The Clemson Tigers dropped to 4-3, somehow managing to blow a 17-7 fourth-quarter lead at Miami. The defeat extinguishes the slim chance of a return to the ACC Championship Game and, more importantly, continues to expose serious flaws in the program that need to be addressed. Clemson was manhandled at the line of scrimmage, was far too sloppy with the football, and had even more red zone failures.
There is no game left on the schedule that Tiger fans will be feeling too confident or optimistic about. How did Clemson’s opponents fare during a wild week in the ACC?
Week One - Duke - 5-2 - Lost 38-20 to Florida State
Quarterback Riley Leonard tried to play but was clearly hampered by his ankle injury. The star quarterback was largely prevented from scrambling and kept in the pocket, going just 7 for 16 for 69 yards with an interception. Backup Henry Belin IV was worse, completing only one of his six passes after Leonard was forced to sit. Jaquez Moore was the lone bright spot on offense, rushing for 110 yards with a touchdown as Duke got out to a 20-17 halftime lead. The second thirty minutes was all Noles, as Florida State won the fourth quarter 21-0 and stayed unbeaten with a 38-20 win. Duke now plays at Louisville this coming Saturday.
Week Two - Charleston Southern - 3-4 - Lost 17-0 to UT-Martin
The Buccaneers dropped to 3-4 as they were shut out by the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks. CSU now hosts Bryant and Tennessee State in back-to-back home games.
Week Three - Florida Atlantic - 3-4 - Lost 36-10 to UTSA
FAU led this game 10-7 after one quarter but was outscored 29 to zero the rest of the way and fell to 3-4 on the year. Daniel Richardson had two interceptions and the Owls struggled mightily to run the ball, gaining only 20 yards on the ground. The Roadrunners dominated this contest. Florida Atlantic plays at Charlotte this coming Friday night.
Week Four - Florida State - 7-0 - 38-20 Win Over Duke
The Seminoles remained unbeaten with a 38-20 win over the Duke Blue Devils. Jordan Travis was 27 for 36 for 268 yards with two touchdowns plus 62 yards rushing and a touchdown to lead the dominant second half as FSU overcame a 20-17 halftime deficit. Duke was very effective in slowing Florida State’s running game and forcing the Seminoles to throw. Tight end Jaheim Bell had eight catches and Johnny Wilson had five for 58 yards. The FSU defense was the major difference in the game as they held Duke to just 76 passing yards and only 4.8 yards per play. Florida State has road games against Wake Forest and Pittsburgh before hosting Miami.
Week Five - Syracuse - 4-3 - BYE WEEK
The Orange are 4-3 and had the week off to prepare for the back-end of the season. They travel to Virginia Tech for a game on Thursday night before hosting Boston College on Friday, November 3. After that, it’s home against Pittsburgh, away to Georgia Tech and home to Wake Forest. They should be able to find two wins against that five-game slate.
Week Six - Wake Forest - 4-3 - 21-17 Win Over Pittsburgh
Wake Forest trailed 17-14 with under a minute remaining after Pittsburgh scored on a 75-yard touchdown drive. The Demon Deacons got into scoring position and Santino Marucci connected with Cameron Hite for a 15-yard touchdown with seconds remaining to lift Wake Forest to the 21-17 victory. Marucci was only 12 for 21 for 151 yards and he threw two interceptions as Dave Clawson’s squad continues to search for answers on offense but Demond Claiborne had 96 yards rushing with two touchdowns. Pittsburgh actually outgained Wake 414 to 323 but 13 penalties on the away team swung the tide.
Week Eight - NC State - 4-3 - BYE WEEK
The North Carolina State Wolfpack had the week off. The bye comes after a switch at quarterback from Brennan Armstrong to MJ Morris prior to the game against Marshall. Morris helped lead the Wolfpack to a 48-41 victory over the Thundering Herd but the offense struggled mightily in a 24-3 loss to Duke before the bye. Clemson is favored by ten points in this matchup.
Week Nine - Notre Dame - 6-2 - BYE WEEK
Clemson will finally return home for a November 4 clash against Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are 6-2 and heavily favored against Pittsburgh this Saturday in South Bend. A win there would move the Irish to 7-2 before coming to Death Valley.
Week Ten - Georgia Tech - 3-4 - Lost 38-23 to Boston College
After the miraculous victory over Miami, the Yellow Jackets had a chance to build on success with a home game against Boston College. A chance they failed to convert, getting outscored 21-0 in the fourth quarter and falling to the Eagles, 38-23. Kyle Robichaux ran for 165 yards with two touchdowns and quarterback Thomas Castellanos added 128 with two scores. BC churned out 565 yards of offense with 310 of those coming on the ground. Georgia Tech moved the ball as well with 452 yards but three interceptions by Haynes King and the inability to stop the ground attack of Boston College doomed the Yellow Jackets.
Week Eleven - North Carolina - 6-1 - Lost 31-27 to Virginia
Perhaps no result this past weekend was more surprising than the North Carolina Tar Heels losing at home to the Virginia Cavaliers. Tony Elliott’s UVA squad entered the game at 1-5 and showed no signs of being able to turn things around but they ran the ball for 228 yards and went toe-to-toe with the Tar Heels all night, eventually going ahead on a fourth-quarter touchdown pass by Tony Muskett. Drake Maye was only 24-48 but he did have 347 yards with two touchdowns. Tez Walker continues to be a major difference-maker (transfer wide receiver!!!) with 146 yards on 11 catches. UNC will try to rebound this Saturday at Georgia Tech. The Tar Heels are still very much in the hunt for the ACC Championship Game.
Week Twelve - South Carolina - 2-5 - Lost 34-12 to Missouri
Things went from bad to worse for the South Carolina Gamecocks as they fell to 2-5 with a demoralizing blowout loss at Missouri. The Tigers led 14-0 after one quarter and were never threatened. Brady Cook threw for 198 yards and Cody Schrader racked up 159 yards with two scores on the ground. Spencer Rattler was only 23-40 for 217 yards and the Gamecocks managed just 282 yards of offense. South Carolina needs four more wins against the following teams in order to reach a bowl game: Texas A&M (4-3), Jacksonville State (6-2), Vanderbilt (2-6), Kentucky (5-2), Clemson (4-3).