|by Mickey Plyler - Radio Host - Thursday, January 9, 2014 9:28 AM||
The Tigers have their home opener in conference play tonight at 7 p.m. when they host Florida State. Clemson is 10-3 overall and 1-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference after winning at Boston College 62-60 this past Saturday. The Seminoles are 9-3 overall and 0-1 in conference after dropping a 62-50 decision at home to Virginia.
This series has been close over recent years and has produced some thrilling finishes. Last season Florida State beat Clemson in all three contests, but all three were decided by five points or less.
The Tigers and Seminoles have had only one common opponent this season. Clemson dropped a 62-56 to UMASS on a neutral site. Florida State beat UMASS 60-55 giving the Minutemen their only loss of the season.
The Tigers have issues with depth and experience in the post, and this has shown up more on the offensive end than the defensive end of the court. I had Brad BrownellBrad Brownell
View Full Profile on my show Monday and he said he was very pleased with Landry NnokoLandry Nnoko
#35 6-10, 245
View Full Profile on the defensive end. He mentioned Nnoko staying out of foul trouble as a key but he was also impressed by Siddy Djitte's work on the defensive boards. Brownell says if a player can average a rebound every three minutes then that is outstanding, and both have done that so far this season.
Brownell said Clemson still has troubles in the half-court offense, partly because of the post issues, but he is pleased with the free throw shooting. The head coach said he feels this can be a big part of pulling out close games as the Tigers get into the ACC season.
The ACC season has gotten off to a crazy start with some surprising results. Duke dropped its conference opener at Notre Dame. The Blue Devils rebounded Tuesday night at home against Georgia Tech and head to Littlejohn for a game at Clemson on Saturday at 2 p.m.
NC State looked awful in the second half of its conference opener at home against Pittsburgh Saturday but rebounded by going to Notre Dame and winning Tuesday night.
North Carolina continued its roller coaster season to date by getting worked over in a loss at Wake Forest this past weekend.
Syracuse has been the most consistent team so far this season and Maryland is off to a 2-0 start in the league.
Clemson faces a very difficult schedule in the middle part of the ACC slate, so tonight's game against Florida State appears to be a big one for this program as a 2-0 league start would give the Tigers confidence.
I got a copy of Clemson's final football stats this morning and wanted to make some comparisons from last season to this season.
The Tigers had 65 less total yards this year on offense. Last season they had 6,665 yards and averaged 512 yards per game. This year Clemson had 6,600 yards and averaged 507 yards per game.
Clemson ran the ball a little better last year when it averaged 191 yards per game on the ground. This year the Tigers averaged 174 yards per game on the ground. Part of that was due to Tajh Boyd running the ball less in 2013. The other part is because the Tigers threw the ball out in the flats more.
The Tigers improved passing yards from 321 to 333 yards per game this season.
Clemson averaged 41 points per game last year and 40.2 points per game this year.
Last season the Tigers turned the ball over 21 times and they had 24 turnovers this season.
The biggest improvements came on defense. Last year Clemson allowed 396 yards per game. This year they lowered that average to 356 yards per contest.
The rushing defense stayed the same over the past two seasons. Clemson allowed 155 yards per game in each of the last two seasons. In fact, the Tigers allowed a total of three less rushing yards this entire season.
The biggest jump came in terms of passing yards allowed. Last season Clemson gave up 240 yards per game. This season that number dropped to 201 yards per game.
The defense improved in creating turnovers. The Tigers created 23 turnovers last year and 30 in 2013.
We also saw a significant drop in points allowed. In 2012 Clemson gave up 24.8 points per game. This past season the Tigers lowered that number to 22.2 points per game.
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