Auburn Review

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Auburn Review

Like most opening games there were a lot of mistakes by Clemson Saturday night in the Georgia Dome, but all of those were forgiven due to the fourth quarter dominance and a 26-19 win over Auburn.

Clemson overcame a lot of adversity and a lot of young players provided answers in the victory. But in the end, it was the veterans like Andre EllingtonAndre Ellington
RS Sr. Running Back
#23 5-10, 195
Moncks Corner, SC

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, Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Jr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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and DeAndre HopkinsDeAndre Hopkins
Jr. Wide Receiver
#6 6-2, 205
Central, SC

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that provided the difference in the game.

Ellington rushed for a career high 231 yards.  His previous high was 212 at Maryland last year.    He now has three consecutive games with at least 100 yards on the ground.  He had 125 against Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship game last year, then had 116 against West Virginia in the Orange Bowl.  Ellington now has 10 career 100-yard rushing games, more than any other active ACC player. 

Ellington’s 231 yards rushing rank as the fifth most in a single game in Clemson history and is the most since C.J. SpillerC.J. Spiller
Pro Running Back
#28 5-11, 195
Lake Butler, FL

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had 233 in the ACC Championship game of 2009 against Georgia Tech.  Ellington’s 231 rushing yards are the most by a Clemson player in a season opener.  The previous mark was 204 by Buck George against Presbyterian in 1952.  Ellington’s 231 rushing yards were the most by a Clemson running back against an SEC team. 

Hopkins had a school record 13 receptions for 119 yards and a touchdown.  The previous record for receptions was 12 by Airese Currie against Middle Tennessee State on Sept. 13, 2003.

It was Hopkins' incredible catch that provided the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter. The Auburn corner was called for pass interference but still could not stop Hopkins' terrific catch on the fade route.

Boyd showed terrific poise and toughness in both the passing game and maybe more importantly the running game. The junior quarterback reported back in great shape and looked quicker moving around the pocket. Boyd had a career high 58 yards rushing on 19 attempts.  He actually went 88 yards forward and lost 30 yards on four sacks, all in the first half.   His previous high was just 37 yards against Boston College and Maryland last year. It was a couple of huge runs on third down that were a major factor in key drives.

Offensively the other major key was the blocking of the offensive line, tight ends and wide receivers. The offensive line was the biggest question mark coming into the season but they paved the way for 320 yards rushing and 208 yards passing.  

Clemson’s first string offensive line played all but one play.  Giff Timothy missed the last offensive play of the game. They held up physically and appeared to wear down Auburn's highly thought of defensive front.

Clemson's pace was a key for the Tigers, who ran 87 offensive plays. The pace was as fast as any I have seen in college football.

Finally, offensively it was a success because the Tigers won against a ranked team despite missing their best player, Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
So. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 205
Fort Myers, FL

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Defensively, Clemson had two issues that will be a focus this week. The Tigers blew two coverages in the secondary that led to Auburn scores. Also, Auburn was successful in the running game, specifically on the runs on the outside that broke containment.

However, the defense limited Auburn to one touchdown.

I thought the Tigers tackled much better than most of the games we witnessed last season.

Vic BeasleyVic Beasley
RS So. Defensive End
#3 6-3, 225
Adairsville, GA

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provided a big pass rush in his limited time. I also thought D.J. ReaderD.J. Reader
Fr. Defensive Tackle
#48 6-3, 335
Greensboro, NC

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was impressive in his first action.

The special teams were also solid. Chandler CatanzaroChandler Catanzaro
RS Jr. Punter / Kicker
#39 6-2, 195
Greenville, SC

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was a perfect 4-4 on field goals.   He made each of his last eight field goals last year, so he is now a perfect 12-12 over a span of six games.  The Clemson record for consecutive made field goals is 14 in a row by Obed Ariri in 1980.

Spencer BentonSpencer Benton
RS Sr. Punter / Kicker
#13 6-1, 195
Myrtle Beach, SC

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's kickoffs and halftime on his punts limited Auburn's return game.

Dropped balls, penalties, blown coverages helped keep Auburn in the game. In the end, Clemson's opener was not perfect but it was encouraging.

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