It only took five weeks, but this Clemson team got something many thought would never come during the regular season, that being a test. The Tigers needed a defensive stop on a two point conversion with just over a minute left to escape Chapel Hill with the 21-20 win. It was a game in which the team was outplayed and out-coached. Dabo Swinney even admitted as much afterwards.
It seems this team has one of these type of games every year. In 2016, it was Pitt. In 2017, it was Syracuse. Both times the Tigers lost to teams that were huge underdogs. Last season it was Syracuse again. Although the Tigers didn’t lose, it took a late Travis Etienne TD-run to win it. All three of those games seemed to serve as turning points in each of those seasons. As this team heads into a bye week, hopefully this game becomes the catalyst to yet another run to the CFP.
This group has not been as dominant as some expected when it comes to getting that push in the running game. Against UNC the overall play was less than stellar. Several uncharacteristic false start penalties, most coming in 3rd-and-short situations, were back-breakers for drives. QB Trevor Lawrence was under pressure much of the day. If this team has any shot at repeating, this group must play better..... Paws Down
The coaching staff seemed to abandon the run and that is something we’ve rarely seen in recent seasons. It’s not like UNC was stacking the box trying to take it away. Watching live they seemed to be keeping the safeties back not wanting to get beat deep. The running game should have been there, but the play up front surely factored into the decision making. The middle of the field should probably be attacked more as well..... Paws Crossed
Much had been made of the sophomore signal callers play through the first four games. Against UNC he looked pretty good. No, he wasn’t perfect but no one ever is. His decision making and particularly the plays he made in the running game helped make the difference. It would be nice to see him look for his checkdowns more often though..... Paws Up
It was known coming into the season that the pass rush would take a step back. Playing with the three man fronts doesn’t help. Brent Venables has been dialing up blitzes from all over the field in an effort to get more pressure on opposing QB’s. More often than not in this one, Sam Howell had to much time in the pocket..... Paws Down
For that 3rd quarter sack where he steamrolled through the running back to sack Sam Howell..... Paws Up
With all the negatives that can be taken from this one, the overall defensive effort was one of the bright spots. UNC was held to 290 total yards and just 144 through the air. The defense kept the team in the game and then won it in the end..... Paws Up
This team is going to get every opponents best shot, meaning they need to bring it each and every week and they failed to do so in this one. The best team may have won but the team that played better lost..... Paws Down
In other action.....
There is a raging dumpster fire going on in Blacksburg and it is looking like Justin Fuente isn’t going to put it out. The Dookies handed the Hokies their worst home loss since 1974 and Bud Foster’s defense gave up over 200 yards on the ground..... Paws Down
Things keep getting worse for the Yellow Jackets, as they lost 24-2 to Temple. They were able to muster only 2 points and turned the ball over 3 times, one being a 74 yard fumble return for a TD. Good thing they are calling this “Year 0” for first year head coach Geoff Collins..... Paws Down
The Wildcats could only manage 212 yards of offense against what has been a bad U of SC defense. They allowed two 100 yard rushers and squandered a chance at holding a 6 game winning streak over the Gamecocks..... Paws Down
That is it for this week. Let us know some of your takes from the weekend in the comments.