Let’s be frank. This Clemson team just didn’t bring it on Saturday.
-With about two minutes left in the third quarter, the Tigers were clinging to a 27-21 lead over a terrible Syracuse team and with the Orange in possession of the ball. Then on 2nd and 11 Mike Jones Jr got to Cuse quarterback Rex Culpepper, along with Bryan Bresee who forced a fumble. Andrew Booth Jr scooped it up and returned 21 yards for a touchdown.
After that, it was over. The Tigers tacked on 13 more points and won 47-21. However, the final score just doesn’t tell the full story.
Trevor Lawrence was off. He even threw a pick six. Travis Etienne fumbled for the second straight game. Outside of Amari Rodgers the receivers were mostly invisible.
Then there’s the offensive line. The Tigers just could not open any running room against a team that hasn’t stopped the run all season. Even the pass protection was off compared to previous games.
Even Lawrence admitted the Tigers just didn’t bring the energy and knows they have to be better than they were on Saturday.
“I just think our energy wasn’t what it needed to be at the beginning of the game,” Lawrence said postgame. “We picked it up and found a way to win, finished well, but definitely gonna have to play better down the stretch if we want to get to where we want to go.”
Having said all that, Clemson played by far its worst game of the season and still beat an ACC foe by 26 points. And while it was rather ugly at times, sometimes winning ugly can be the wakeup call a team needs to get it in gear for the stretch run.
One would assume this will be a tough week of practice. The coaches have a lot of film to teach from after this one and that probably means bad news for Boston College.
First year head coach Jeff Hafley will bring his Eagles to Death Valley next weekend as huge underdogs. It is rare that this Clemson team comes out flat in consecutive weeks and there is no reason to expect any different this time around.
One would have to assume that one week from now the narrative is much different. Instead of winning ugly, they will probably win in dominating fashion. This team is just to talented and this coaching staff is just to good at what they do. And this ugly performance against Syracuse, it will be a distant memory.