Instant Halftime Analysis: No. 14 Clemson 13, Auburn 10

by - Senior Writer -

ATLANTA, GA. – Instant Halftime Analysis: Clemson 13, Auburn 10

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.

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.

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 5-of-10 on third down.

Clemson ran the ball 27 times in the first half, versus 21 pass attempts.

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 two 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 twice 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 192 yards in the half, and like last year, chunk plays were the culprit.

Questionable clock management late in the first half: Auburn was facing a fourth down in Clemson territory and faced kicking a field goal, but Clemson let precious seconds run off the clock before Auburn finally called a timeout. Those 20-30 seconds cost Clemson on its final drive of the half.

Clemson had six penalties in the first half - six was the most Clemson had in an entire game last season.

Turning Point of the Half: Trailing 7-6 in the second quarter, Ellington broke loose on a 68-yard run that featured him almost being taken to the ground, two twists and lots of zigs and zags as he helped set up Rod McDowell’s touchdown run.

Stat of the Half: Clemson ran 48 total plays for 275 total yards in the first half.

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