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Troy Film Review: 2nd quarter

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Troy v Clemson Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images

Clemson Ball, 15:00, Clemson 27, 3-3

2nd and 18, empty, the bubble screen only works if there’s blocking on the perimeter, fortunately Williams is only on the field for his blocking and Artavis Scott picks up ten… 3rd and 8, 10, with the exception of Crowder the offensive line does its job, however Crowder misses a delayed blitzer and Choice does no one any favors by being thrown on his ass by a nickel corner, Watson runs out of bounds for a loss of two, and because things go from bad to worse Hyatt gets called for a questionable holding penalty. Fortunately, there’s an offsetting foul…

(All images unless noted otherwise are from Tigerray)

3rd and 8, 10, unfortunately we would have been better off punting, the offensive line picks up the blitz but Watson tries to throw to a bracketed Mike Williams on a corner route, poor choice, worse throw…

You see what had happened was...

INTERCEPTION

Clemson is lucky to be tied with Troy.

Troy Ball, 14:10, Clemson 26

1st and 10, empty, DOD, Boulware and Williams fake blitzes and drop back at the snap, the ball is tipped by Wilkins and lands in Williams’s hands…

INTERCEPTION

Clemson Ball, 14:03, Clemson 37

1st and 10, 20, Artavis Scott takes a jet sweep for seven yards… 2nd and 7, cut off by the broadcast, Gallman runs up the middle for a handful of yards…

1st and 10, 10, screen pass to Gallman, Fruhmorgen entirely misses his man and watches him tackle Gallman… 2nd and 8, 10, roll out pass to McCloud sails, he would have had a first and more… 3rd and 8, 10, Anchrum blows his assignment (and manages to get beat twice) on a stunt, pressure in Watson’s face forces a poor pass to Gallman…

PUNT

Offensive line execution has been somewhere between poor and abysmal all game. Watson’s misfires make more sense when you realize how quickly Troy is able to get pressure, but he still has yet to look like himself. There is precious little experience at tackle and it shows.

Troy Ball, 12:41, Troy 20

1st and 10, 21, Troy motions into a diamond formation for a triple option play, by my count three players try to defend the C gap while Barker scrambles past…

1st and 10, 20, motion into diamond again, same option, the dive should have been stopped for a two yard gain but Troy’s RB manages to tumble forward and pick up an extra half-dozen yards… 2nd and 2, 10, Clemson has been playing with no safety help towards the single receiver in an attempt to help the nickel/SAM’s in trips, Troy is able to take advantage with a slant route to the single receiver…

There’s a lot of grass to the wide side

1st and 10, 20, motion play-action, Joseph runs underneath the route perfectly for an interception…

INTERCEPTION

The defense has forced two turnovers in a row. At this point it looks like no one wants to be on offense. Both relatively long gains this drive were due to mistakes by the defense. Even then, Troy is struggling to string together first downs.

Clemson Ball, 11:06, Clemson 46

1st and 10, 10, Troy runs a fire zone blitz, Renfrow holds the seam/flat defender with an out route, McCloud is wide open on a hitch and turns it into a first down…

1st and 10, 10, swing pass to CJ Fuller loses yardage… 2nd and 11, 10, pass batted down at the line… 3rd and 11, Watson has forever in the pocket and needs it, Renfrow is just able to get his foot down on a corner route…

TOUCHDOWN

Troy v Clemson Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images

Renfrow and Watson are able to score on a broken play. Being the vastly more talented team has some advantages.

Troy Ball, 10:06, Troy 20, 10-3

1st and 10, 20, Dexter Lawrence eats his blocker alive and makes the tackle… 2nd and 11, 10, inside zone cutback goes for a couple yards… 3rd and 9, 10, Clemson rushes three but a receiver just barely gets open off of Mesh, the receiver falls before the first down marker… 4th and 1, 22, speed sweep to the two tight end side finds a crease and is gone. Wilkins was too far inside to set the edge, Lamar and Jadar Johnson can’t turn the ball carrier back inside and with 10 men in the box Clemson has no help to the outside and no safety help. Failure all around.

Loading the box doesn’t just leave you prone to big passing plays. Without any safety to run down the ball Clemson isn’t able to recover from mistakes early in the down. Like so much of this game Clemson looks set up for success and then a collection of unforced errors allow Troy to hang around. When Clemson has a defender to account for every gap Troy can’t run the ball. The offense should have found a way to make it so that this wasn’t a one score game.

