After another disastrous week with an apparently pitiful (in the eyes of coaches poll voters) 59-7 blowout of Boston College, Clemson fell again in one of the national polls. I have to say I’m liking it though, for several reasons. One, it gives Dabo the ability to play the “little ol’ Clemson” card and it sets up the Tigers to humiliate the SEC-biased national press when playoff time comes around. The poll that matters starts next week, so we’ll see how that goes. In the meantime, the Wofford Terriers were the next team to step in front of the Tiger juggernaut in Death Valley on Military Appreciation Day. A big STS thank you to all of those who serve or have served in this great nation’s armed forces.
Wofford won the toss and deferred. Joseph Ngata returned the kickoff out to the 24. Tee Higgins took the 1st down pass out to midfield. Travis Etienne picked up 3 yards and another yard on 2nd down. Higgins caught an out for 12 yards to move the Tigers down to the 35. On the next play, Trevor Lawrence hit Amari Rodgers for the TD. After two minutes it was 7-0 Tigers. After B.T. Potter put the kickoff into the end zone, the Terriers started at the 25. A couple of runs led to 3rd & 8 and Wofford couldn’t convert it. Rodgers returned the punt to the Tiger 28.
Etienne picked up 6 on 1st down and Justyn Ross picked up 3 on a bubble screen on 2nd down. Etienne picked up the 1st down with a 7-yard carry, and then Rodgers got 36 yards on a catch and run. Lyn-J Dxion then took it 19 yards to the end zone. With a little over 9 minutes left in the 1st quarter, Clemson led 14-0. Wofford brought the kickoof out but only made it to the 10. Terriers QB Joe Newman had a nice run for 18 yards on 1st down, but the Tiger defense stiffened and forced the punt. Rodgers returned it to the Tiger 19.
Etienne then carried twice, 34 yards and 47 yards, to get it in the end zone. Clemson led 21-0 with about 6 minutes left in the quarter. Starting from the 25, the Terriers picked up a 1st down out to the 38 but then the drive stalled. Rodgers fielded the punt at the 19 again.
Dixon gained 4 yards on 1st down and Lawrence hit Higgins on an out to pick up the 1st down at the 32. Lawrence tried to hit Ross deep down the left sideline but it was well defended. On 2nd down, he tried to hit Ngata but it also fell incomplete. The 3rd down pass was also incomplete and the Tigers punted. The Terriers fielded the punt at their 32. On 1st down, a Wofford receiver was wide open down the middle but couldn’t hang onto the ball. The Tiger defense then forced another punt. Rodgers fair caught the punt at the Tiger 12.
Ross picked up a couple of yards on a bubble screen to end the 1st quarter. Etienne then got loose for 86 yards to score again. Not even a minute into the 2nd quarter, he had 184 yards rushing and 2 TDs on 7 carries. Clemson led 28-0. A few good runs and an offside penalty against the Tigers moved the Terriers into Clemson territory. But the Tigers prevented further gains and the punt bounced out of bounds at the Tiger 17.
Ross picked up 9 yards on 1st down and a 3-yard Dixon run moved the chains. Lawrence scrambled for 6 yards but was hit late out of bounds, giving the Tigers another 1st down. Etienne ran for another 23 yards and then Lawrence hit Higgins on a crossing route and he took it into the end zone. The Tigers led 35-0 with 8 minutes left in the half. The kickoff sailed through the end zone and Wofford started at the 25. The Tigers forced a 3rd & 11 and Isaiah Simmons picked off the pass and returned it to the Tiger 12.
A false start pushed the Tigers back and on 3rd & 9, Lawrence scrambled for the 1st down. On the next played, he ran it in from the 2. Clemson led 42-0 with just under 5 minutes left in the half. Clemson forced 3rd & 12 and Newman kept the ball on an option to pick up the 1st down. The Tigers then got Wofford at 3rd & 14 and this time they couldn’t convert it. Rodgers ran the punt back for 16 yards to the Tiger 39. Darrien Rencher picked up 9 yards on 1st down and Lawrence ran for 12 yards as the clock expired on the 1st half.
Potter kicked the ball out of the end zone and Wofford started at the 25. Clemson’s defense forced a 3 and out. Derion Kendrick had a nice punt return but a holding penalty on the Tigers pushed them back to the Tiger 16. On 2nd down, Etienne took a short pass for 23 ayards out to the 39. A Higgins catch and a Dixon run moved the ball to the Terrier 34. Lawrence hit Ross on the right sideline and he took it in. Clemson was up 49-0 with about 11 minutes left in the 3rd quarter.
Wofford ran some nice option plays and moved out near midfield against Tiger reserves. A few plays later, they were at the Clemson 24. A couple of plays after that, the Terriers got into the end zone on an option. Several times on that series, the Tigers had no one covering the pitch back. At 6:36 in the 3rd quarter, Clemson led 49-6.
Chase Brice came in and hit Cornell Powell for 6 yards and Chez Mellusi picked up a 1st down out to the 39. Mellusi picked up another first down and then Brice hit Powell again at the Terrier 38. Rencher picked up 24 yards down to the 14. Will Swinney picked up 5 yards and 6 yards on short passes from Brice to set up 1st & goal from the 3. Rencher then ran it in to give the Tigers a 56-7 lead with just over 3 minutes left in the quarter. After the kickoff, Wofford started at their 15. They struck gold on a pass down the middle for 79 yards. Clemson led 56-14.
Ngata returned the kickoff to the Tiger 24. Michel Dukes gained 4 yards on 1st down and weaved his way for a 1st down on the next play, but a holding penalty brought it back. Dukes picked up 5 more yards as the quarter ended. On 3rd & 15 Brice hit Dukes who picked up the needed yardage, but an ineligible man downfield brought it back. Brice scrambled but was tackled a couple of yards short. The Tigers punted and Wofford fair caught it at their 21. The Tiger defense forced another 3 & out and Will Swinney fair caught it at the Tiger 34.
Mellusi moved the ball out to the 35 on 1st down and picked up 8 more on the next play. Chase then hit Powell for 26 yards to the Terrier 21. Mellusi picked up 3 more yards but then a couple of incomplete passes put the Tigers at 4th & 7. Potter came in to attempt the 35-yard FG but it was ugly and went ride right. Wofford ran a few plays but then fumbled and the Tigers recovered it.
The Tiger offensive reserves didn’t move the ball much and Potter came back in to try another FG from about the same spot, and this time he hit it. The score was 59-14 with a little over 5 minutes left. Wofford ran a few plays but the Tigers eventually forced them to punt. Clemson then ran the clock out.
Your Tigers only scored 59 points today and allowed 14. Who knows what the pollsters are going to think of that. But the Tigers are gearing up for a playoff run and they are looking pretty good to me. How about you? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments below. Check back in over the next few days for reviews and previews of next week’s matchup with NC State. Thanks for stopping by.