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Clemson Thrashes South Carolina Gamecocks in Historic Victory

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We are all witnesses...

South Carolina v Clemson
Who’s the Master??
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Oh, what a night.

Dabo Swinney is a very kind man. He is one of the most genuine, compassionate, charitable coaches you will ever find. But....he has also had to endure some serious disrespect from South Carolina fans during his 5 straight losses to USCjr. (known commonly as 5 bombing). Then you add in what Coach Muschamp and his staff have tried to say about Clemson on the recruiting trail (all kinds of nonsense and peddling of half-truths to high school players and coaches at USCjr and UF). That level of disrespect hasn’t sat well with Coach Swinney. This wasn’t just a game; this was personal.

I was surprised to see that Coach Swinney actually displayed a great deal of restraint in pulling his starters out early. This could have been a 70-80 point win without much trouble at all. Deshaun Watson could have easily thrown a few more TDs to try and pad his Heisman bid.

But.......the team that literally framed a taunting penalty (and sold it to the collective fanbase), calling it ‘The Taunt’, is now whining about decorum and disrespect? According to his players, Coach Muschamp didn’t take kindly to the fact that Clemson used a timeout and a penalty to honor the winningest seniors in the history of Clemson football so the they could get a standing ovation from the crowd. They didn’t play a down and when the seniors on offense left the game, they were replaced by the 3rd string QB Kelly Bryant and WALK-ON offensive lineman and WRs. USCjr fans are upset we ‘ran up the score’ on them?? You had your starting defense in the game, Clemson ran the ball on consecutive plays, and you couldn’t stop the SCOUT team offensive line?? Guys who have barely played a snap all year?

Oh, the humanity!?

Bottom-line: The score was run up because your starting defense couldn’t handle our second string guys in the 3rd Q and 4th and 5th string guys in the 4th.

Pathetic.

Deshaunie Heisman??

A couple of weeks ago I would have said that Watson didn’t have a chance at the Heisman. He had too many interceptions and didn’t have the running stats to even compare to Lamar Jackson. Well, USCjr gave Watson his best performance to date with 6 passing TDs and LJ has tumbled—free-fallin’ even.

Voters need to remember their buyers remorse last year after DW clearly outplayed Derrick Henry in the National Championship game. So many voters said they would have had DW on top, that he would have won if the voting took place later. Well, the voters have a chance to make it right. DW doesn’t have the rushing numbers or total TDs that Jackson has, but Watson has the head to head win. He has his team poised to make a run at the natty, while Jackson fumbled away a win against Kentucky.

Who would you rather have as your QB in the final minute of a game leading your team down the field? The answer is unequivocally Deshaun Watson. Who is the only QB in college football who has withstood the vaunted Bama defense? It’s Watson. My point is that the Heisman isn’t just about stats, and voters often gravitate to the candidate who ‘deserves’ the Heisman based on their entire body of work in their career and things like ‘leadership’. If that is the metric than DW has a strong case to be the Heisman winner if he can convincingly beat VT.

People also don’t know that DW’s knee was banged up to start the season (part of the reason he didn’t run more) and that the shoulder really has bothered him since the Cuse game. Right now, to my knowledge, he is fully healthy and the offense is obviously clicking.

Negatives

Lets get all of the bad things out of the way. This will be really quick.

We got a FG blocked. Cain dropped an easy TD and then committed an offensive PI on a borderline shove (that he really didn’t need to do) on another potential TD. Leggett let one get away from him that he could have laid out for that got tipped and intercepted. Boulware didn’t scoop and score on what would have been the most ridiculous TD celebration of all-time, I’m sure. Umm...USCjr scored once on a drive with a trick play where Jabril Robinson was getting pushed around as an undersized DT. K’von Wallace showed some serious speed and pursuit to the QB on a blitz, but then forgot to wrap up and just rammed Jakey Bentley with his shoulder. I only mention it because there have been a couple times this year where Wallace hasn’t wrapped up properly. Great hit though...Carter had a PI. DO’D should have caught that tipped ball on the first drive, an easy interception dropped.

In summary, nothing went wrong during the entire game. This was an amazing display of complete and total dominance.

It was beautiful.

Positives

Everything.

Offense

All of my complaints and gripes were addressed during this game.

We displayed a killer instinct and stomped the life out of the chickens at the end of the first half.

What. A. Drive. Hitting the sideline like pros. It took Watson and company 39 seconds to drive 80 yards. That was just precision from DW. Remember, this supposedly was the 17th best pass defense in the country going into the game. Supposedly. This broke the backs of the already spineless, gutless chickens.

We need to talk about the blocking. We must have spent time these past two weeks getting back to some fundamentals. WR blocking was so improved today. I saw very few busts. TE blocking was improved. I saw Leggett blocking so much better.

Oline blocking?? Hallelujah. Sure, there were a few blown assignments on some stunts that weren’t picked up, but that was some real blocking. David Pollack justifiably called out the Oline on Gameday, saying they need to show more will and ‘get nasty’ up front, kick the crap out of some people, show some determination.

We all got what we were wishing for all season.

Everyone on the line was getting push and very few guys were getting blown off the line. Part of that equation was true freshman Big John Simpson stepping in and being extremely physical. I love his effort; he doesn’t stop playing until the whistle (he and Hyatt are the best at this). I was so sad to see the air-cast put on him at the end of the game. I am happy that there was no fracture or ligament damage, and hopefully the prognosis stays positive and he can play in the playoff.

At the 8:41 mark in the 3rd Q, Simpson completely pancakes USCjr’s #18 Keir Thomas. My true freshman is way better than your freshman. My favorite Oline block of the season. Simpson had a few mental hiccups, but he is going to be very good if he can stay healthy.

