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NC St vs. Clemson Film Review: 3rd Quarter

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NCAA Football: North Carolina State at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson Ball, Clemson 25, 15:00

1st and 10, 10 vs. 4-2, Clemson is using trips to force a linebacker out of the box, Watson should have seen that corner covering the flats, he was sitting underneath the route… INTERCEPTION, TOUCHDOWN WOLFPACK

All images via tigertv

Suboptimal

NC St. came out in this look to run a two point play before kicking a PAT, but Clemson was well adjusted.

Clemson Ball, Clemson 17, 14:45

1st and 10, 11 vs. 4-3, McCloud motions out of the slot to fake a jet sweep, inside zone to CJ Fuller… 2nd and 5, empty vs. 4-2, quick ins to the 2 WR side and Scott drops a closely defensed pass… 3rd and 5, 10 vs. 4-2, NC St. is showing a double a gap blitz, the secondary is standing at the first down marker, faked blitz and Watson is able to scramble and get just enough for a first down…

1st and 10, 11 vs. 4-2, trips away from the tight end empties the box a bit, zone read handoff… 2nd and 8, 10 vs. 4-1, Leggett’s man is being read but sort of stays between playing the dive and the quick curl, comes up and makes the tackle after a short gain… 3rd and 3, 10 vs. 4-2, both inside linebackers in the a gaps, six man rush and Deon Cain is easily open on an out route…

1st and 10, 11 vs. 4-2, Milan Richard does a good job sealing the DE on a play action roll out, the deep post to RRM3 is well covered… 2nd and 10, 10 vs. 4-2, Clemson has been able to force inside linebackers out of the box a bit with trips all game, zone read handoff…

3rd and 7, 10 vs. 4-2, Tyshon Dye leaks out of the backfield and gets just enough for a first down, NC St. is doing everything in its power to keep the ball in front of them and force Clemson to execute a sustained drive….

1st and 10, 11 vs. 4-2, bubble screen to Hunter Renfrow and he gets a few easy yards… 2nd and 5, 11 vs. 4-2, Clemson has started moving their tight ends out of the backfield and into more of a wing position, clean pocket for Watson, Renfrow finds a space between linebacker zones on a crossing route…

1st and 10, 10 stacked receivers vs. 4-1, bubble screen to Scott… 2nd and 7, 10 vs. 4-1, Jordan Leggett is open on the corner, Scat concept

1st and goal, 12 vs. 4-3, zone read handoff, ball is pulled out of Dye’s hand… FUMBLE

Clemson was able to sustain a long drive against a Wolfpack defense doing everything to force them to beat them underneath. Inside zone and bubble screens are working for 3-4 yards an attempt. Watson, while not doing well on deep balls for the game, has been able to complete a couple of impressive intermediate passes to split zones. Of course, you’ve still got to score. It is better to turn it over in their red zone than your own though.

NC St. Ball, NC St. 5, 10:16

1st and 10, 21 vs. 4-3, false start… 1st and 12, 11 vs. 4-2, Boulware moves to an edge rush position before the snap, safety drops into the box to turn this into a 4-3 under, zone read keep has nowhere to go… 2nd and 11, 11 vs. 4-2, false start… 2nd and 13, 11 vs. 4-2, thank god the pass rush gets home, to the top left of the screen you can see a tight end very aware he’s wide open, quick dump off pass to avoid a safety instead, incomplete…

3rd and 13, 10 vs. DOD, six man rush, quick out to the slot is completed but nowhere near close to a first down… PUNT

The defense gets on the field for the first time this half and quickly forces a 3 and out, NC St is struggling to block up front. Venables loves to bring pressure whenever he gets an offense against its own goal line.

Clemson Ball, NC St 44, 8:56

1st and 10, 11 vs. 4-2, NC St. has both corners pressing and rolls a safety into the line of scrimmage, C1, inside zone dive and I don’t understand why Watson wouldn’t throw the bubble screen here, there’s a huge cushion between RRM3 and the nearest unblockable defender

2nd and 6, 4-2 vs. 10, C1 MLB blitz, offensive line gets no push off the line of scrimmage but makes just enough of a crease for a short gain… 3rd and 2, 11 vs. 4-2, sprint out pass, quick out is open to Trevion Thompson…

