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Clemson Falls to Pitt: 2nd Quarter Film Review

A look into one of the mus gut-wrenching games the Clemson faithful has witnessed in quite some time.

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

A few thoughts before the film review:

No words. There are no words that can adequately describe how disgusted I was watching this game. Clemson was a poor excuse of a football team on Saturday, much less a poor excuse for a Playoff contender. The run blocking was awful; once again our offensive line was unable to establish a consistent running game at all, requiring the game to all fall on Deshaun Watson. Oh, he threw for nearly 600 yards; and we still lost.

Not to mention the utter lack of discipline defensively was inexcusable. Yes there were some bad calls from the refs; but defensive holding and PI on third down is not okay; especially when the ball isn’t going to be caught. We had missed tackles, lots of them. They weren’t just missed tackles; but missed 3rd down tackles.

Despite what the “experts” say about Clemson’s playoff chances; they are very much still in. The completely control their own destiny. Because of the “wow factor” that is the Louisville Cardinals, the sport media world is foaming at the mouth to get them into the playoff; it’s good television. But the biggest factor that will keep them out is that Clemson will be playing in a conference championship game, Louisville will be at home.

So, Clemson faithful, take a deep breath. Yes, this one hurt. But, we live to see another game. We know this team is full of talent; and when they are at their best...they’re just that. The Best. Clemson has two regular season games left: @Wake Forest, and home against South Carolina. This team needs to come together and remember what it felt like to watch that kick go through the uprights, as Pitt handed Clemson its first loss in two season, and channel that into a passionate drive that can take this team to the Playoff once again.


Alley = area between the OT and WR. BCB = Boundary Cornerback, Bullet = ILB A or B gap blitz. C0, C1, C2, C3, C4 (quarters) or C6 = coverage scheme by the secondary. DIME OF DOOM = 3rd down 3-2-6 havoc formation. FCB = Wide side or field cornerback. Fire = S, NB, LB blitz from the outside. Green Dog = man blitz when your man stays in to block or is not in the formation. IV= inverted veer. IZ = Inside Zone or Zone blocked play inside the tackles.Jailbreak = 7 or more blitz. LOS = Line of Scrimmage. Man = man to man coverage.OZ = outside zone run or zone blocked play off-tackle. PA = Play Action. PBU = Pass broken up. Red Dog (overload) = LB and S/NB blitz on the same side. Robber = S or LB moves to take away crossing routes. C3 Sky = SS moves up two yards, takes flat, CBs and FS take deep thirds. Soft= CBs/NB playing well off the WR until he gets to the 1st down line. Stretch= zone blocked run just inside the last offensive player on that side. Stack = the 3 LBs are stacked directly behind DL. Stalk = WR blocks DB in front of him. Sweep = RB/QB run, often FB/ H-B lead play to the D gap. TO = Triple Option. ZR = Zone read option play.


  • Thoughts within a play are separated by a comma. (,)
  • Each play is separated by an ellipsis. (...)
  • First downs are separated by a paragraph.
  • Comments on a drive are in italics.

Offensive personnel listed as a 2 digit number: # of RBs, # of TEs, # of WRs; 11 = 1 RB, 1 TE, 3 receivers; 22 = 2 RB, 2 TE, 1 receiver, etc.

Pitt ball, 15:00, Pitt 41

131 Ace vs. 4-2 Nickel, sweep left, gain of two yards…104 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, handoff left side off-tackle, no gain on the play…104 Shotgun vs. 4-2 Nickel, pass incomplete over the middle…PUNT

Clemson ball, 13:44, Clem 20

203 Pistol right vs. 4-2 Nickel, screen pass left to Scott, gain of 5…104 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, play action pass incomplete to Renfrow…104 Shotgun vs. 4-3, pass left side to Leggett, gain of 40 yards…

