After a bye week, Clemson headed south to Miami to take on the Hurricanes in a matchup of 4-2 teams with the Tigers a slight favorite according to ESPN. Unfortunately Clemson’s offense continued to sputter and the Canes came away with a 28-20 win in double OT.
Clemson got the ball first and went 3-and-out. Miami’s opening drive was a little more productive but an illegal block penalty and good play by the Tiger defense ended it. Clemson’s next drive was a bit better, punctuated by a 34-yard catch and run by Adam Randall. The Tigers got inside the 5 but Will Shipley fumbled at the goal line and the Hurricanes recovered it in the end zone. On the next play Hurricane RB Brashard Smith broke loose for an 80-yard run up the middle, but was stripped just before the end zone. Unfortunately for the Tigers, Miami recovered it in the end zone for the score. With 3:53 left in the 1dt quarter, Miami led 7-0.
Shipley returned the kickoff to the Tiger 43 but the offense was mired in futility during the drive. I will note that the officials missed a very obvious pass interference penalty on Antonio Williams. Miami responded with a 3-and-out. Clemson responded with some good plays but Cade Klubnik had the ball stripped trying to avoid a sack and Miami recovered. The Tigers continued their season-long propensity for shooting themselves in the foot.
Clemson scored with a little over 8 minutes left on a nice catch by Jake Briningstool. Clemson’s defense followed that with a good series by throttling the Canes but the offense couldn’t do much of anything, with Klubnik throwing an interception while running for his life from the Miami defensive line that the Tiger offensive line couldn’t seem to block to save their lives. The rest of the half was relatively uninteresting and at halftime it was 7-7.
Miami got the ball first in the second half, but the Tiger defense throttled them. Clemson came out firing on their possession and moved deep into Cane territory but stalled and had to settle for a FG. Clemson led 10-7 with 8:38 left in the 3rd quarter.
The game was a little quiet until Briningstool ripped a 32-yard catch and run down to the Cane 14 but Clemson jumped the snap on the next play. Klubnik then went back to Briningstool for another score. The Tigers led 17-7 with 2 minutes left in the quarter.
Miami decided to go all in on the run game and moved down the field and into the red zone. They scored on a back shoulder fade that Nate Wiggins couldn’t defend. After a 9-minute, 15-play drive, the score was 17-14 with 8 minutes left. Clemson had a good 1st down run by Shipley and then fell apart. After the punt, Miami got the ball at their 37 after a 30-yard Aidan Swanson punt.
Miami receivers made some good catches on the ensuing drive and moved down to the Tiger 20 where they kicked a FG to tie the game 17-17 with under 2 minutes left. The Tiger offense looked absolutely, positively pathetic with three bad passes that fell incomplete. The defense would have to bail them out. They held the Canes and the game went to overtime.
Clemson got the ball first in OT and unsurprisingly couldn’t do a damn thing, settling for a FG. Once again, the defense would have to bail the team out. They held and Miami kicked a FG to send it to a 2nd overtime.
Going back to the ground game, Miami was able to get it into the end zone. On the 2 -point conversion Clemson was called for a horse-collar tackle. On the replay, the Canes converted. With the score 28-20, the Tigers would have to respond in kind. They could not. On 4th and goal, Klubnik tried to get outside. Why the coaches thought that was a good call I’ll never know because he hadn’t been able to get outside all night. Miami has speed. You need to plant your foot and get upfield. You won’t outrun them.
Well, I don’t know what to tell you Tiger fans. The coaches seem to be failing their players. The offensive line can’t block. Backs can’t hold onto the ball. The defense plays hard but too often they don’t break down when trying to make tackles. This team needs to go back to the the fundamentals: blocking, tackling and ball protection. They are in desperate need of improved offensive line play, as they have been for a long time. Miami’s defensive line had their way all night. What did you see? Let’s discuss this incredibly disappointing game in the comments section below.