Missed opportunities plague Tigers in 14-10 loss to TCU


by - Senior Writer -
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The Tigers come up short on their last play of the game against TCU.

CLEMSON – The Clemson Tigers have designs on an ACC Championship this season, but if they are going to find themselves in Tampa at the end of the season, the offense will have to be fixed.

The Tigers managed just 10 points and one offensive touchdown on Saturday, losing 14-10 to the 15th-ranked Texas Christian University Horned Frogs in front of a soaked 70,000 fans at Death Valley, evening their record at 2-2 as they head back into ACC play next week at Maryland.

Perhaps the killing blow for the Tigers was a third quarter that saw them garner zero first downs while running just 15 plays. Included in that was two three-and-outs in their three possessions, and the Horned Frogs were able to score the go-ahead touchdown on a tired Clemson defense early in the fourth quarter.

“They made two key plays that were critical in the game,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “We certainly had plenty of opportunities to win it. We missed a couple of opportunities, and missed a field goal, which changes the strategy the last two possessions, just needing a field goal to win it. Hat’s off to them.

“We will bounce back from this, watch the film, and learn from it. Keep coaching, keep working and keep climbing. We jump back into division play next week at Maryland, a tough road trip for us, and see if we can stay in the hunt for the division.”

TCU won the opening toss, but deferred until the second half, and Clemson put together one of their longest drives of the season, driving 72 yards in 16 plays and taking nearly seven minutes off the clock. However, they once again bogged down in the red zone, and settled for a Richard Jackson 26-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.

TCU answered on their first drive, but had some luck to help things along. A facemask penalty against Clemson deep in their own end kept the drive alive early, then Da’Quan Bowers tipped a third down pass that Ed Wesley caught and turned into a 58-yard reception. That pass set up a six-yard touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to Curtis Clay, and TCU led 7-3.

Bowers said he was shocked when he turned around to see the ball still in play.

“I got a lot of the football on that play,” Bowers said. “I guess he just threw it so hard, and it was a little slippery. It slipped off, and it was able to travel about 15 or 20 more yards, and the guy just made a great play on it. I thought our defensive backs would be on it, but he was able to get inside of them. When I saw what was about to happen, I took off running. Any time the ball is the air that long, bad things can happen.”

The teams traded possessions throughout much of the second quarter, but a huge stop by the Clemson on third down [TCU had the ball at the Clemson 47-yard line with just over two minutes remaining] set the Tigers up for late-half heroics.


The TCU punt traveled only 16 yards, and Clemson took over at their 28 with 1:58 remaining in the half. On the fourth play from scrimmage, Spiller got behind the TCU linebacker and Parker hit him over the middle for a 60-yard pass that set the Tigers up first-and-goal at the TCU four-yard line.

Three plays later, Spiller scored his first rushing touchdown of the season, plunging in from the one, and Clemson led 10-7 with just under 30 second left before halftime.

Spiller came into the game needing just two kickoff return yards to reach 1500 for his career and 12 receiving yards to reach 1000 receiving yards for his career. His 60-yard pass reception from Parker enabled him to join former Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush of Southern California as the only players in college football history to accumulate at least 2500 yards rushing, 1000 yards receiving, 1500 yards in kickoff returns and 500 yards in punt returns.

The Tigers and Horned Frogs played a game of field position throughout the third quarter, but TCU ran off 24 plays and held the ball for nearly 11 minutes in the quarter, and the Clemson defense began to tire.

Early in the fourth quarter, following another Clemson three-and-out, the Horned Frogs got back into the end zone on a five play drive that culminated on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Dalton to Antoine Hicks into the left corner, giving TCU a 14-10 lead with just under 13 minutes remaining in the game.

Clemson drove down deep into TCU territory early in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers had to settle for a Richard Jackson 34-yard field goal attempt.

Jackson’s kick missed wide left, however, forcing the Tigers to play for a touchdown rather than a field goal the rest of the contest.
The Tiger defense held one final time, giving the struggling Clemson offense another shot to win the game. The Tigers took over at their own 25-yard line, and advanced as far as the TCU 13-yard line, but turned it over on downs as Spiller was stopped for a three-yard loss and Parker threw three straight incompletions. Included in that was a pass to Dwayne Allen over the middle, but Allen slipped just before the end zone and the pass sailed high.

The last one came at the 1:55 mark, giving TCU a first down at their own 16-yard line, but the Clemson defense forced a three-and-out and a TCU punt with 1:11 left on the game clock.