Clemson Ball, 7:52, Clemson 33 10-10

1st and 10, 10, hitch to Artavis Scott is wide open, Troy has been giving the outside receivers a cushion all day and Scott has a nice run after the catch…

1st and 10, 10, quick out to Deon Cain takes advantage of the same cushion…

1st and 10, 10, the post route to Williams is well defended and knocked out of his hands… 2nd and 10, 20, Watson fakes a sprint out, ball is handed off on a draw for a few yards… 3rd and 5, 10, Watson is tripped up after gaining a few yards on a draw… 4th and 1, 20, no one gets open and Watson tries to scramble…

TURNOVER ON DOWNS

ScElliot took advantage of an alignment issue from Troy for a pair of quick first downs and the post route to Williams came pretty close to a touchdown. Following three consecutive passes with a pair of draws isn’t a bad idea either. At this down and distance going for it is a foregone conclusion, but I have to question calling a play action pass when the running game has yet to get off the bus. No Trojan bit on the run fake in the slightest.

Troy Ball, 5:58, Troy 27

1st and 10, 20, Troy motions a running back out and hits the slot on a stick route… 2nd and 5, 20, Clemson sends five on a C1 blitz, D O’D gets stiff-armed by his man who picks up the first down and more…

1st and 10, 10, Tankersly knocks the ball down easily… 2nd and 10, false start, 2nd and 15, 10, ball is thrown directly into D O’D’s hands and he makes the interception…

INTERCEPTION

Troy has not played well. In fact, Troy has executed poorly, they’ve gifted Clemson multiple turnovers this quarter. The issue is Clemson has executed worse.

Clemson Ball, 4:15, Troy 40

1st and 10, 11, Clemson fakes a jet sweep to McCloud who is left wide open in the flats, McCloud takes the swing pass for twenty yards…

1st and 10, 20, Watson doesn’t like his first reads, reverses and finds Mike Williams on a comeback route but Williams has already stepped out of bounds during the play, Clemson keeps finding new and innovative ways to negate its talent advantage… 2nd and 10, 10, Troy bats yet another ball down at the line of scrimmage… 3rd and 10, Williams is blanketed on a drag route but catches the ball for a short gain… 4th and 5, FIELD GOAL GOOD

At this point we have to be worried about the offensive line dragging the offense down long- term. This is the second week in the row an inability to run the ball has held the entire offense back. Outside of a few mental errors, the pass blocking has been pretty good. Yes, Clemson is rotating to get backups onto the field, most of the blown protections can be blamed on this. Nothing explains why Clemson has abandoned running the ball on Troy. Yes, Watson has not been used much in the running game, but the same was true against Wofford last year. If the offense isn’t dangerous running inside zone and power, things begin to fall apart quickly.

Troy Ball, 2:45, Troy 25, 13-10

1st and 10, 22, Troy fakes the sweep they scored on, dive the other way… 2nd and 6, 21, QB power off a faked sweep goes absolutely nowhere, Joseph met the QB in the hole and shuts the play down… 3rd and 5, 10, DOD, Dexter Lawrence is a one man wrecking crew, splitting the double team and forcing a bad throw singlehandedly…

PUNT

Troy looks like they want to run time off the clock and get to half. A good series defensively sets up a great* return. This is the best blocking on a punt return I’ve seen from Clemson in quite some time. A drop turns a touchdown into a turnover.

Troy Ball, 1:38, Troy 20

1st and 10, 10, jet sweep, Boulware sets the edge but no one is there to make a tackle, Joseph can’t get off his block and the pursuit is nowhere to be seen… 2nd and 2, 10, Clemson aligns the corner and safety deep off the ball and Troy takes advantage with a bubble screen

1st and 10, 10, both linebackers fire off the edge, Van Smith has a slot in man coverage and gets beat inside for a large gain…

1st and 10, 10, fire zone, ball sails to the sideline on a fade… 2nd and 10, Boulware makes the tackle against inside zone… 3rd and 8, 10, Troy elects to take the game to halftime and runs inside zone again with time running out.

The defense is, for the most part, playing fantastically. The lack of a pass rush would be more concerning if Troy weren’t getting the ball out so quickly. Offensively there is no tempo, nobody is in rhythm and the running game seems to have disappeared. The offensive line can’t drive anyone off the ball. Clemson is apparently still suffering from a national title hangover because through the first half it has taken multiple gifted turnovers to keep Clemson from falling behind Troy.