Quick Thoughts: Defense is good again, offense has good and bad in win


by - Senior Writer -
Will Shipley scores a touchdown against the Bulldogs.
Will Shipley scores a touchdown against the Bulldogs.

CLEMSON – Some quick thoughts on Clemson’s 49-3 victory over SC State, and we will start with the defense.

Clemson improves to 1-1 on the season while SC State falls to 0-2. Clemson hosts Georgia Tech next Saturday at 3:30 pm (network TBA) in the ACC opener for both teams.

*DEFENSE DOES IT AGAIN. Brent Venables’s starting unit was dominant for the most part and it wasn’t until late in the second quarter that the Bulldogs had any success. In fact, SC State had 12 yards in the first quarter, then just 74 in the third quarter and finished with 235 total yards. A bevy of backups were able to play – even though there were a few mistakes – and for the second straight game the Tigers didn’t allow their opponent an offensive touchdown.

The Bulldogs had a chance at a touchdown with just over 13 minutes to play but Keith Maguire broke up the 4th-down pass at the goal line.

Defensive tackle Ruke Orhorhoro and linebacker Jeremiah Trotter led the Tigers with five tackles each. Trotter registered the only sack.

*THE TIGERS RAN THE FOOTBALL. Will Shipley had eight carries for 80 yards and two scores while Kobe Pace had seven early carries for 68 yards. Lyn-J Dixon added four carries for 27 yards. Clemson ran it 36 times for 242 yards (an average of 6.7 yards per carry). The quarterback run was back and that was great to see.

*THE PASSING GAME WORKED AT TIMES. But there were other times when it still looked out of rhythm. On a day when the Tigers could have run the ball at will and played with a big lead from the start, there were three more passes than runs. Taisun Phommachanh and Uiagalelei each had interceptions, and there were very few shots down the field. The longest pass on the day was 38 yards, and most of that was Joseph Ngata’s run after the catch.

The Tigers ran 75 plays, averaged 6.7 yards per play, earned 26 first downs and were 8-of-13 on third down. But those three turnovers are concerning. I thought the offensive line also played better, albeit against lesser competition, and the coaches were able to get snaps for a lot of players.

Georgia Tech is next, but I can't wait to get home and watch this one on TV and make some better judgments.

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