coverage...Slant to Bryant thrown low and in the ground. 28 yd FG Catman. 3-0 Clemson. 13 plays 54 yards, 3:40.

Just not crisp enough. Blocks need more effort. Little things stuffed this drive. They had good coverage but our guys should be able to get themselves open against SC State.

2-3 missed tackles on ensuing KO. Bad lane discipline.

SCST at 25 - Smith was a little off in coverage allowing an 11 yd completion...Taylor hits Blanks and drives him backwards 4 yards, but Crawford strips the ball and Anthony recovers. 5 plays 24.

CU at their 49 - Flag route to Bryant for 27. C2 and thrown perfectly...Counter for 7..Boyd misses Peake at the 3. Throw was not a smart one...Sammy comes across out of the backfield and catches a 2 yard pass...TO CU. We couldn't figure out what to do on 4th & 1...Power play and Hot Rod doesn't hit the hole quite hard enough, but that LB should not have gotten past Thomas (playing Right side) and a pulling Beasley. Turnover on downs. 5 plays 36, 1:11.

Fine call, bad line play. Boyd was perfect on the flag route and nowhere close on Peake.

SCST at 13 - Bad angles by the dropping DTs on a zone blitz allow QB to run for 10, one was Watkins. Punt. 6 plays 16.

Excellent penetration on the drive.

CU from 43 - Screen to Sammy for 13...Bucksweep, Battle completely whipped on backside block and HOward loses 5...Screen pass to Howard for 7. We should run this type of screen more...Another flag route to Peake for 18 against C2...Power Howard for 2, poor block by Destefano but he could've cut this outside and gained more...Flag route to Humph for 21...QB Sneak for TD. 10-0 Clemson. 7 plays 57 yards, 2:08.

Accuracy was better from Tajh, but this 2nd team OL needed to block better than I see. Battle's block was absolutely pitiful and he was beaten on an inside move. The Power call didn't get enough push on the right side.

SCST at 25 - Delay of game, then this interception by Martin Jenkins. 17-0 Clemson.

SCST at 25 - Excellent tackling, excellent penetration. 3 plays -4.

CU at 17 - Darrell Smith in the flats, pass tipped and incomplete...Hot Rod drops a swing pass...Boyd scrambles and takes a loss. Punt.

Boyd needed to throw that away, he had ample time. WRs should've been able to get open though.

SCST at 34 - VB bats away a pass...Anthony made a nice play on a TFL. 3 plays -2.

CU at 34 - Power by Hot Rod for 3, but if he had followed his blockers he gets at least 6. End 1st QTR...Boyd steps up for 2. Coverage tight...Slant thrown behind Sammy. 3 plays 5 yards.

Guys just not getting open.

SCST at 20 - Poor tackle attempt allows 7 yard run. Darius Robinson takes a Christian-tipped pass back for TD. 24-0 Clemson.

SCST at 25 - Poor tackle attempt by Beasley, back gets 8...McDonald was running free on QB scramble, he didnt see him. On the next play McDonald runs a slant up the seam for 63 yd TD. 24-7 Clemson. 6 plays 75 yards. 2:44.

Blanks gave too much cushion on this drive, not just the play. It was Man-Free coverage and Smith playing the FS spot. Blanks gave him the seam, which you never do, and was in no position to make a play.

Smith then completely botched the tackle that is his job to make as the FS help.

CU from 12 - Bucksweep for 7...Power for 3...Counter for 9...Sack. We got beat off right tackle by a late blitz. Shaq Anthony should've let Webster take the End and taken the blitzer outside...Quick out to Seckinger for 14...Webster bad block, guy comes off the edge and nails Tajh Boyd. Boyd still hit Humph for 7...Stoudt comes in...WR screen to AH for 1. Poor block by GHop...Quick slant to Matt Porter for 5...Post route to Bryant for 24...Screen to AH for 3...Botched play on a handoff, but we had a pass option for the QB in the flat. Stoudt hit Peake for 5...Power for 3...IZ for 5...Power for 1...Stoudt finds Peake at the back of the end zone for TD. 31-7 Clemson. 15 plays 88 yards, 5:48.

