Instant Analysis: Clemson 26, Auburn 19

by - Senior Writer -

ATLANTA, GA. – Instant Analysis: Clemson 26, Auburn 19

What went right: Andre EllingtonAndre Ellington
RS Sr. Running Back
#23 5-10, 195
Moncks Corner, SC

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went into beast mode in the first half, and his 68-yard twisting, turning, balancing act of a run set up Clemson’s first touchdown of the season. Ellington had 12 carries for 123 yards in the half. When quarterback Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Jr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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had protection, he threw the ball well and didn’t appear to force any of his throws. Chandler CatanzaroChandler Catanzaro
RS Jr. Punter / Kicker
#39 6-2, 195
Greenville, SC

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picked up where he left off last season, hitting two field goals in the first half.

Ellington continued his strong running in the second half, including a 45-yarder that broke Auburn’s back late in the game. Ellington averaged over nine yards per carry on his way to a career-high 231 yards on the ground.

Nuk Hopkins had a big first quarter, catching four passes for 60 yards, and he wound up with eight catches for 80 yards in the half. His big game continued in the second half, and he wound up with Clemson’s second touchdown of the night, a catch that tied the record for most receptions in a game for a Clemson receiver with 12. He later broke the record on Clemson’s fourth quarter scoring drive, and wound up with 13 catches for 119 yards and a touchdown.

Clemson fans got to see Lieutenant Dan – aka Daniel RodriguezDaniel Rodriguez
RS Fr. Wide Receiver
#83 5-8, 175
Stafford, VA

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– on the field in the first half. He appeared on Clemson’s kickoff team after the first field goal, at the 5:22 mark of the first quarter.

Clemson was 8-for-17 on third down – several of those short yardage downs, and was 1-for-1 on fourth down.

The Tigers ran the ball 52 times for a whopping 320 yards on the opposite Tigers. Included in that number was Boyd, who ran it 19 times for 58 effective yards, several times on third down.

The defense bent in the second half, but it didn’t break. Auburn had to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns.

What went wrong: We’ve heard all during fall camp how confident the defense was under new defensive coordinator Brent VenablesBrent Venables
Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers
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, but much of the first half looked like a replay of last year – missed tackles, gashing runs to the outside and blown coverages in the secondary. Clemson also had three drops from tight end Brandon FordBrandon Ford
Gr. Tight End
#80 6-4, 240
Wando, SC

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. Two false start penalties nullified gains, one on a potential 4th-and-goal play from the Auburn one-yard line Clemson was going to go for the touchdown, but wound up settling for the field goal.

Tajh Boyd had his helmet ripped off three by Auburn defenders, and under the new rules, he had to leave the game for one play each time.

The Clemson offense had two illegal shift penalties that nullified big gains, including one late in the second quarter on a play that saw Clemson get inside the 20-yard line.

The defense gave up 380 yards, including several big plays.

Turning Point of the Game:Ellington broke loose for a 45-yard run, just like he did on his 66-yarder in the first half, on Clemson’s last drive of the game. The big rush allowed Clemson to kick the field goal that ultimately ran time off the clock and put Clemson ahead by a touchdown.

Stat of the Half: Clemson ran 87 total plays for a whopping 528 yards on an Auburn defense that was supposed to be improved. If Clemson didn’t have silly penalties and costly drops by tight ends and receivers, the offensive might have approached even bigger numbers.

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