South Carolina Review
|Monday, November 26, 2012, 11:01 AM- -|
South Carolina Review
Losing sucks. Losing to South Carolina really sucks. Losing to South Carolina four years in row is something I didn't think would happen in my lifetime. Like all of the other losses, this one hurts. Its supposed to hurt. Losing to your arch rival should never feel good. This is a feeling that should irritate all Clemson players, coaches, administrators and fans. This is not acceptable.
With that said, I saw five things Saturday night that stood out to me and looked like the difference in the game.
Clemson's inability to get off of the field on third down was the major difference in the game. South Carolina converted on a third and 10, a third and five, scored a touchdown on third and 16, converted on third and 10, third and nine, fourth and 11 (interference), third and nine (interference), third and two, fourth and one, third and 11, and third and 19.
I have said since August that the secondary is my biggest concern and watching the game Saturday night confirmed this notion. Clemson's defensive backs were awful once again. They play with poor technique which has not improved since August.
Dylan Thompson was able to pick the secondary apart when Clemson dropped eight into coverage. This should not happen. When the Tigers blitzed, he light them up for big plays as well.
The Tigers lack of ability to get off of the field on third down hurt in so many ways. First, it allowed the Gamecocks to run 86 plays compared to Clemson's 59. South Carolina had the ball for 23:29 in the second half compared to Clemson's 6:31. But perhaps most importantly, it was demoralizing. Time and time again South Carolina was able to keep drives going when it looked as if Clemson had great chances to get the offense back on the field.
You have to give Thompson a lot of credit. He did not look like a backup. Thompson looked more like the Fun and Gun quarterbacks Spurrier had at Florida. For the night, he was 23 of 41 for 310 yards and three touchdowns with only one interception.
Clemson has a way of making quarterbacks look good and Saturday night was another example of that. Thompson made Clemson's secondary look like they usually do.
Sanders and Ellington
Along those same lines, Ace Sanders and Bruce Ellington had huge games against the Tigers' secondary. Sanders caught six passes for 114 yards and a touchdown. Ellington caught seven balls for 72 yards and two scores. This was a mismatch.
Speaking of mismatches, Jadaveon Clowney recorded 4.5 sacks Saturday night which was a Memorial Stadium record. I have said all year that I think he is the best player in the country and he did nothing to disprove that. Clowney had a huge effect on
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View Full Profile and his confidence. Boyd's mechanics were off. Often times Boyd threw off of the wrong foot. We saw Boyd continue to not step into his throws. Clemson did not have the ball a lot Saturday night but Clowney had a big effect when they did.
Finally, I thought Clemson played tight Saturday night. They played like they were trying to win the last four years instead of just winning Saturday night. The play calling on offense was a mess. The All-American candidate at wide receiver was dropping balls. The All-American candidate at quarterback was off of his game. The running game was abandoned too soon. Clemson was out of rhythm. It appeared to me that they had all of the pressure on them and they did not respond.
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