|by Nikki Steele|
The Clemson defense forced three turnovers and scored 14 points.
Players of the half: The Clemson offense started the game slowly, but the secondary did not. Cornerbacks Martin Jenkins and Darius Robinson both had interceptions returned for touchdowns in the first half. After S.C. State quarterback Richard Cue was hit by Spencer Shuey, Martin Jenkins intercepted an errant pass and returned it 52 yards for the score. In the second quarter, Robinson intercepted a pass tipped in the air by linebacker Quandon Christian and raced 35 yards for the touchdown. It marked the first time in Clemson history that two interceptions have been returned for touchdowns in the same game.
Stat of the half: Clemson’s starting offensive line has been in on drives that have scored 10 points, while the Clemson defense and second string offensive line have accounted for 14 points a piece.
What’s working for the Tigers: The second string offensive line comprised of Isaiah Battle, Patrick DeStefano, Jay Guillermo, Reid Webster and Shaq Anthony have in on the drives in which the Tigers scored two offensive touchdowns. Martavis Bryant was a weapon in the first half with four catches for 87 yards. The Clemson defense has held its own, holding S.C. State to just 124 yards – 63 of those on one play- and forced three turnovers.
What’s not working for the Tigers: The Clemson offense looked sluggish for much of the first half, especially in the running game. The Tigers have 106 yards on the ground. Roderick McDowell had eight rushes for 43 yards, Zac Brooks carried the ball six times for 31 yards and D.J. Howard had five rushes for 22 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Tajh Boyd was 14-for-23 for 169 yards.
What the Tigers need to do to win: Maintain status quo. The Tigers have a 31-point lead at intermission. If the defense continues pressure the S.C. State quarterback and the defensive backs continue their good coverage, the Bulldogs will have a long second half.
Nikki Steele can be reached at email@example.com