The Tigers took over with 1:03 remaining at their own 42-yard line and no timeouts, and Parker hit a nine-yard pass on second down to Spiller, but in their hurry to get back to the line, the ball was snapped before Parker was ready and Spiller had to recover for a seven-yard loss. Then Clemson stood around as another 11 seconds ran off the clock, and a fourth down Parker heave was incomplete, enabling TCU to leave the Valley with a win.

Spiller once again proved his worth in the contest, carrying a career-high 26 times for 112 yards and catching three passes for 79 yards. Despite his effort on his sore toe, Spiller wasn’t really limping and he said he believes Clemson is still one of the better teams in the nation.

“We played hard, and didn’t have too many critical errors like we have been having,” Spiller said. “We had that one false start there at the end, but other than that, I thought we did well. I feel great, and I told everybody I would be ready to go, especially after the open date. But I believe we are an elite team, a Top 15 or Top 10 team.”

TCU head coach Gary Patterson said he is glad his team can head home with the win.

“That is a good Clemson football team,” Patterson said. “We feel very fortunate to be able to have done it. We had to come up with a couple of plays on offense. They had a very good defense. We made it interesting defensively, but we stopped people when we had to.”
Parker, who finished 17-for-37 for 192 yards, said the offense had its chances.

“We had chances early to make plays,” Parker said. “I thought we played hard and the offensive line did an outstanding job there. I’d say the most frustrating thing is we didn’t win, and I thought we could have. We played well enough to. I’m really proud of our guys.”

Dalton carried the ball 19 times for 86 yards to lead TCU in rushing, and he was 17-for-26 for 226 yards though the air.


Score by Quarters     1  2  3  4   Score
-----------------    -- -- -- --   -----
TCU.................  7  0  0  7  - 14
Clemson.............  3  7  0  0  - 10



Scoring Summary:
1st 08:21 CU - Richard Jackson 26 yd field goal
                                                   16 plays, 72 yards, TOP 6:39, TC 0 - CU 3
    03:01 TC - CLAY, Curtis 6 yd pass from DALTON, Andy (EVANS, Ross kick)
                                                    9 plays, 91 yards, TOP 5:12, TC 7 - CU 3
2nd 00:33 CU - C.J. Spiller 1 yd run (Richard Jackson kick)
                                                   6 plays, 72 yards, TOP 1:25, TC 7 - CU 10
4th 12:46 TC - HICKS, Antoine 25 yd pass from DALTON, Andy (EVANS, Ross kick)
                                                  5 plays, 56 yards, TOP 2:06, TC 14 - CU 10



Kickoff time: 3:32 PM   End of Game: 6:32 PM   Total elapsed time: 3:00
Officials: Referee: W. Davenport; Umpire: Mike Wooten; Linesman: Perry Hudspeth;
Line judge: Tommy Giles; Back judge: Tim Cobb; Field judge: Robert Zivkovic;
Side judge: Timon Oujiri;
Temperature: 68 deg    Wind: Calm      Weather: Light rain

Team Statistics 
                                     TC       CU

FIRST DOWNS...................       19       17
  Rushing.....................        8        4
  Passing.....................        9       10
  Penalty.....................        2        3
NET YARDS RUSHING.............      162      117
  Rushing Attempts............       40       32
  Average Per Rush............      4.1      3.7
  Rushing Touchdowns..........        0        1
  Yards Gained Rushing........      183      131
  Yards Lost Rushing..........       21       14
NET YARDS PASSING.............      226      192
  Completions-Attempts-Int....  17-26-0  17-37-0
  Average Per Attempt.........      8.7      5.2
  Average Per Completion......     13.3     11.3
  Passing Touchdowns..........        2        0
TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS...........      388      309
  Total offense plays.........       66       69
  Average Gain Per Play.......      5.9      4.5
Fumbles: Number-Lost..........      3-0      2-0
Penalties: Number-Yards.......   11-106     6-49
PUNTS-YARDS...................    6-191    5-195
  Average Yards Per Punt......     31.8     39.0
  Net Yards Per Punt..........     31.8     37.4
  Inside 20...................        1        2
  50+ Yards...................        0        0
  Touchbacks..................        0        0
  Fair catch..................        2        3
KICKOFFS-YARDS................    3-199    3-197
  Average Yards Per Kickoff...     66.3     65.7
  Net Yards Per Kickoff.......     54.3     48.3
  Touchbacks..................        0        0
Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD.    2-8-0    1-0-0
  Average Per Return..........      4.0      0.0
Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD   3-52-0   2-36-0
  Average Per Return..........     17.3     18.0
Interceptions: Number-Yds-TD..    0-0-0    0-0-0
Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD.    0-0-0    0-0-0
Miscellaneous Yards...........        0        0
Possession Time...............    31:20    28:40
  1st Quarter.................     6:46     8:14
  2nd Quarter.................     7:52     7:08
  3rd Quarter.................    10:36     4:24
  4th Quarter.................     6:06     8:54
Third-Down Conversions........  5 of 13  7 of 17
Fourth-Down Conversions.......   0 of 1   0 of 3
Red-Zone Scores-Chances.......      1-1      2-4
Sacks By: Number-Yards........      0-0      1-8
PAT Kicks.....................      2-2      1-1
Field Goals...................      0-1      1-2

