How can you go wrong with more than 600 yards of total offense? You can't, and neither could Tajh Boyd, who was as accurate, efficient and productive as any quarterback in school history. It took a while for the running game to get going, but once it did, it proved to be critical as D.J. Howard led the way with 86 on just nine carries. Surprisingly, Andre Ellington was never a huge factor after suffering a minor hamstring injury, but he didn't have to be. Chad Morris identified Auburn's deficiency in pass coverage at the end of the first quarter and there was no looking back. Dwayne Allen climbed the ladder to bring a handful of huge catches and then there's Sammy Watkins. The true freshman from Florida was the best player on the field Saturday and the stats proved it - 10 catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns. Simply put, it was as complete an offensive performance seen in Death Valley against a quality opponent in years, if not longer.
Halfway through the first quarter Auburn led 14-0 and was making it look easy. Enter Kevin Steele. After Auburn scored once more to make it 21-7 with 8:54 left in the first half, it wouldn't reach the end zone again. Jonathan Meeks made several clutch tackles, and Coty Sensabaugh had the play of the game, intercepting Barrett Trotter near the five yard line as the SEC Tigers were on the verge of pulling back within one score in the fourth quarter. The missed tackles seen in the first two games were a thing of the past - especially after Auburn went away from Michael Dyer. All you need to know here is Clemson hasn't allowed an opponent to score a second-half touchdown all season. Let's hope that continues next week, too.
Dwayne Allen caught seven passes for 80 yards and a touchdown. (Getty Images)
Chandler Catanzaro connected on his only field goal from 38 yards out, Dawson Zimmerman was solid, and Clemson's coverage teams also played well. There were no mistakes in the kicking game and Auburn, which entered the game as one of the top return teams in the country, never threatened with a big play. If the ACC Tigers can play that well every week, we'll take it.
Clearly, this is not a team that likes to start fast. In fact, the Tigers have trailed in the first half of all three of their games this season. But Saturday's slow start has to be ignored given how quickly the Tigers rallied. Chad Morris and Kevin Steele both made the adjustments they needed to get the win. Morris went away from the power running game and focused more on stretching Auburn's defense with quick passes. Meanwhile Steele did what he always seems to do - shutdown the opposition by putting his guys exactly where they to be in the second half, and shrinking his rotation to minimize missed tackles. With an emotional Dabo Swinney leading the charge in a fiery pregame and post-game talk, it all worked beautifully.
624 yards of total offense. Just three points given up in the second half. The nation's longest winning streak also goes by the wayside with a two-touchdown thumping. What else could you ask for? How about a win over Florida State next week? The team will enjoy this win Saturday night before turning their focus towards the Seminoles Sunday morning. While a 3-0 start is nice, a victory over Florida State next weekend is critical if the Tigers are going to win the Atlantic Division. And you know what? They just might have the firepower to do it. The win over Auburn proved this team has the skill to put up points in a hurry, and given the second half performance of the defense, who knows what this team could be capable of? Whatever it is, it certainly seems like more than last season.