1st and 10, 10 bunch vs. 4-1, zone read handoff, Fuller is tackled by the backside DE when he tries to cut back… 2nd and 7, 10 bunch vs. 4-1, Clemson is still able to clear the box out with trips, deep out to Mike Williams is an NFL caliber pitch and catch, he’s bracketed and it does not matter, and then Williams fumbles, and a third drive in a row ends in a turnover… FUMBLE

Most college quarterbacks can’t make this throw consistently

NC St. is allowing Clemson to drive the length of the field and betting that Clemson will turn the ball over or make the sort of mistake that kills a drive before scoring. The Wolfpack have been absolutely right (and also lucky to recover every fumble) with that bet so far. Conservative quarters coverage and keeping the ball in front of you is a time tested strategy, and an effective one since Clemson hasn’t been explosive running the ball. Those 4-1 fronts should be leading to more 6-7 yard carries.

NC St. Ball, Clemson 26, 7:07

1st and 10, 10 vs. 4-2, PA and Edmond is all over the slant to the wide side of the field… 2nd and 10, 20 vs. 4-3 under, Joseph over pursues and Boulware can’t get off a cut block once the RB cuts back, the safeties save a touchdown by dragging down Daves…

1st and goal 21 vs. 4-3, Clemson has been able to use corners to set the edge when there isn’t a WR to their side, Edmond takes on a tight end here and does just enough to force the ball back inside, Ferrell doesn’t make the play but blows up two to three blockers in the attempt, pursuit shuts the run down behind the line of scrimmage…

2nd and goal, 21 vs. 4-3, Pagano splits a double team and takes Finley down… 3rd and goal, 20 vs. DOD, RB motions out of the backfield as a misdirection, screen underneath to Jaylen Samuels, K’von Wallace sniffs it out behind the LOS… FIELD GOAL NO GOOD (Thank God for Wilkins)

The third quarter has been ugly for Clemson for a while. At some point a hole too deep to climb out of will be dug. For the most part NC St. can’t block Clemson up front, but as long as their defense gets run over slowly it doesn’t matter. Also, Christian Wilkins could do kickoffs in a pinch, I am entirely convinced of this.

Clemson Ball, Clemson 23, 4:49

1st and 10, zone read with a TE arc block, handoff to Fuller, he’s able to find a crease behind Hyatt…

1st and 10, 11 vs. 4-2, the Wolfpack are giving up a massive cushion, CJ Fuller motions out of the backfield, QB power gets stuffed at the LOS, Guillermo wasn’t able to kick out the end and he forced the play outside… 2nd and 9, 10 vs. 4-2, zone read handoff is slow played by the DE who winds up making the tackle… 3rd and 6, 10 vs. 4-2, C0 blitz, Cain is open on a slant route against soft coverage…

1st and 10, 11 vs. 4-2, the entire Wolfpack secondary is standing about eight yards from the line of scrimmage, PA pass, Leggett does a good job handling a defensive end one on one, pass interference on a deep throw to Cain…

There’s a reason Watson keeps throwing it underneath

1st and 10, 10 vs. 4-1, pitch to Fuller has no room to work, well blocked but the safety flew down to the LOS… 2nd and 9, 10 vs. 4-2, NC St. really is in love with the off man it’s been playing, another C0 blitz, another eight to ten yard out route complete, this time to Mike Williams. As long as Watson can make the throw and the defense is so committed to not getting beat deep they won’t jump the route that throw should be there… 3rd and 1, 11 vs. 4-3 under, inside zone handoff for a few yards…

1st and 10, 10 vs. 4-2, PA, Watson is almost sacked by Hyatt’s man but gets a pass off to Williams on a hitch route…

1st and 10, 10 vs. 4-2, PA speed option, Watson almost tackled from his left side again, skinny post to Leggett is complete…

1st and goal, 11 vs. 4-3 under, for the first time this quarter the read key plays the dive and Watson is able to walk into the end zone after breaking a tackle… TOUCHDOWN

I haven’t seen a team this committed to not getting beat deep. But, if they’re giving up the dive and short throws to the outside, it helps to have players who can execute those schemes. Clemson hasn’t had any issues moving the ball, just hanging onto it. The first drive they don’t shoot themselves in the foot they score.

NC St Ball, NC St 25, 1:03

1st and 10, empty vs. 4-2, trying to split the zones between Van Smith and K’Von Wallace but the WR doesn’t make a play on the ball… 2nd and 10, 10 vs. 4-2, clean pocket, good throw underneath on the hitch route… 3rd and 3, 11 vs. 4-2, the Wolfpack run flood and the flat route is open…

4th Quarter