It was obvious Clemson couldn't be stopped through the air, especially with the return of Sammy Watkins, but the Tigers elected to establish the run and stuck with it on first and second down early the game. Tajh Boyd was solid, although he made several throws that he won't be able to make next week and get away with. Also, another cause for concern is the running lanes that were there against Auburn in week one, haven't been as wide the last two weeks. All that being said, this is still one of the top offenses in the country and there really wasn't much to learn against Ball State and Furman, was there? Looking ahead, next week features one of the defenses in the nation in Florida State. How will this unit respond? Can Tajh manage another game without forcing passes that could be picked off? Can Clemson's offensive line give him enough time to find Watkins, Nuk Hopkins and others? We'll find out soon enough.
While the scoreboard reveals Clemson handled Furman with relative ease, if you watched the game closely, you know there's plenty of cause for concern headed to Tallahassee. Furman moved the ball at will in the first half, recording 235 yards of total offense. Fortunately, a fake field goal and botched field goal kept the Paladins at bay. The Tigers gave up just 111 yards on the ground but 242 to a true freshman quarterback through the air. There was also, again, a lack of a true pass rush. Brent Venables elected not to bring much pressure, but he'll have to change that up next weekend against the 'Noles. Quandon Christian had a nice read on an interception, which was one of the defensive highlights. Outside of that, Furman did a great job moving the ball between the 20s, but struggled in the red zone. It was good to give up just seven points, but this unit has to play exponentially better to remain unbeaten next week.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B
Chandler Catanzaro continues to be Mr. Automatic and Spencer Benton did an adequate job punting. The return game continues to be non-existent, but this unit is getting a lot of opportunities either. Rashard Hall reeled in an interception after sniffing out a fake field goal attempt as well- which helped set the tone early. Overall, special teams are a strength of the team through the first three games.
The final score looks good, but it was obvious the first half left plenty to be desired. The Tigers looked lethargic while holding on for a 20-7 lead. Considering it was the second game in a row against an inferior opponent, it is somewhat understandable. Think about it like this: is it a good thing most Clemson fans are unsatisfied with a 34-point win while their team is also unbeaten at 3-0 and ranked 11th in the country? While Saturday's win lacked punch, Dabo Swinney has changed the culture when these kind of victories are downplayed.
The tune-up games are over and now Clemson will be tested by a Florida State defense rolling with confidence after shutting out Wake Forest 52-0. Dabo said it best after the game, "Our season begins tomorrow." Indeed it does. The winner of Saturday's showdown in Tallahassee has the inside track to the Atlantic Division title and could very well move into National Championship consideration if things break the right way. The Tigers handled FSU last year 35-30, but have won just once at Doak Campbell Stadium since 1989 (2006). In game that will feature one of the top offenses in America versus one of the top defenses, there's no shortage of intrigue.
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