Welcome back Tiger fans. Clemson was in Death Valley again to take on the Florida Atlantic Owls. After seeing the slow start by the Tigers last week, I was interested to see if they had cleaned things up. They had. The Owls were completely outclassed by the Tigers and the result was never in question as Clemson rolled 48-14.
FAU started quickly with a 15-yard run on their first possession but the Tiger defense got tough after that and a 3-man rush forced the Owl QB to throw an ill-advised pass that landed in the hands of Tiger CB Nate Wiggins, He took it to the house and at the 13:35 mark of the 1st quarter, the Tigers led 7-0. The Tiger defense held the Owls and forced a punt to give Clemson the ball at the Tiger 21. Clemson’s first offensive series was quite effective, both running and passing. Cade Klubnik hit Tyler Brown for a 30-yard TD but the extra point attempt hit the right upright, leaving the Tigers with a 13-0 lead.
After the Owls failed to convert a 4th and long, the Tigers had a short field but ended up stalling and tried a 31-yard FG but Tiger kicker Robert Gunn III pulled it left and the score remained 13-0. The Tigers responded right away with an interception by Khalil Barnes that gave the Clemson offense the ball at the Owl 26. This time the Tigers got into the end zone when Klubnik hit TE Jake Briningstool for a 7-yard TD. The extra point was good and Clemson led 20-0 with a little over a minute left in the 1st quarter.
It was clear that the Owl offense was completely outclassed by the Tiger defense, having gained less than 50 yards at this point. The Tigers took the ball down the field and Phil Mafah took a handoff 19 yards for another score. A bit over 12 minutes remained in the half and Clemson led 27-0. The next few minutes were relatively uneventful but when the Tigers got the ball back, they marched deep into Owl territory aided by a pass interference penalty and a nice scramble by Klubnik. In a rare under-center play, Klubnik snuck it in from a yard out to give Clemson a 34-0 lead with 3:25 left in the half. Once again the Owl offense was completely overmatched by the Tiger defense and punted after having the ball for less than a minute. A couple of back and forth positions ran the clock out.
The Tiger offense started a bit slow in the 3rd quarter but the defense kept up their relentless attack on the Owl offense. With about 8 minutes left in the quarter Wade Woodaz intercepted a pass and took it down to the FAU 13. The offensive line looked thoroughly unimpressive on 3rd and 4th down when the Tigers couldn’t gain a single yard running up the middle from the 4 yard line. But the Tiger defense held and Tyler Brown had a 55-yard punt return to give Clemson the ball at the Owl 26. Brown made a nice 3rd down catch to keep the drive going and then scored on a 2-yard slant. Clemson was up 41-0 with just under 3 minutes left in the quarter.
As the 4th quarter started, Clemson sat its starting defense and the Owls drove down to the Tiger 1-yard line. On 4th down, they punched it in. Clemson led 41-7 with 12 minutes left. Clemson’s 2nd stringers on offense responded with a nice 80-yard drive, capped off by a 2-yard TD run by Domonique Thomas. Eight minutes remained and Clemson led 48-7. With heavy substitutions on both sides, the Owls scored again with about a minute left, making the final score 48-14.
To no one’s surprise, Clemson dominated FAU on both sides of the ball and won easily. Now the meat of the schedule arrives in the form of FSU next week in Death Valley. This will be a real indicator of what we can expect for the rest of the season. Thanks for stopping by STS and check back over the next few dates for some great game analysis and preview stories. Let us know what you thought of tonight’s game and your expectations for next week’s showdown with the Seminoles in the comments section below.