Individual Statistics 

TCU

Rushing              No Gain Loss  Net TD Lg  Avg
-------------------------------------------------
DALTON, Andy         19  100   14   86  0 18  4.5
WESLEY, Ed            8   45    2   43  0 12  5.4
TURNER, Joseph        9   27    2   25  0  7  2.8
TUCKER, Matthew       2   11    0   11  0 10  5.5
CHRISTIAN, Ryan       1    0    1   -1  0  0 -1.0
TEAM                  1    0    2   -2  0  0 -2.0
Totals...            40  183   21  162  0 18  4.1

Passing              Cmp-Att-Int Yds TD Long Sack
-------------------------------------------------
DALTON, Andy           17-26-0   226  2   58    1
Totals...              17-26-0   226  2   58    1

Receiving             No.  Yds   TD Long
----------------------------------------
KERLEY, Jeremy          5   63    0   29
JOHNSON, Bart           4   26    0   13
CHRISTIAN, Ryan         3   21    0   14
YOUNG, Jimmy            2   27    0   15
WESLEY, Ed              1   58    0   58
HICKS, Antoine          1   25    1   25
CLAY, Curtis            1    6    1    6
Totals...              17  226    2   58

Punting               No.  Yds   Avg Long In20   TB
---------------------------------------------------
KELTON, Anson           6  191  31.8   49    1    0
Totals...               6  191  31.8   49    1    0

                       Punts   Kickoffs  Intercept
All Returns          No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg
--------------------------------------------------
KERLEY, Jeremy        2   8  4  3  52 25  0   0  0
Totals...             2   8  4  3  52 25  0   0  0

Field goal attempts
----------------------------------------
EVANS, Ross          3rd 09:32  42 yds - Missed

Kickoffs         No.  Yds  TB  OB   Avg
---------------------------------------
EVANS, Ross        3  199   0   1  66.3

Clemson

Rushing              No Gain Loss  Net TD Lg  Avg
-------------------------------------------------
C.J. Spiller         26  120    8  112  1 34  4.3
Kyle Parker           4    9    6    3  0  8  0.8
Jamie Harper          2    2    0    2  0  2  1.0
Totals...            32  131   14  117  1 34  3.7

Passing              Cmp-Att-Int Yds TD Long Sack
-------------------------------------------------
Kyle Parker            17-37-0   192  0   60    0
Totals...              17-37-0   192  0   60    0

Receiving             No.  Yds   TD Long
----------------------------------------
Jacoby Ford             6   55    0   23
C.J. Spiller            3   79    0   60
Michael Palmer          3   21    0   12
Rendrick Taylor         2   17    0   14
Terrance Ashe           1    9    0    9
Dwayne Allen            1    8    0    8
Andre Ellington         1    3    0    3
Totals...              17  192    0   60

Punting               No.  Yds   Avg Long In20   TB
---------------------------------------------------
Dawson Zimmerman        5  195  39.0   48    2    0
Totals...               5  195  39.0   48    2    0

                       Punts   Kickoffs  Intercept
All Returns          No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg
--------------------------------------------------
Jacoby Ford           1   0  0  0   0  0  0   0  0
C.J. Spiller          0   0  0  2  36 20  0   0  0
Totals...             1   0  0  2  36 20  0   0  0

Field goal attempts
----------------------------------------
Richard Jackson      1st 08:21  26 yds - Good
Richard Jackson      4th 09:58  34 yds - Missed

Kickoffs         No.  Yds  TB  OB   Avg
---------------------------------------
Benton, S          3  197   0   0  65.7

FUMBLES: TCU-DALTON, Andy 2-0; CHRISTIAN, Ryan 1-0. 
Clemson-Kyle Parker 2-0.

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