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Clemson vs NC State: 2nd Quarter Film Review

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NCAA Football: Clemson at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

We begin Q2 with Clemson facing a 3rd & 4 at the NC State 42

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
3rd & 4 10 shotgun vs nickel Deep in route vs soft cover 2 complete to Cain, beautiful protection, route and throw to the void in the middle; gain of 15. Everything about this play was perfect. I expected this would be free when I scouted the State defense and it's a sign of a maturing quarterback and offense.
1st & 10 11 shotgun vs nickel RPO swing/draw, Bryant keeps and follows Smith, gains 2. Good play design but better line play by State.
2nd & 8 10 shotgun vs nickel Quick drop, go route to McCloud in the endzone, obvious PI. Not sure why State fans would be mad about this one.
1st & 10 11 shotgun vs nickel IV keeper free up the middle, Bryant bursts through for the score. I called this play from the stands; when you see McCloud off the line in the slot, he's coming in jet motion. Given the situation the IV keeper was obvious, and I love its effectiveness despite the known tendency.

State ball, 14:04, State 25, 14-14 tie

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 10 shotgun vs 4-3 Quick hitch vs soft cover 4 complete in front of Joseph, gain of 8. I still fail to understand soft coverage against a conservative team lacking deep/explosive playmakers. Soft coverage allows them to do what they want: quick easy passes on methodical drives.
2nd & 2 11 pistol vs 4-3 RPO quick hitch complete in front of OD, gain of 5. Soft zone or soft man, little difference here.
1st & 10 11 pistol vs 4-3 Hitch vs man cover 1 Sam fire, 10 yard cushion from Carter allows another easy completion, gain of 6. Dare I betray my sense of self and question Venables???
2nd & 4 11 pistol vs 4-3 Stretch handoff, Wilkins gets sealed and there's a pile to move for 4 yards. State is zone blocking extremely well when they manage to double Wilkins.
1st & 10 01 Wildcat vs 4-3 Double reverse toss back to Finley, who eventually finds an open safety valve on the wheel vs cover 4 (Mullen's coverage was way downfield) gain of 22. I don't see why State needed a gadget play when they're already gashing us but of course it worked. Seems like a coverage bust but Mullen was playing quarters properly; Joseph could've been guarding the flat but likely would've been beaten by the wheel vs a receiver regardless.
1st & 10 11 pistol vs 4-3 PA stretch bootleg, Finley shakes Ferrell and gets outside for a gain of 12. When it rains it pours.
1st & 10 01 Wildcat vs 4-3 Jet motion keeper by Samuels, inside lane allows a gain of 10. Lawrence got sealed out and pancaked...wow. Venables takes a timeout because this is now officially the worst defensive series of the year.
1st & 8 11 pistol vs 4-3 Stretch to Samuels, Clemson was ready for it this time and OD makes the TFL with some incredible strenght, loss of 2. Wilkins blew his man back 3 yards and OD destroyed the edge, and didn't let Samuels escape.
2nd & 10 20 shotgun vs 4-3 Shovel option to Samuels read completely, Joseph crashes and makes the stop, gain of 3. Everyone since Pitt has tried the shovel but nobody has found any success.
3rd & 7 10 shotgun vs 4-3 Quick hitch in front of a tighter zone but Samuels catches and spins into the endzone before Lamar can react, touchdown. Flush this drive down the toilet because it's the worst I've seen since I began reviewing film.

Clemson ball, 9:23, Clemson 23, 21-14 State lead

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 11 shotgun vs nickel Power option keeper vs man cover 1 double LB bullets, gain of 8. No linebackers were able to fill because of the inside blitz, free yardage until the safety filled.
2nd & 2 Empty shotgun vs nickel IV keeper hit at the line, no gain. Play was executed properly but State just overwhelmed with numbers and aggressive filling.
3rd & 2 12 shotgun vs nickel IZ to Etienne, hole between Simpson and Hyatt allows a surprisingly simple 5 yard gain. Simpson and Falcinellie doubled the nose and Hyatt sealed off the backside to create a lane.
1st & 10 11 shotgun vs nickel Quick hitch to Chase vs cover 4 gains 5. State is playing tight coverage everywhere except at nickel, quick hitch is easy yardage agaisnt soft coverage, imagine that.
2nd & 3 11 shotgun vs nickel Shovel option vs man cover 1, wide open lane for Etienne, gain of 12. Brilliant call and design against an aggressive man coverage look.
1st & 10 01 shotgun vs nickel PA QB draw, pop go route to Cain, perfectly thrown but interference is called. Ultimately a smart penalty on State since this was one of the few downfield passes which would've been completed. Without the PI it's a touchdown.
1st & 10 10 shotgun (double stacks) vs nickel Post wheel combos vs man cover 1, Bryant throws too high for Richard, incomplete. Would've been a tough catch vs tight coverage even if it were accurate, but it's another miss from Bryant.
2nd & 10 11 shotgun vs nickel Power handoff to Etienne gains 4. Morris pulled and Hyatt got downfield to clear a small lane for Etienne; solid line play but State is filling aggressively to prevent big gains.
3rd & 5 11 shotgun vs nickel Deep fade to Cain dropped at the pylon, this wasn't on Bryant. When Bryant is on, Cain is off and vis versa. Roughing the passer results in a 1st down and State fans are very mad again.
1st & 10 11 shotgun vs nickel Bucksweep to Etienne gains 5. This is more solid line play against a heavy run defense, though Simpson could've pulled quicker.
2nd & 5 11 shotgun vs nickel Quick slant to Overton broken up at the 5. I'd rather have another run here given Clemson's success on the ground in the red zone this season, but don't mind the throw to the biggest receiver.
3rd & 5 11 shotgun vs nickel Dig route to Overton vs man cover 0 NB fire, Bryant overthrows it again and it's incomplete. If we're gonna pass down here, at least they're throwing to Overton. But Bryant missed high again and it killed another drive. Field goal good at least.

