Numbers improve after blowout of SC State


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 McCloud is averaging 25.33 yards per return, which is second nationally.
McCloud is averaging 25.33 yards per return, which is second nationally.

A 59-0 win over South Carolina State should help Clemson shake its early season mini-funk as it heads into its game Thursday night at Georgia Tech.

It certainly helped the Tigers’ rankings nationally in many areas.

The Tigers are now averaging 36 points per game, and that jumped to 46th nationally, while they rank 45th in yards per game (456.0), and both numbers are on the rise after the easy win Saturday.

The defense continued its strong play and remains among the nation’s leaders in a number of categories. In the main defensive categories, Clemson is tied for 11th in scoring defense (12.3 points per game), tied for 16th in rushing defense (92.0 yards per game), while it’s 17th in passing defense (158.0) and eighth in total defense (250.0).

On special teams, Clemson is 10th in punt returns (18.7 yards per return) and fourth in kickoff return coverage (13.25 yards per return).

Junior wide receiver Mike Williams has made a big impact in his return after missing most of last season. He is tied for 43rd in reception yards per game (81.7), and he has 12 receptions of 10 yards or longer, and that ranks 22nd in plays of 10-plus yards and tied for 10th in receptions of 10-plus yards.

Junior quarterback Deshaun Watson is tied for 51st in passing yards per game (230.7) and ranks 45th in total offense (258.7 yards per game).

Defensive back Jadar Johnson has had a strong start to the season, and he is tied for seventh in both interceptions (two) and passes defensed (five).

Ray-Ray McCloud has had a big impact on punt returns. He is tied for the nation’s lead with three returns of 20-plus yards, and that has helped him average 25.33 yards per return, which is second nationally.

Other NCAA rankings of note:

TEAM

OFFENSE
Rushing offense: 166.67 yards per game (75).
Passing offense: 289.3 yards per game (26).
First downs: 23.3 per game (T38).

DEFENSE
Sacks: 10 (T15).
Tackles for loss: 31 (T3).
Interceptions: 6 (T5).
Fumbles recovered: 4 (T42).
Fumbles forced: 2 (T68).
Passes defensed: 20 (T9).
Third-down percentage allowed: 17.78 (4).

SPECIAL TEAMS
Kickoff returns: 19.67 yards per return (83).
Punting: 38.91 yards per punt (91).
Field goals: 85.7 percent (T37).
Yards per punt return allowed: 3.0 (T28).

INDIVIDUAL

OFFENSE
Rushing: Wayne Gallman, 65.67 yards per game (90).
All purpose: McCloud, 102.0 yards per game (100).
Passing plays of 10-plus yards: Watson, 31 (T21).

DEFENSE
Tackles: Kendall Joseph, 23 (T85).
Sacks: Carlos Watkins, 2 (T58).
Tackles for loss: Joseph, 5 (T20).
Fumbles forced: Ben Boulware, 1 (T27).

SPECIAL TEAMS
Field goals: Greg Huegel, 85.7 percent (T24)
Scoring: Huegel, 10 points per game (T31).


Daniel Shirley is the sports editor of The Telegraph in Macon, Ga., and co-host of The Midday Sports Zone on Middle Georgia’s ESPN, 93.1 FM and 99.5 FM. Follow him on Twitter at @DM_Shirley and read his blog at macon.com/peachsports.


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