On a day that most expected the Tigers to come out and put the undermanned Syracuse Orange out of their misery quickly we were treated to one of the worst first half showings by this Clemson team all season. In fact, they were only six points in front of the Orange late in the third quarter before the offense seemed to wake up and decide to take control of the game.
It wasn’t pretty but the No. 1 Tigers did pull away and win the game 47-21 but not before giving some questions to bring up going forward as well as a lot for the Clemson coaches to use to get the players attention with during practice this week.
Weekly Stock Report:
Offensive Line Woes: This far into the season most would have expected some improvement as this offensive line gelled and grew but that has not been the case so far. Even the best and most experienced of the Tigers offensive linemen Jackson Carman has gotten beaten this year and looked lethargic at times. This group has got to improve or it’s not going be good when Clemson goes up against equally as talented teams in the playoff…..Stock Down
Special Teams: This team began the game with a 47 yard kickoff return by Tiger running back Lyn- J Dixon. This setup the Clemson offense for a four play touchdown drive. The Tigers also allowed another blocked kick, this time on a Will Spiers punt attempt. B.T. Potter also missed a 37-yard field goal (well in his range). There were a few bright spots as well though. Spiers averaged 53.6 yards on his other five punts In the game and had a long of 64 yards. He also ran a fake punt almost to perfection on a fourth and three. This was the same drive that Potter missed the field goal on. This is another area that has to get better before the end of the season or it could cost this team when they need it most…..Stock Down
Offensive Performance: Clemson Quarterback Trevor Lawrence was 27 of 43 for 289 yards, two touchdowns, and his first career pick six while running back Travis Etienne had 16 carries for 86 yards, three touchdowns on the ground, and three catches for 20 yards. There were some issues on Saturday. The Orange secondary came in looking very vulnerable, yet they were able to take the long play through the air completely out of the Tigers game, and did so undermanned and overmatched. Clemson was still able to get a win, making it look easy in that fourth quarter, and they did this with a subpar performance by their own standards…..Stock Even
Defense Being Stingy: Yes, they gave up 14 points but this Clemson defense also had four turnovers that included a scoop and score by defensive back Andrew Booth Jr on a play where Bryan Breese caused Syracuse quarterback Rex Culpepper to fumble. Mike Jones Jr and Jalyn Phillips both added their first career interceptions. Safety Nolan Turner got the first turnover by Clemson when he intercepted a pass on the Orange’s second drive of the game. This was Clemson’s 17th game with four or more takeaways under Head Coach Dabo Swinney. The Tigers are now 15-0 under Swinney all time when finishing with three or more turnovers in a game…..Stock Even
Amari Being Amari: Amari Rodgers had a career high eight receptions for 91 yards. He also now has four straight games with at least six catches and has caught at least five passes in five of Clemson’s six games this season. He continues to be Lawrence’s go to receiver. Rodgers also got to show off his arm when he threw an eight yard pass to Lawrence. The completion from Rodgers to Lawrence was the first pass completion by a Tiger receiver since Hunter Renfrow did it against Wake Forest in 2018. The difference was Renfrow did it while playing quarterback in his role as the team’s emergency quarterback. The last pass completion by a receiver playing in his normal position was Deon Cain against Wake Forest in 2015…..Stock Up
Continuing To Climb The Record Books: Travis Etienne even in a game that saw him have less than 100 yards rushing and go out for a significant period of time with an injury still continues to climb the record books. On his first touchdown in the game, a 25-yard run in the first quarter, Etienne passed Woodrow Dantzler (68) for sole possession of fourth on Clemson’s all time leaderboard for career touchdown responsibility. Etienne is now fourth on that list even though he doesn’t having a passing touchdown to his credit (a category that credits both touchdowns scored and touchdowns thrown). Etienne (4,583) became the 12th player in school history to reach 4,500 career yards of total offense. Every player ahead of him in school history though had at least 3,300 passing yards to help them reach that mark. Etienne though has 861 career passing yards…..Stock Up
And from elsewhere from across the country…..
Virginia Tech Does Nothing To Help The ACC: In the Hokies game against Wake Forest where ESPN gave them a 68.5% chance of winning and they were favored by 9.5 points going into the contest they not only find a way to lose but do it in convincing fashion losing 23-16 on a three interception day by their quarterback Hendon Hooker…..Stock Down
South Carolina Being South Carolina: After last weeks upset win against Auburn many were saying that the Gamecocks might be on the right path and they were a team to be worried about by others on their schedule. Somebody forgot to tell Coach O and his LSU team that came in at 1-2 this. Again, the Gamecocks showed how hard it is to wrap up and tackle. They even gave up a 95 yard kickoff return for touchdown that started out with a fumble by Trey Palmer and he went almost untouched to the end zone. This was also the first kickoff return for a touchdown by LSU at Tiger Stadium since 1981. The Gamecocks made a true freshman quarterback making his first career start look like a Heisman candidate….. Stock Down
Penn State Not Helping The Buckeyes Out: The Nittany Lions didn’t get off to the start that the B10 was hoping for. The B10’s worst nightmare may have come true yesterday. They were not expecting Penn St to get upset by Indiana and were already advertising next week’s matchup between the Nittany Lions and Ohio St as a playoff elimination game. Considering they decided to start later than everyone else and play less games than the other conferences Ohio State needed that win over an undefeated Nittany Lions club rather than one that lost to Indiana…. Stock Down