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Paws Up, Paws Down- Season Opener and ACC Network Style

The top ranked Tigers used a potent running game to trounce Georgia Tech 52-14

Maria Taylor joins in to sing the Alma Maye after the season opening win
Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images

After what has felt like one of the longest offseasons in my 45 years on this earth, college football has finally graced us with its presence in 2019. The first full weekend of the season provided us with plenty of excitement, despite the lack of what looked like quality matchups on paper. Best of all, the Tigers kicked it off on Thursday night, allowing us Clemson fans to soak up as much of the other action as we could stand on Saturday. So, instead of rambling on, let’s jump right in.

Tyler Davis

It wasn’t shocking to see Davis get the start, but it was a little surprising. This coaching staff has found themselves another gem at DT. He was an anchor on the interior most of the night and finished with 4 total tackles, and 0.5 TFL. Statistics don’t always tell the whole story and watching Davis do work on Thursday night should make Tiger fans feel very comfortable about the interior of the DL for the next few years..... Paws Up

Xavier Kelly

Kelly was one of the guys I was most looking forward to see take the field. The coaches had been saying all the right things about the converted DE, but sometimes you just don’t know until you see it. Through one game at least, Kelly played well and looked the part. He is another guy whose effort won’t completely translate onto the stat sheet, but watching live he seemed to be consistently getting into the backfield..... Paws Up

Offensive Line

There is no denying this group got off to a slow start with some penalties and sloppiness, but it did not take them long to get it into gear. The backs had plenty of room to run and the team finished with over 400 yards on the ground. It is going to be fun watching Jackson Carman and John Simpson abuse opposing defensive linemen over on that right side all season long. Oh, and no sacks allowed..... Paws Up

Travis Etienne

Let the Heisman campaign begin. 12 carries, 205 yards, and 3 TDs, including an electrifying 90 yard first quarter run he took to the house. He also added a 48 yard TD run in the third. All that after starting the game with 2 carries for minus 2 yards, then fumbling on his fifth carry, something we have rarely seen from the junior running back. We always hear how the best is yet to come, but with ETN it’s not just lip service, it’s the truth..... Paws Up

Tee Higgins

After last years CFP, Justyn Ross seemed to be the receiver that fans talked about the most over the offseason. Not that Ross didn’t deserve it, but with some it seemed like Tee Higgins had become the “forgotten man,” and on Thursday night he showed the rest of the country that with this offense it is pick your poison..... Paws Up

Isaiah Simmons

Simmons was all over the field in this one, leading the team in tackles with 10. He was good in coverage and he was good in run support, which is exactly what you want to see from the SAM. He is a freak of nature and his play on the field this season should send him shooting up the draft boards..... Paws Up

Defensive Ends

It is really hard to not sound overly negative when trying to critique a 52-14 win in the season opener. Some sloppiness and rust should be expected, and are things that shouldn’t be harped on very much. One thing that did stand out watching the game live was the trouble the ends had at times setting the edge. We have gotten spoiled watching grown men play the position the last two seasons though, so some growing pains should be expected with the young guns taking over..... Paws Crossed

ACC Network

If you have had access to the all new ACC Network, then you know some of the programming has been fantastic. Especially if you are a Clemson fan. However, far to many people had to scramble for ways to watch this game, with many not being able to see it at all..... Paws Crossed

And in other games across the country.....

Florida State

Willie Taggart’s seat has to be much warmer this morning. After jumping out to a 21-6 first quarter lead, the Noles allowed Boise St to claw and scratch their way back into this one and win it 36-31. The Broncos ran more than 100 offensive plays, possessed the ball more than 40 minutes, and outscored FSU 17-0 in the second half. All this after the game was moved to Doak from Jacksonville due to the threat of impending weather. Noles fans still did not show. This was one Taggart needed to win..... Paws Down


Why Missouri is playing a road game at Wyoming is anyone’s guess, but I suspect they won’t be so eager to to go back up there anytime soon. The Cowboys downed Mizzou 37-31 in Kelly Bryant’s debut as the Tigers QB. Bryant finished with a career high 423 yards passing, but had a costly fumble that was returned for a TD and had a terrible pick in the endzone on a pass he threw into triple coverage. This might be the worst loss in the Barry Odom era. So far..... Paws Down

Ole Mi$$

Another SEC team playing a road game against a G5 team that had disastrous results. The Rebels could only muster 173 yards of total offense against a Memphis defense that could not stop anybody in 2018..... Paws Down


The Vols hit another roadblock in their neverending quest to get back to relevance. Georgia State knocked off the Vols 38-30 after coming into Neyland as 25 point underdogs, handing an embarrassing loss to Jeremy Pruitt who is starting his second season at the helm..... Paws Down


All that talk about cupcakes from our feathered friends in Columbia. Who would’ve guessed they didn’t even like the taste of cupcakes? The Gamecocks have now lost their last 3 games vs P5 teams dating back to last season, and all 3 losses have come to ACC teams. This one to a rebuilding UNC. You have to go back almost 5 years to find 3 ACC losses total for Clemson. You know it is bad when the SC Highway Patrol is trolling you..... Paws Way Down

That is all we have this week. Let us know some of your thoughts in the comments. Who do you give the Paws Up, or the Paws Down after Week 1?