Clemson made it look easy in this one. The Tigers dominated Louisville 77-16 Saturday in Death Valley. To put it in perspective, the Tiger basketball team only scored 74 in a win against the Cards back in January.
It is a little hard to fathom how a football program can fall so far and so fast. Outside of head coach Bobby Petrino, the Louisville team that visited Death Valley on Saturday bares absolutely no resemblance to the one that went toe-to-toe with Clemson the last time they paid the Tigers a visit in 2016. To go from giving the eventual National Champions all they could handle, to what we witnessed yesterday, in just two short years is just sad - not to mention embarrassing.
It was abundantly clear after the Tigers first offensive series that this was going to be every bit the mismatch most thought it would be. Clemson ran just 54 plays on offense, and normally that is a sign things did not go so well, but in this one it was just the opposite. The offense totaled 661 yards and averaged 11.6 yards per play, breaking a record that had stood since 1903, when John Heisman’s Tigers averaged 11.2 yards per play against Georgia Tech. Ten of those plays went for TDs, which is one every 5.4 plays. The 77 points were the most since 1981. when the Tigers put 82 on Wake Forest en route to the programs first National Title, and 4th most in history. Basically, this one felt more like a glorified exhibition than it did a conference game.
Ninety four players played in this one. This staff continually shows week after week that if you come to Clemson you will play. If you put in the work, you will be rewarded. I love seeing guys like Darien Rencher getting carries. He may not possess the talent that someone like Travis Etienne has, but he puts in the work. He has taken beatings from the defensive guys as a scout team RB, and it’s great to see that pay off. He is just one example of many, as we see guys that are buried deep on the depth chart getting their chances, week in and week out. This staff makes winning fun, and they make sure everyone gets to enjoy in that fun. That is the kind of thing that makes the program easier to sell out on the recruiting trail..... Paws Up
The four backs that are on scholarship rushed for 413 yards against the Cards. On just 21 attempts. That is 19.7 yards per carry, and 4 of those went for TDs. Those numbers speak for themselves..... Paws Up
Big Dex and Little Swinney
Last week it was Christian Wilkins and Garrett Williams. This week it was Dexter Lawrence and Will Swinney. When the staff sent the jumbo package out, the place erupted. I assume most were thinking Wilkins was about to get the ball, but instead it was Big Dex who was given a turn. Dabo wouldn’t troll his own fans would he? The fun is indeed in the winning. Take one look at the players faces on the sidelines, and it is easy to see. This team is having fun. They clearly care about each other. The early season drama seems to be a distant memory..... Paws Up
This is one area where the team needs some improvement. Our gunners need to do a better job. They are routinely beaten, which makes Amari Rogers job as the return man that much more difficult. Rarely do we see him field a punt without a guy in his face..... Paws Down
Chase Brice - 6/7, 110 yds, and 3 TDs. Averaged 15.7 YPA and had an 85% completion percentage. This kid is the real deal and could be starting at a lot of other places.
Trevor Lawrence - The box score isn’t going to impress many but he did hit on 75% of his passes. He is still off on some of his deep throws, but his accuracy on all the other throws can not be overstated.
Third Down Efficiency - The Tigers were 6/7 on 3rd Downs. Hard to be better than that..... Paws Up
In other games across the country
Kudos to the Bayou Bengals. You fooled them all again. So much so this time that most thought you might be a legit Top 5 team. So much so that many were calling for you knock off the champs at home. Turns out, this is the same, one dimensional LSU..... Paws Down
Missouri? In The Swamp? Where was that Gator D? Mizzou rushed for 221 and threw for another 250 on their way to giving Dan Mullen’s Gators a thorough beating. Another team that was ranked much higher than they should have been..... Paws Down
The luck finally ran out. A defense that had been pretty stout against the run was gashed by Georgia. The Dawgs ran for 331 yards and averaged 6.6 yards per clip. With Tennessee, Middle Tenn St, and Louisville left on the Wildcats schedule, 10 wins is still very attainable. That should absolutely be celebrated in Lexington, but yesterday we all saw they aren’t ready for big boy football..... Paws Down
Anyone else see that trend?
This may be a unpopular opinion but I don’t think this team is worthy of a spot in the playoff if they finish unbeaten. They just gave up 670 yards to Temple, and needed a miraculous comeback to get by Memphis a couple of weeks back. A Memphis team that got smoked by Mizzou. The 2018 UCF team would get its doors blown off in the playoff. You can make the argument that last years team could have competed, but not this one. There are 5 guys off that 2017 team that are now playing on Sundays and that kind of talent isn’t easily replaced at a school like UCF. As far as UCF to the playoff talk..... Paws Down
I am really starting to believe no one wants to win the Coastal. I get it though. Who wants to go to Charlotte only to get run out of the stadium by Clemson..... Paws Down
How about that call from Dana Holgorson last night against Texas? Down 7, with 16 seconds left in the game, Will Grier threw a 33 yd TD pass to Gary Jennings that looked to have tied it up and send it into overtime. Nope. Instead, Holgorson elected to go for the 2 pt conversion and the win. On the road no less. It was a gutsy decision and it paid off..... Paws Up
You have no idea how hard it was for me to compliment West Virginia, but in the interest of fairness, it had to be mentioned. That is all I have, be sure to give your Paws Up and Paws Down takes in the comments. Be sure to keep checking back with STS for more from the Louisville game, and a look ahead to next weeks primetime showdown with Boston College.