What a time to be a Tiger! While the ACC Championship wasn’t quite as pretty as we would’ve hoped for, Clemson is back to back ACC Champs and headed for the College Football Playoffs for a second consecutive year. Deshaun Watson had one more shot at his Heisman hopes as he led the Tigers to a 42-35 win over the Virginia Tech.
The game was a mix of highs and lows as a Clemson supporter. We saw a 21 point lead, something that a fan should expect from a team with this much talent. Then we saw; cockiness, blown assignments, dropped passes, careless defensive plays (targeting, PI).
Offensively it appeared that this team never wanted to fully wake up and finish some of these drives, but most disappointing was the defensive performance; especially in the second half. Giving up numerous 14-point leads and a 21-point lead, the defense played like a shell of itself. When at their best, Clemson can play with anyone in the country, yes even you Bama. The issue is, we only get to see that Clemson team in little pieces of games.
If Dabo and company cannot figure out how to get these kids to play at their highest level from start to finish, we very well could be coming home early from the Playoffs.
Nevertheless, once again Clemson fans can say a few things that are oh so sweet to hear, Clemson has won: Atlantic Division, State Championship (56-7), and the ACC Title.
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.
Play by Play
Clemson ball, 15:00, VT 39
113 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, handoff to Fuller, swallowed up through the B-Gap, no gain on the play…104 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, man coverage, no safeties, Watson bull rushed by 3 men, throws to Leggett, incomplete pass…FLAG (Pass Interference against VT) …
113 Pistol vs. 4-3, handoff left- off tackle to Fuller, gain of 8…104 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, pass falls incomplete, intended for Cain…212 Shotgun vs. 4-3, Watson keeps it, gain of 3…212 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, handoff to Fuller through the 5 hole, gain of 3 yards…122 Shotgun vs. 4-2 Nickel, sweep left to Gallman, no gain…104 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, Watson pass complete to Leggett on the post route…TOUCHDOWN
Virginia Tech ball, 11:40, VT 22
113 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, play action pass left on a slant route falls incomplete…5 Flat Spread Shogun vs. 4-2 Nickel, Clemson blitzes 6, pass complete left on a hook route, gain of 6 yards…104 Trips Right Shotgun vs. 4-2 Nickel, screen pass right, gain of 7 yards…
104 Shotgun vs. 4-2, Clemson rushes 6, sack made by Ferrell, loss of 4 yards…5 Flat Spread Shotgun vs. 4-2 Nickel, screen pass left, tackled in the backfield, no gain…5 Flat Spread Shotgun vs. 4-2 Nickel, Clemson rushes 6, slant pass is complete for gain of 6 yards, leveled by Boulware…PUNT
This would have been an appropriate time for Ben to do the Conor McGregor “Billion Dollar Strut” as he casually walks off the field.
Clemson ball, 8:49, 104
Shotgun vs. 4-3, 7 in the box, handoff to Gallman right off-tackle, loss of 2 yards…104 Shotgun vs. 4-2 Nickle, Watson keeps the ball, sacked behind the line for a loss of 4 yards…104 Shotgun vs. 4-2 Nickel, Watson pass incomplete to McCloud…FLAG (Pass Interference against VT) …
104 Pistol vs. 4-1-6, dual wide outs stacked on either side, handoff to Wayne Gallman through the B-gap, gain of 1 yard…5 Wide Spread Shotgun vs. 4-2 Nickel, Watson pass complete to Mike Williams, gain of 3 yards…104 Pistol vs. 3-2 Quarter, pass incomplete to Cain…PUNT
Virginia Tech ball, 6:07, VT 30
212 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, play action pass complete right side, gain of 53 yards…212 Pistol vs. 4-3, pass right complete, gain of 8 yards…221 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, QB keeper, gain of 3 yards…
212 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, fade pass left broken up…5 Flat Spread Shotgun vs. 4-2 Nickel…FLAG (Delay of Game against VT)… 5 Flat Spread Shotgun vs. 4-3, QB keeper, through the 4 gap… TOUCHDOWN
Clemson ball, 4:09, Clem 25
113 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, handoff left to Gallman, gain of 1 yard…104 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, dump pass to Gallman, gain of 8 yards…122 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, play action QB keeper, gain of 3 yards…104 Pistol vs. 4-3, pass incomplete left to Mike Williams…5 Wide Flat Shotgun vs. 4-1 Dime, screen pass left to Mike Williams, loss of 1 yard…113 Pistol vs. 4-2 Nickel, Leggett shifts left to the slot, pass incomplete to Renfrow…PUNT
On the punt there were two FLAGS (Holding against Virginia Tech, Catch Interference against Clemson)…Punt was re-kicked
Virginia Tech ball, 1:15, VT 26
104 Shotgun vs. 4-2 Nickel, pass incomplete over the middle…113 Shotgun vs. 4-2 Nickel, handoff through the A-Gap, no gain on the play…113 Pistol vs. 3-2 Dime, delayed handoff gain of 7…PUNT
Clemson chose to kneel the ball and head to the locker room.
Quick notes on the Heisman Trophy race:
Deshaun Watson has been the best player in College Football for the past two years. That should not even be up for debate. Personally I think he had the statistics, “eye test”, and resume to have won the trophy last year. Now we are entering a Heisman race where the leader of the pack has lost 3 games this season (Deshaun has lost 3 in his career), has not shown up at all in the month of November, and doesn’t come off as a Heisman winner to me in the slightest.
Here is the definition of what the Heisman is supposed to be about from Heisman.com:
“The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. The winners of the trophy epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. The Heisman Trophy Trust's mission is to ensure the continuation and integrity of this award.”
In terms of Lamar Jackson, remember: he has been the most exciting player to watch this year, however, he has regressed to two separate minuscule performances losing to Houston and Kentucky. In face, since the first week of October, he hasn’t looked like a Top-5 quarterback, much less a Heisman candidate.
Last year, everyone said Fournette was a lock for the Heisman after an amazing September. But HEISMANS ARE EARNED IN NOVEMBER. You know the month that usually includes major conference games, rivalry week, and a week later holds conference championships. The decision should be simple.