Deshaun Watson’s butt block was my second favorite block of the season.

Jordan Leggett should win the Mackey award. Bama’s OJ Howard has 404 yards on 35 receptions and only 2 TDs. Jake Butt has 518 yards on 43 receptions and 4 TDs. Leggett has 588 yards on 34 receptions and 5 TDs. Leggett also gets to play another game.

Mike Williams. Mike got the hat trick. Mike was left off the Biletnikoff award finalist list for best WR. No offense to Northwestern’s Austin Carr, or East Carolina’s Jones but I’ve never even heard of you. Dede Westbrook has those 15 TDs but how many were scored in Oklahoma’s biggest games? None against Houston or Ohio State. Williams looked like a first round draft pick tonight.

The ride MW gave to King into the endzone will live on forever in Clemson football infamy. That was big brother football. Giving a little back ride to the little bro. How about “The Ride” (I’m sure someone will come up with something better)??

We finally got some jet sweeps and RPO action out to Scott in the flats. Great blocking and we took that easy stuff and ran the ball down their throats until we got easy one on one matchups down the field. WRs got separation all night. Just Lovely.

Gallman really made some nice cuts on running plays. Displayed great vision along with his scrappy, tough running. DJ Smith gave him a good shot but on the play his leg got hit a bit and that is why he was out of the game (no head injury). Should be alright for the ACC Championship, but will need that recovery time for the playoff.

I’ve got to hand it to CJ Fuller. What a catch. He made some tough runs as well and hung on to the ball. I really liked what I saw from Feaster as well. He will be an elite back next season. Even Dye had some tough running yards.

Thompson had some nice grabs. Garrett Williams got into the game more and was effective overall in blocking. Just lots to like across the board.

I so wanted Cornell Powell to have a good night just to rub it in Luggy’s face (and by that I mean tweeting something at him). Powell is next in line to breakout though.

The Clemson offense was so good on 3rd down. Clemson was 10/15 for the game, good for 66%, but they were even better in the first half. We got slants, we averaged almost 9 yards on first downs in the first half, we went over the top. I’ve watched the game like four times already.

Defense

52 total yards in the first half? What else needs to be said?

The defensive line shut down the run and rattled young Bentley. He threw some ducks early and paid for it with a great interception by Jadar Johnson (boy has he had a great season). Bentley wasn’t ready for Clemson’s Dline and pressure. Watkins and Wilkins were able to bat down balls that could have been key completions. Bentley struggled all half to make quick decisions after the interception and the pressure BV sent. With no running game and no easy completions or time in the pocket to let things develop downfield—Bentley was getting pummeled.

The defensive line seemed fresh and really had great pursuit to the ball, great motors in this game. They really dominated up front. Zach Bailey (a Clemson target) is a good Guard for USCjr and probably the best player on their offense, but he could not move Dexter Lawrence at all.

I fought DLaw and DLaw won (and then he sacked Bentley).

Austin Bryant is finally returning to form. I loved that we were able to get him so many snaps and then get guys rest in the second half.

This was Ben Boulware’s kind of game. He was able to attack and get home better than at any point in the second half of the season.

Albert Huggins looked much more explosive today and held up at the point of attack.

A Trayvon Mullen sighting! Mullen is finally healthy and played very well. He was physical in coverage, but wasn’t grabbing and held up on the perimeter. He pushed his total snaps over 100 for the season. I think he will continue to grab more playing time.

Marcus Edmond was also back after battling some nagging injuries in the second half of the season. He had a great batted ball on a deep throw from Brandon Macciillvainn, the former future Deshaun Watson candidate and savior of USC football, relegated to the bench. He replaced the former former future DW Lorenzo Nunez who is becoming a WR.

We got to see why some guys don’t see the field all that much. It was great to see them all get playing time and still see the USCjr offense unable to score points. Sterling Johnson is very slow. JD Davis struggles with his agility and lateral quickness. Amir Trapp is tiny. Denzel Johnson needs to bulk up a bit. Tre Lamar got in some great licks and has the great ability to square up runners and deliver a blow. He needs to keep gaining just a bit more sideline to sideline speed.

Enough of this. The defense only gave up 7 points—it was glorious.

Special Teams

The game was over when Muschamp decided to go for the fake punt. We had that play sniffed out and covered it very well. We dominated all three phases of the game (they do have a good punter though...who had nice tackling form on a great punt return from Scott).

Deebo Samuel is a very good kick returner and Clemson did an excellent job bottling him up. USCjr was one of the top kickoff returning teams in the nation coming into the game. Chad Smith had another wonderful game. Jamie Skalski hasn’t gotten enough playing time on the field to justify his burned redshirt, but his value on kickoff coverage can’t be measured. Tre Lamar is another player who has done terrific on that coverage team. Dorian O’Daniel. Tanner Muse. It has helped keep our starters fresher since they don’t have to be used on special teams like last year. I used to hold my breath every time the ball didn’t get out of the endzone and now I am actually expecting a good tackle.

Refs

I thought they called a good game. The SEC crew didn’t call every single touch down the field (for either side) and were pretty consistent all night. I couldn’t even argue with the Christian Wilkins personal foul. It is hilarious to me that one of the nicest, funniest guys on the field is also not going to hesitate to get in a little extra shove or make that hit hurt just a bit more. I also finally put it together that the hand motion he does after a big hit or sack (at least to me) looks like the morphing sign for the power rangers. It is like he is saying, ‘it’s morphin’ time’ after every big play. Ridiculous and awesome all in one motion...