Out of rhythm

by - Senior Writer -
Out of rhythm

CLEMSON – Clemson’s offense gained 163 yards in a first quarter that saw them score two touchdowns and appear well on their way to another high-point performance.

As it turned out, that was the high-water mark of the game as the Tigers managed just one field goal the rest of the way, ran just 19 plays in a tepid second half and saw its offensive line embarrassed by South Carolina’s defensive front.

Offensive coordinator Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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said the first and second halves told the story of the game.

“It was a tale of two halves, to be honest with you,” Morris said. “In the first half, we had everything like we wanted it- great tempo, we were playing at a high level. I thought in the second half we came out and we were limited on our opportunities and therefore we had to make sure some of our plays hit and we had a few drops in there. The opportunities that we were given, we didn’t capitalize on those. I thought they got a little bit more pressure on the Tajh in the second half. That’s it. That’s what it was.”

A big reason the Gamecocks were so successful upfront was due to defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who registered 4.5 of South Carolina’s six sacks.

Left tackle Brandon ThomasBrandon Thomas
RS Jr. Offensive Line
#63 6-3, 305
Spartanburg, SC

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held Clowney in check for most of the first half, but Morris said that even a double-team didn’t stop Clowney in the second half.

“I thought we did a pretty good job with him in the first half,” Morris said. “Obviously in the second half is when he speed rushed. We were sliding guys and putting two guys on him and that’s the way he’s played all year long. It wasn’t anything we didn’t anticipate. I thought Brandon did a good job on him in the first half. He got to us in the end.”

Boyd finished 11-of-24 for 183 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, while standout receivers Nuk Hopkins and Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
So. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 205
Fort Myers, FL

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combined for just five catches for 80 yards.

The lack of production from Clemson’s receivers was not by design according to Morris.

“I think you go back to it’s a tale of two halves,” Morris said. “You had forty something snaps in the first half and you’re limited in the second half. You had a couple of thre- an- outs in there. It wasn’t by design. We were trying to get those guys the ball. There were a couple of times that we were rushed and Tajh had to try and get out of some pressure.”

Overall, the offense ran just 59 plays total and gained just 165 yards in the final three quarters.

The lack of opportunities was frustrating for the entire offense and Morris said that such few possessions never allowed Boyd to get into rhythm.

“I don’t think there was a rhythm in the second half at all,” Morris said. “They were all frustrated in the second half. You try to create some opportunities. Jaron BrownJaron Brown
Gr. Wide Receiver
#18 6-2, 205
Cheraw, SC

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caught a ball and gave us a spark. We went thre- and-out on the opening drive for us in the second half. We felt like we were running the ball effectively in the first half. That was our plan starting the second half was to come out running the ball. It was what it was. The opportunities weren’t there and we had to continue to keep pushing.”

Morris said that the entire team knows that they have to feel the sting from the loss and live with it, but he feels the worst for the group of seniors that played their last game in Death Valley.

“I think the one thing is that you hurt for these seniors,” Morris said. “They have done a lot of great things for this program and those things won’t be overshadowed- some of the success that they’ve had over their four years. Obviously, them not winning the state championship over these last four years hurts them. It hurts us all. We all feel it. We all have to live with it and we understand that. I think you regroup and try to send these seniors out with a bowl win.”

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