Backup OL in there this drive. Best drive of the game.

SCST from 25 - Anthony misses tackle, RB gets 8...Garry Peters great play reading a screen pass, loss of 3...Zone blitz, Anthony comes off tackle for a sack. 5 plays 3 yds.

CU from 23 - Power for 4...Boyd scrambles for 3...Bryant 9 route, makes a jump catch for 25...WR screen to AH for 8...WR screen, thrown over GHop's head...Power for 10, broke outside to sideline...Pass deflected over the very middle on a deep post to Hopper...Bucksweep for 8. Hot Rod took a helmet-shot...Stretch play for 19 yard TD, good blocking at 2nd level, good WR blocking. 38-7 Clemson. 8 plays 77 yards, 2:01.

SCST at 10 - Carlos Watkins missed a tackle, RB gets 12...two plays later he makes the initial contact on a TFL.


Defense was outstanding. Mostly Man-free because we're not scared of SC State. Richard Cue is not a good enough QB to make us pay for being off in coverage.

Defensive front is dominating them. Nearly every snap we get someone in the backfield. Its mostly our DTs punishing their interior line.

SC State is sticking primarily with C2, man and zone. I'm not able to see all the routes, but our guys are not getting open downfield. Against a 1-AA opponent that shouldn't be happening. Sammy should be open all day.

1st team OL very inconsistent. They don't want to play hard. 2nd team OL wants to but they make more mistakes.

Tajh Boyd - 14/23 for 169 yds.

Start 3rd QTR.

SCST at 25 - Jarrett blows up a blocker for a TFL. 3 plays 5 yards

CU from 37 - Power for 14. Center pulled around into the hole outside...Again for 4...WR screen to AH for 5...Power for 8...IZ for 5...IZ for 10..Stoudt throws a PA pass over Leggett's head in the flat...Flag route to Germone Hopper for a 17 yd TD. 45-7 Clemson. 8 plays 63 yards, 1:43.

Nice throw by Stoudt, beautiful drive from the 2nd team OL.

SCST from 15 - 3 plays 1 yard.

CU from 33 - WR Screen to GHop for 5...Eric Mac Lain gets killed by a speed rush, Stoudt sacked and fumbles at the 35.

Mac Lain needed to step out and force the rusher wide, didn't move his feet properly.

SC ST from our 35 - Shaq Lawson nice TFL. Beat his man inside. Punt.

CU from 10 - Power for 5...Chad Kelly QB Power for 8...Leggett quick out for 6...Kelly too high for Leggett on a scissors pattern down the sideline...State jumps, we snap it early. Kelly too wide on a rollout for Hopper to catch. Punt. 5 plays 19 yards 1:45.

State did jump, but the man got back just before we snapped it.

3-4 missed tackles on punt return.

SCST from 41 - Kellen Jones gets a sack on an X blitz with Boulware. 3 plays -6.

CU from 30 - WR screen to GHop for 5...Blitzer comes free into Kelly's face, forces incomplete throw. RB needed to pick him up...Thrown behind Leggett. Punt. 3 plays 5 yards.

SCST at 13 - Kellen Jones another TFL...Missed tackle by Jadar Johnson allows 12 yard run up the middle...Taylor Watson misses tackle to allow 14 yard run. Not sure Jones went to the right gap...Jones another initial hit on TFL. 7 plays 33 yards.