State ball, 5:09, State 20, 21-17 State lead

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 11 shotgun vs 4-3 Swing screen to Hines, read by Ferrell but Hines makes an inside move to gain 4. In hindsight we were extremely fortunate State's most explosive player was limited.
2nd & 6 10 pistol vs 4-3 Stretch handoff to Hines, breaks Wilkins backside arm tackle and spins through the scrum for 6 yards. Wilkins shot past a zone block as he always seems to when not doubled, but Hines was too quick.
1st & 10 12 pistol vs 4-3 PA wheel complete vs cover 3 Mike bullet, gain of 24. The wheel was thrown behind a post, opening the intermediate sideline underneath Mullen.
1st & 10 11 pistol vs 4-3 Stretch handoff to Hines, Joseph fills but misses the tackle, gain of 12. Muse saved a touchdown with his diving tackle, Hines was about to run untouched through the second level.
1st & 10 11 pistol vs 4-3 Quick out dropped. Finally an incompletion!
2nd & 10 11 pistol vs 4-3 Orbit motion TO keeper, Muse leaves Finley all alone and it's an easy gain of 15, woof. Muse has to force the keeper without letting Finley go free, but he expected Joseph would be there to take Finley, who was completely sealed off by the TE block.
1st & 10 11 shotgun vs 4-3 Straight drop vs cover 3, no pressure at all and Finley eventually throws it away. Where is the pass rush???
2nd & 10 01 Wildcat vs 4-3 Stretch zone keeper by Samuels, Joseph fills and makes the stop in the scrum, no gain. This play won't work without jet motion.
3rd & 10 10 shotgun vs 4-3 Straight drop vs cover 3, deep hitch incomplete, broken up by Mullen. Mullen made contact early and he's fortunate there was no flag here, State has a case for it. Field goal missed!

Clemson ball, 1:42, Clemson 20, 21-17 State lead

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 10 shotgun vs nickel Quick out to Thompson vs man cover 1 incomplete. Ball was thrown low but Thompson simply dropped it in tight coverage.
2nd & 10 10 shotgun vs nickel Curl to Thompson against man cover 1 LBs fire, gain of 10. Good anticipation on the throw.
1st & 10 10 shotgun vs nickel Quick hitch to Renfrow complete behind the nickel man cover 1 blitz, gain of 5. Good blitz recognition but State did nothing to disguise.
2nd & 5 10 shotgun vs nickel Quick out to Cain complete along the sideline, gain of 7. Few teams do a 2 minute drill better than Clemson over the past few seasons.
1st &10 10 shotgun vs nickel Quick out to Renfrow vs man cover 1 tipped but still caught, gain of 2. Surprised a timeout wasn't used here.
2nd & 8 10 shotgun vs nickel Comeback complete to Cain, gain of 7. Cain gets away with a slight push on his break to get the separation; Saban is still mad about it.
3rd & 1 10 shotgun vs nickel Fade thrown to Higgins, interference called. Both players had hands on each other but when State tackled Higgins with the ball in the air the flag had to fly.
1st & 10 10 shotgun vs nickel Quick out complete to Thompson, gain of 7. State backed off the tight coverage and is content to let Clemson take their time moving downfield on short completions.
2nd & 3 10 shotgun vs nickel Deep go in the endzone to McCloud vs man cover 2 is incomplete. State was fortunate to go back to cover 2 so the corner had help, because he was beaten. McCloud was open and still almost made the catch in double coverage. Pass was a bit underthrown, otherwise it's a touchdown.
3rd & 3 10 shotgun vs nickel Comeback route to Cain complete for a gain of 9. Cain is money along the sideline on underneath routes.
1st & 10 10 shotgun vs nickel Go route to Higgins overthrown incomplete. Higgins was open...
2nd & 10 10 shotgun vs nickel Bryant rolls and has to throw the ball away in time for the field goal attempt. Smart play from Bryant, unfortunately the field goal is missed.