Instant Halftime Analysis: Clemson 35, Virginia 7

by - Staff Writer -

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – Safety Jayron Kearse forced two turnovers in the second quarter Saturday, leading the Clemson Tigers to a 35-7 halftime lead at Scott Stadium.

The Tigers were at times offensively challenged, but began to click after two Virginia turnovers and scoring three touchdowns in the final 4:18 of the first half.

Player of the half: Kearse has been a spark for the Clemson defense and the entire team. Kearse picked off a David Watford pass late in the second quarter, and on the very next Virginia possession Kearse stripped Virginia running back Khalek Shepherd, causing a fumble that was picked up by the Tigers at midfield. Both turnovers led to Clemson touchdowns.

Stat of the half: Clemson has rushed the ball 20 times for 47 yards, with 25 of those yards coming on a touchdown run by Roderick McDowell. Quarterback Tajh Boyd is 22-for-27 for 278 yards, while the Tigers have outgained Virginia 325 to 131.

What’s working for the Tigers: The Clemson defense erased the final two drives of last week’s game against Maryland from their minds coming out strong against Virginia. The defense has held Virginia to just 151 total yards in the first half and 54 of those yards came on the Cavs scoring drive. Kearse caused two turnovers And, the defense had four tackles for loss and one sack during the first half. Except for the interception, Boyd began the game 22-for-27 for 278 yards and two touchdowns.

What’s not working for the Tigers: The Tigers had over 200 yards on the ground a week ago against Maryland, but can’t get the running game going against the Cavs. Until, late in the second quarter, Clemson’s longest run was 3 yards.

What the Tigers need to do to win: The Clemson offense needs to avoid the lulls that it has become prone to having in games and make the most out of every possession. As for the defense, it just need to keep doing what they’re doing, putting pressure on Watford and keeping plays in front of defenders.

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