CU from 17 - Stoudt back in at QB. Touch pass to Hopper for 9...Start 4th QTR. Bucksweep for 4...Out/hitch to Mike Williams for 14...Screen to Williams for 4...Davidson in the flats for 8...Checkdown to JJ McCullough for 4...Power for 2...Swing route to Davidson for 5...IZ for 2...Out to JJ for 5...Touch pass to GHop for 4...WR screen to TJ Green, thrown too low, Safety got there and forced him down as he caught the ball. Loss of 4...Germone Hopper down the sideline for 26 yd TD. 52-7 Clemson, 13 plays 83 yards 4:01.

Another very nice throw by Stoudt.

SCST from 25 - Blitz, Shaq Lawson gets there at same time as Kellen Jones for a loss of 9. Steward was in there. 3 plays -4 yards.

CU from 37 - Chad Kelly in. Screen to Rodriguez for 5. May have been a backwards pass or lateral...IZ for 2...Davidson misses his block badly, Kelly sacked. Punt. 3 plays 0 yards.

SCST from 20 - Jerrodd Williams batted pass away...Slant to McDonald for 13, threw where a blitzer was coming from. Kearse barely made the tackle...Jones another good tackle at the LOS, nearly a TFL...McDonald runs right by Williams for 51 yd TD. 52-13 Clemson. 9 plays 80 yards, 3:37.

Williams was playing zone, let the man go behind him because he was looking at the backfield. Forgot to sink with #1 as he was supposed to. Safety Jadar Johnson must've wanted to play patty-cake with the receiver because he ran up and forgot to hit him. If he runs full speed he knocks McDonald out of bounds.

No need to go further, Schuessler is in for a drive, then SC State runs 3 plays for 3 yards to end the game.

Summarizing Thoughts

Last week I praised the effort of the whole team. This week I can't praise the first team offense. It was all a lack of effort on their parts.

Tajh Boyd was not accurate, but as Chad says, he was more interested in making big plays and pretty throws for TDs instead of taking what the defense gave him. Folks may forget for a moment that 40-60% of our completed passes in any given game are simply WR Screens. In the past, Chad has forced those plays and told him to take them. Today he had those and other open throws and didn't take them. He wanted the Heisman-level game and if he'd have just taken what a defense gives him, he'd probably have had a Heisman-level stat line. Cole Stoudt took those and played within the system, and he looked as good as Tajh should have.

WRs didn't get open deep, and SC State was playing good coverage with primarily 2 Zone. Frankly, the Safety they had on one side played a damn good ballgame and might be a guy the NFL takes a look at if he keeps that up. I still think there was an effort component on the part of our receivers as much as it was on Tajh for not playing within the system on this day.

First team OL was hot garbage. No sugarcoating that. They must have imagined State was going to roll over for them. They should've been blowing State off the ball and did not. Hot Rod would have more yards today if he follows his blockers.

Just "off" in so many little areas that it didn't look like what we had hoped to see from Clemson against a 1-AA team.

2nd team OL had their issues but they played hard. CJ Davidson showed that he deserves a few carries. He's not going to unseat Brooks or McDowell yet, but he ran hard and has speed to play ball. Amongst the backups, it was probably Germone Hopper that stood out the most.

DLine dominated, start to finish. Didn't see guys out of their gaps. Linebackers played well, but in some areas they may have been too aggressive and a good team would've made them pay for jumping gaps the way they did. CB's continued to play physical, and given that it has happened two weeks in a row, is probably the first good evidence I can see from Reed's coaching. Harbison's guys never liked to get in your face.

Safeties have to get better though. This is critical. We need them to be able to handle their fits and make the tackle in space, and two glaring examples otherwise resulted in 14 points for State. You may say that Jadar Johnson won't play much as a backup, but backups are still going to get 10-30 snaps a game in a secondary full of freshmen. As for why Smith is playing Free, I can only guess that the staff doesn't think he can handle M2M coverage like Blanks could.

I'm really hoping that the staff doesn't go too easy on them during the off week, NC State will play above the level they showed so far, and will play inspired on a Thursday night at home. If the first team OL plays like this again, the game could be in doubt much longer than I want it to be.