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Clemson Opponent Recap - Week Three

Florida Atlantic v Clemson Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

The Clemson Tigers roared out to a 34-0 lead, quickly dispatching the Florida Atlantic Owls and coasting to 2-1 on the season with a 48-14 victory. The second half was a disjointed affair but the first half is exactly the type of football Dabo Swinney expects his Tigers to play. This weekly article recaps what the rest of Clemson’s schedule did during this past weekend of action.

Week One - Duke Blue Devils (3-0, 38-14 Win Over Northwestern)

The Duke Blue Devils continue to impress, moving to 3-0 on the season with a comfortable victory over the Northwestern Wildcats. Duke outgained the Wildcats 487 to 267 and was ahead 31-7 after three quarters. They now play at Connecticut before hosting Notre Dame, a contest that should be one of the bigger home games the school has seen in a long time.

Week Two - Charleston Southern (1-2. 15-7 Loss to William & Mary)

The Buccaneers fell to 1-2 on the 2023 season, losing at home to William & Mary. The CSU offense is very poor and it will be a long season for new head coach Gabe Giardina as he tries to rebuild the Charleston Southern program.

Week Four - Florida State Seminoles (3-0, 31-29 Win Over Boston College)

This score certainly catches the eye. After beating LSU and Southern Mississippi in impressive fashion, FSU was expected to blast Boston College in Chestnut Hill. Instead, the Seminoles really struggled with the scrambling and playmaking of BC quarterback Thomas Castellanos and gave up 457 yards of offense to the Eagles. Florida State was actually outgained in this contest by 117 yards and nearly blew a 31-10 lead. If not for 18 penalties by Boston College, FSU loses this game. Jordan Travis appeared to bypass open short passes in favor of taking deep shots over and over again and the FSU offense suffered as a result.

Week Five - Syracuse Orange (3-0, 35-20 Win Over Purdue)

This game is going to be a handful for Clemson, regardless of how the massive clash against Florida State goes this coming Saturday. Syracuse remains unbeaten on the season, notching a win over the Purdue Boilermakers in West Lafayette. It was the ground attack that was the difference as Syracuse outgained Purdue 271 to 80 in rushing yards, largely because of quarterback Garrett Shrader. He ran the ball 25 times for 195 yards with four rushing touchdowns. Shrader was only 14-28 for 184 yards through the air but Purdue could not figure out how to stop the Orange when Shrader ran it. The quarterback run game gave Clemson some issues in the opener as Riley Leonard exploited that for a long score. Playing at the JMA Wireless Dome has not been a pleasant experience and Syracuse (hosting Army this week) will likely be 4-0 when Clemson rolls into New York.

Week Six - Wake Forest (3-0, 27-24 Win Over Old Dominion)

The Demon Deacons are 3-0 as head coach Dave Clawson continues to find ways to win in Winston-Salem. This past Saturday was the first contest it was apparent that the offense really missed quarterback Sam Hartman. Mitch Griffis was only 24-41 (58.5%) and threw two interceptions while adding nothing in the run game as Wake Forest fell behind 17-0 at halftime at Old Dominion. The Monarchs could not hold on though as Wake Forest outscored ODU 14-0 in the fourth quarter for the comeback victory. The Demon Deacons actually outgained Old Dominion by 109 yards but they continue to struggle to run the ball. That said, Wake Forest is 3-0 and hosting Georgia Tech this weekend before a bye week. They will probably be 4-0 when they travel to Death Valley on October 7.

Week Seven - Miami (3-0, 48-7 Win Over Bethune-Cookman)

The Miami Hurricanes waxed Bethune-Cookman on Thursday night, leading 41-0 after three quarters and coasting to the 48-7 win. They play Temple this coming Saturday before a week off on September 30.

Week Eight - North Carolina State (2-1, 45-7 Win Over VMI)

North Carolina State easily dispatched the VMI Keydets, 45-7. The Wolfpack ran for 234 yards and surrendered only 15 on the ground. They now have back-to-back Friday night games, at Virginia and then a home game with Louisville.

Week Nine - Notre Dame (4-0, 41-17 Win Over Central Michigan)

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish avoided any of look-ahead letdown and cruised to a 41-17 win over the Central Michigan Chippewas. The victory moves the Fighting Irish to 4-0 and they host Ohio State this Saturday night in South Bend. That matchup has major College Football Playoff implications and we will learn a whole lot about Notre Dame this weekend.

Week Ten - Georgia Tech (1-2, 48-23 Loss to Ole Miss)

If you are looking for a breather on Clemson’s schedule, this is about the only spot you could point to. Georgia Tech has struggled mightily since the first half of the season-opener against Louisville and they were thoroughly outclassed by Ole Miss in Oxford on Saturday. The Rebels scored 24 points in the fourth quarter to pull away but it was fairly comfortable for Ole Miss all game. They had 550 yards of offense including 299 on the ground and gained 9.8 yards per play against Georgia Tech’s porous defense. Georgia Tech is at Wake Forest this Saturday.

Week Eleven - North Carolina Tar Heels (3-0, 31-13 Win Over Minnesota)

The North Carolina Tar Heels are 3-0 with a pair of wins over “Power Five” opponents to begin the 2023 season. Drake Maye completed 28 of 39 passes for 397 yards with two touchdowns. He continues to share the ball with the other team, again throwing two interceptions but overall, he was terrific in this game. The running attack was not very effective against Minnesota but the North Carolina defense showed its improvement (albeit against a weak Gophers offense), holding Minnesota to just 133 passing yards and only 5.2 yards per play. UNC travels to 1-2 Pitt this Saturday.

Week Twelve - South Carolina (1-2, 24-14 Loss to Georgia)

There is certainly no shame in losing at Georgia, particularly by only ten points when the Bulldogs were nearly 28-point favorites. South Carolina led 14-3 at the half. The game had the look of one that could result in a massive upset, however, USC’s offensive line just could not hold up against Georgia’s defensive pressure and Spencer Rattler spent the majority of the game taking hits. Ultimately, Georgia found some rhythm and completely controlled the second half. The Gamecocks offensive line is a major issue that they likely don’t have a solution for.

Clemson’s opponents are a combined 25-7 with only Charleston Southern, Georgia Tech and South Carolina currently with losing records. As of today, six of Clemson’s nine remaining opponents are still unbeaten.