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Clemson vs Auburn Film Review: 3rd Quarter

NCAA Football: Clemson at Auburn Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

The third quarter opened with Clemson up 10-3, kicking off to Auburn. Clemson has been kicking directionally for most of the game, with the right side of the field to be basically uncovered.

All images and gifs via Tigerray unless noted otherwise

As long as Greg Huegel can kick the ball deep and to the left it should allow Clemson to pin returners on one side of the field. A textbook block in the back call backs Auburn nearly to their goal line.


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 (quarter, quarter, half) = coverage scheme by the secondary. DIME OF DOOM = 3rd down 3-2-6 havoc formation. FCB = Wideside or field cornerback. Fire = S, NB, LB blitz from the outside D gap. Green Dog = man blitz when your man stays in to block or is not in the formation. 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 = TB/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 is listed as a 2 digit number where it is listed: # of RBs, # of TEs, # of WRs like 21, which is 2 RB, 1 TE, 2 WR.

Auburn Ball, 14:51, Auburn 5

1st and 10, 20, end around fake, handoff on power goes nowhere. Ferrell blew the kick out block up and the rest of the defensive line wasn’t far behind… 2nd and 12 and Gus Malzahn is running the single wing. Run well this could be a thing of beauty, Auburn’s offense is not run well… 3rd and 13, 20 vs Dime of Doom, Auburn runs split zone and Christian Wilkins makes the tackle after a short gain PUNT.

Auburn ran some interesting window dressing for runs going absolutely nowhere.

Clemson Ball, 12:47, Auburn 45.

1st and 10, 20, zone read and the Watson keeper is stretched out because Fruhmorgen whiffs on his second level block. Leggett has to turn to pick him up backside and the defender he should have blocked makes the tackle…

2nd and 9, empty, asking a linebacker to cover Hunter Renfrow on what is likely an option route in the stick concept is just cruel… 3rd and 5, 10, Auburn sends a cover zero blitz and Watson is probably a little locked in on Williams running a switch route, pass is well defended and Clemson is lucky to get a first down…

1st and 10, 20, power goes for a few yards, Leggett wasn’t able to kick his man out and Crowder pulled into the pile… 2nd and 7, 11, three verticals and Mike Williams almost comes down with it, given the red zone struggles so far there’s no reason not to take a shot… 3rd and 7, 10, smash divide concept, corner route to Renfrow is well covered… FIELD GOAL 13-3

Not a bad drive, not a good drive either. I understand taking deep shots from just outside the red zone, especially when the running game is going nowhere. That said, four passes were thrown and only one was an easy completion. The one run called went nowhere. The field goal was earned mostly by defense and a dumb Auburn penalty. It’s hard to credit special teams when the block in the back call saved them from a forty plus yard return.

Kickoff drops in the end zone.

Auburn Ball, 10:36, Auburn 20

1st and 10, 20, motion triple option, D’oD gets caught inside on the cutback and Auburn picks up a first down, but he makes up for it by giving Auburn a free fifteen yards via personal foul…

1st and 10, 20, fake motion triple but the h-back kicks the end out to run split zone, Clemson has a fire zone blitz called, Boulware is on the line and drops back at the snap, the run is right at him and he can’t beat a block dropping backwards…

1st and 10, 20, motion triple option goes nowhere, Pagano gets thrown airborne but Kendall Joseph and pretty much the entire front seven are there to clean up… 2nd and 8, 20, buck sweep goes nowhere, Ferrell and Boulware take three blockers out of the play and Tankersly steps up to make a tackle in the backfield…


3rd and 10, 10, no one bites on the fake jet sweep, Jadar Johnson is sitting in c4 and jumps a poorly thrown ball from Jeremy Johnson… ARMPUNT.

Clemson has issues with gap soundness against inside zone and Malzahn is able to use tempo to capitalize for a pair of first downs. Auburn is not able to recover after a pair of stuffed runs lead to third and long and Jadar Johnson gets a well-earned interception.

Clemson Ball, 8:56, Clemson 8

1st and 10, 20, fake jet sweep, Adam Choice is able to churn out a quality few yards on inside zone… 2nd and 5, 20, power right and Hearn completely misses his man… 3rd and 6, 10, shallow cross and Watson forces one up to McCloud, he must have liked the look pre snap because nothing after it makes McCloud look open, INTERCEPTION

Well that drive started well, had a bad middle and a worse finish.

Auburn Ball, 7:50, Clemson 35

1st and 10, 10, C4 asks Boulware to be able to get from inside to make the tackle on the short side screen or at least force it outside to the safety, the stacked receivers have him beat by alignment…

2nd and 1, 10, same screen to the same side of the field but this time Tankersly throws the blocker into the receiver and blows the play up singlehandedly, he’s been a force near the line of scrimmage… 3rd and 1, 11, C0 and Van Smith is very lucky that wheel route got overturned… 4th and 1, 21, inside zone dive goes just far enough…

1st and 10, 20, Auburn false start… 1st and 15, 20, c4 inside zone from Auburn goes nowhere… 2nd and 11, 20, c0 blitz leads Sean White to trip on the right guards ankle… 3rd and 17, 10, DOD the fire zone is this close to landing but credit Sean White for finding a seam between Boulware and Joseph...

4th and 1, 14, four tight ends to the right after a quick huddle and Auburn is able to run a gimmick for a first down. Can’t knock them, it worked…

1st and 10, 10, unbalanced quads (Malzahn is throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Clemson), Joseph, Tankersly and Wiggins are all over the bubble screen…

2nd and 8, unbalanced 20, jet sweep left, Joseph runs himself out of the play but Van Smith has played the run well all day… 3rd and 1, c1, the tight end was open on a delayed drag route away from a faked jet sweep but the pass sails…

4th and 1, 02 unbalanced, this is the first time I’ve seen five receivers on the same side of the field, power strong side is blown up… TURNOVER ON DOWNS

Both completed passes this drive involved Boulware being targeted in pass coverage. Joseph has been occasionally brilliant and occasionally the weak link. Auburn had to have known this could well be their best chance to get in the game and Malzahn emptied his playbook.

Clemson Ball, 3:00, Clemson 6

1st and 10, 12, ZR and Gallman is able to churn out a few yards… 2nd and 7, 12, power away from both tight ends (Williams comes across formation to lead block) and another few yards for Gallman… 3rd and 3, empty, the ball is thrown behind Leggett but a drop with two hands on the ball is never good… PUNT

A decent pair of runs got Clemson enough space to punt at least.

Auburn Ball, 1:46, Clemson 48

1st and 10, spinner, Auburn finally hands off on the spinner sweep and get a pretty good gain since Boulware and Smith both miss tackles…

1st and 10, spinner, power this time goes nowhere… 2nd and 8, once again there is no one to account for the screen to stacked receivers and Auburn gets an easy fifteen yard gain…

1st and 10, 20, power goes nowhere… END OF QUARTER

Clemson hasn’t been able to move Auburn off the ball and for some reason a combination of Watson and ScElliot are forcing deep balls in the passing game. On the other side of the ball the defensive line has played well. The linebackers have been hit or miss and the secondary for the most part has executed their jobs. Not a great fifteen minutes, but a 3-0 quarter is still moving in the right direction.