For the second consecutive week the Tigers didn't run a large number of plays, but it didn't matter. In 59 plays Clemson went over 410 yards of total offense, easily dismantling P.C. by the end of the first quarter. Even backup Tajh Boyd got into the mix, completing 3 of 4 passes in the first half with two touchdowns. Kyle Parker was also effective, completing 6 of 9 passes for 114 yards and a score in limited playing time. In all, 10 different Tigers caught passes Saturday, led by Dwayne Allen with two receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown. Clemson's quarterbacks also were sharp out of the gates- completing their first eight attempts downfield. The running game was potent, led by Rod McDowell and walk-on Daniel Barnes who combined for 165 yards and a touchdown. All in all, a solid effort against a team that was overmatched at the line of scrimmage.
The score doesn't look pretty, especially giving up 21 points, but keep in mind Clemson's starters didn't play much more than the first 20 minutes of the game. At the same time P.C. converted 7 of 17 third downs (which can't happen next week) and also rolled up 279 yards. Andre Branch and Malliciah Goodman paced the Clemson defense with eight total tackles for two sacks and two forced fumbles respectively. Spencer Shuey led all tacklers with seven. The missed tackles from last week weren't a factor but considering the opposition, they shouldn't have been. Not a bad performance overall, but the total points puts this in the "C" range. Also- where are the big plays from last year's standouts in the secondary - Rashard Hall and DeAndre McDaniel?
Jaron Brown's 8-yard touchdown reception got Clemson off to the fast start Saturday against P.C. (Roy Philpott)
Chandler Catanzaro converted his only field goal attempt of the game - from 47 yards and Dawson Zimmerman picked up where he left off last week with three punts for an average of 46.3 yards per kick. Marcus Gilchrist was also effective in the return game again- bringing back two punts for 54 yards. Another strong performance from Clemson's special teams. Dare we say this unit has been nearly flawless through the first two games?
Let's be real for a moment: Clemson didn't show anything on either side of the ball in its first two games and still won comfortably. What happens next week at Auburn is anybody's guess, but the Tigers won both games leading up to next weekend in convincing fashion- and that's all you can ask for at this point in the season. The team was motivated today as starters gave way to second, third and even fourth teamers in the first half. Overall, a solid effort that will certainly need to continue to improve if Clemson is going to beat Auburn next weekend, not to mention Miami and North Carolina after that.
Clemson was expected to win this game while getting reserve players plenty of time and it did so without any issues whatsoever. So now, with two wins in the books, the season truly begins next weekend at No. 21 Auburn. Sure, pundits can nitpick this win and last week's victory of North Texas to death, but we won't know what this team is capable of until the Tigers head well into the month of October. While there's plenty of work to be done on both sides of the ball, be happy the program is 2-0 for the first time in three years. After all, the upcoming schedule will quickly reveal what's in store for Clemson football in 2010.