What A Difference One Play Makes
The message to the team has been simple and frequently repeated from head coach Tommy Bowden to his players and the media. “We need to make one more play”, said Bowden. The message is not surprising considering the nature of Clemson’s first five games.
Even Coach Bowden stated on Monday, you just do not know when the play will come. If Clemson makes the one play early in the game, then game may not be that close at the end. The question is how does Clemson get back to making that one play.
Sitting at 2-3, it is easy to forget this team had been making the one play. Last season, they made the one play in three of the final four wins. To start the year, the play was made against Texas A&M and Maryland. Then against Miami, the fortunes appeared to turn on one play.
Clemson had all them momentum down 20-17 and was threatening to score. Chansi Stuckey broke wide open in the end zone, and Charlie Whitehurst overthrew him. Now, Whitehurst was under duress, and I am not overly critical of the play, but the season has gone differently since.
Clemson would go on to lose in triple overtime to Miami. The following week the Tigers could not make a play against Boston College. Bobby Williamson dropped a potential touchdown in overtime. The Tigers settled for a field goal, and subsequently lost as Boston College put six on the board.
In the last game, Clemson made several plays, but the defense was unable to keep Wake Forest out of the end zone on their final drive. After Curtis Baham fell three yards shy, Clemson was hoping for one more second to make the one play.
It is a nerve racking sequence of events for players, coaches, and fans. Is this the trend of the new ACC? Where each week a game depends on one play, it could be if you listen to Coach Bowden’s message. Will Clemson make the one play on Thursday night in Raleigh to end the “Thursday Night Curse”? Time will tell the story.