104 Pistol Trio vs. 4-3, 7 in the box, screen pass right side to Scott, loss of yards FLAG (Holding)…113 Pistol vs. 4-3, pass right to the flats, loss of 6 yards…104 Shotgun vs. 4-2 Nickel, pass incomplete over the middle…113 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, safety blitz, pass incomplete, FLAG (Pass Interference) …

113 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, read option hand off to Gallman, gain of 1 yard…113 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, screen pass right to Gallman, gain of 11 yards…

113 Pistol vs. 4-3, Watson play action pass to Cain, dropped incomplete…113 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, Watson keeps as the play breaks down, gain of 6 yards…104 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, Watson pass complete to McCloud, gain of 14 yards…

104 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, Watson flag route passed complete to Williams…TOUCHDOWN

Pitt ball, 10:06, Pitt 35

122 Pistol vs. 4-3, play action screen pass left, incomplete…122 Ace vs. 4-2 Nickel, pass over the middle incomplete…104 Shotgun vs 3-1 Dime, pass incomplete, FLAG (Pass Interference) …

122 Ace vs 4-2 Nickel, pass complete right side…TOUCHDOWN

There are really no words to describe the horrific attempt at a swat by Boulware, I believe he easily could have swatted the ball away, but he jumped way too early.

PAT was missed

Clemson ball, 9:26, Clem 26

113 Pistol vs. 4-3, handoff through 5 hole to Gallman, gain of 8 yards…113 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, pocket collapses on Watson, falls forward for loss of 2…113 Pistol vs 3-3 Nickel, Watson pass complete to Leggett, gain of 13 yards…

104 Trio Pistol vs 4-2 Nickel, handoff to Gallman, gain of 2 yards…104 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, Watson pass complete to McCloud, falls for loss of 1 yard…104 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, Watson pass over the middle intercepted…TURNOVER

This was yet again another overthrown pass by Watson. It did hit Deon Cain’s hand and fell into the hands of an out of position safety, but Watson must make that throw. Cain ran a perfect route into zone coverage with an 8-yard cushion in every direction.

Pitt ball, 6:40, Pitt 14

131 Ace vs. 4-3, handoff left, gain of 26 yards…113 Ace vs. 4-2 Nickel, handoff right, off tackle, gain of 5…113 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, play action, shuffle pass in the backfield, gain of 6 yards…

131 Pistol vs 4-3, handoff left side through 5 hole, gain of 3 yards…122 Pistol vs 4-3, play action, pass right incomplete…104 Shotgun vs 3-3 Nickel, Boulware blitz, pass incomplete, FLAG (Pass Interference) …

DISCLAIMER: I do not consider this game to be the refs fault. Clemson had numerous opportunities to win this game; and the flat out blew it. HOWEVER: what was the foul committed here? We saw these phantom calls several times throughout the game. These calls; instead of creating a punt, turned into points.

113 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, handoff through the 4 hole, gain of 22 yards…140 Ace hand off through A-Gap, gain of 1…122 Pistol vs. 4-3, option left, QB keeper gain of 8 yards…140 Ace vs. 4-3 Goal line package, handoff left, no gain…140 Ace vs. 4-3 Goal line, play action, pass complete to the corner…TOUCHDOWN

Clemson ball, 2:22, Clem 25

104 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, pass complete to Williams, gain of 17…

104 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, pocket collapses, Watson keeps it for gain of 8…113 Shotgun vs. 4-3, Watson ass complete to Scott, gain of 4…

104 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, Watson pass complete to Leggett, gain of 18…

104 Shotgun vs. 4-2 Nickel, pass complete to the left side to Williams, gain of 8…104 Pistol vs. 4-3, Watson pass complete to Scott on the flag route…TOUCHDOWN

This was a perfectly thrown pass from Watson. These are the kind of plays we need to see from him if we are going to continue to make a playoff run.

The final drive for Pitt included 3 10+ yard pass plays, two sacks, and a missed field goal to go into the half 28-27 Clemson.