Saturday night, Clemson outplayed and outclassed USC in every way imaginable. Even though the score wasn’t 56-7 or 63-17, no one can argue that the Gamecocks were just a few plays away from making this a competitive game. I won’t even attempt to dive into the fan situation; we all know the majority of Carolina fans are great people and that a few bad eggs absolutely embarrassed the school with their antics Saturday night.
The play on the field was as lopsided as it could get. Sure, the final score wasn't 56-7 or 63-17, but the talent gap between Clemson and Carolina is just as evident this year as it was after last year’s beat down. The Tigers played well on offense again and showed flashes of what it can become if the team is able to put together a complete game against a team other than the Citadel. The defense also showed once again how tough they are to move the ball against when everyone (minus Tre Lamar) is healthy.
Offensive Player of the Game: Tee Higgins
The emergence of Tee Higgins is huge for Clemson. He gives this offense a Mike Williams-type of receiver where Kelly Bryant can just throw up a deep ball and expect him to come down with it the majority of the time. What’s scary for opposing defenses is that on Higgins’ long reception, he absolutely burned his man and didn’t even have to high point the ball (poor Jamyest Williams, hahaha). If that ball had a little more air under it, that catch could have gone for six. Regardless, Tee Higgins having back to back excellent performances is just what this offense needs to go from good to elite in the postseason.
Defensive Player of the Game: Ryan Carter
Carter’s pick-six was the defensive play of the game. Thanks to a nice Will Spiers punt, the Gamecocks were backed up in their own end zone. On the play, I think Carter knew where the ball was going better than Bryan Edwards and probably Jake Bentley did. When I watch him play, I’m constantly amazed at his talent considering his “size disadvantage”. I’m sure most of you remember that a lot of fans considered Dabo offering Ryan a scholarship to Clemson as a ploy to get Robert Nkemdichie to come to Clemson. Here’s to hoping Ryan Carter never forgets just how important of a player he is for this defense.
Overall Player of the Game: Hunter Renfrow
Hunter Renfrow is a national treasure and needs to be protected at all costs. He is the most consistent and reliable player on this team, including the defense as well. Every single time a play needs to be made, Renfrow is always there and finds a way to get open. Like Ryan Carter, Hunter doesn’t let his size affect the way he plays. On his long touchdown catch, he absolutely outworked everyone on the field. The spin move was just...oh my. The break away speed was phenomenal as well. His first touchdown was a great play as well. The awareness to step back towards KB as he was getting chased outside shows you just how smart of a player he is. Time and time again, I watch HR and have to ask myself why I can’t do what he does. We’re the exact same size, so what’s the difference? Well, the difference is that Hunter Renfrow is a national treasure, and I’m just a guy writing about his greatness.