Offensive coordinator Chad Morris called it a "tale of two halves."
Actually, more like the tale of two good drives and 10 not so good ones.
The Tigers' back-to-back first quarter scoring drives produced 33 percent of the total yardage accumulated on Saturday night.
Scoring drive No. 1 was a 16-play, 85-yard possession that lasted 6:14 and resulted in a 3-yard touchdown run by Tajh Boyd. No. 2 went two plays, lasted for 24 seconds and accounted for 75 yards.
The total: Seventeen plays for 160 yards and 6:38 of possession. Outside of the touchdown drives, it was a dismal first half for the high-powered Clemson offense.
Forty plays generated 237 yards of total offense as the Tigers possessed the ball for a shade over 13 minutes in the first two quarters.
The second half didn't get any better -- probably a little worse.
Clemson finished with 59 plays for 328 yards. The Tigers possessed the ball for 20:02.
For those keeping score, that's 19 plays for 91 yards in the second half.
"I don't think there was a rhythm in the second half at all," Morris said.
As if there really was one in the first half.
Either way, the second half game plan was simple: keep Andre Ellington rolling. The senior running back had 49 yards on 11 carries in the first half.
He had four carries for 13 yards in the second half, to finish with 72 yards on 15 rushes.
"Six [plays] in the third quarter, it's hard to do anything," Morris said. "[The defense is] trying to get them off the field and it forces you into a situation where you have to be perfect.
"We're 5-of-12 on third-downs. That's something we take great pride in. At that point, when you get the ball back, starting that fourth quarter, what do you have to do?
"Your game plan sort of changes, according to the score."
Then, Jadeveon Clowney reared his dreaded head.
After three quarters, Clowney had five tackles and 2.5 sacks. Clowney picked up two more sacks in the final period.
"I thought we had a great plan coming into it, to control Clowney," Morris said. "We did, for the most part, in the first half. I think a lot of it had to do with running the football in the first half, and keep him off balance, keep them all off balance.
"That was big, that was critical for us. When they got into a situation in the second half where we were in passing downs, there was no threat of run, so they could widen him out," Morris added. "I think that's what you saw in the second half especially late in the second half."
And that's when things really got ugly for the previously high-powered Clemson offense.
Not a pretty sight
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