Humphries' hindsight is 20/20

CLEMSON - If he had a chance to do it all over again, Adam Humphries would have signaled for a fair catch instead of trying to make a play.

Down 24-17 with just few minutes left on the game clock in Columbia, Humphries was stripped after attempting to return his second punt of the night. South Carolina recovered the fumble at the Clemson 34, scored a touchdown three plays later and closed the book on a fifth-straight win over the Tigers.

"After watching the play, obviously, all we needed to do was possess the ball," Humphries said. "If I would have just went up and fair catch, we would have gotten the ball at the 35, 40 and had a good chance to get on a scoring drive and get some points.

"But, spur of the moment, wanted to catch it and make a play, put us on the opposite 50."

The first turnover of Humphries' Clemson career, which includes 97 catches, five rushes and 38 punt returns, just happen to come at a very inopportune time.

"It comes with the territory," he said. "You live by the bullet, you die by the bullet. I was just trying to make a play there. Unfortunately, it didn't work out. We'll learn from it, move on. I'm not worried about that at all."

It wasn't the first turnover by the Clemson punt return team that involved Humphries. In the first half, a South Carolina punt deflected off of Martavis Bryant on its way down to Humphries' hands.

"I think he came up and the ball hit him in the back of the head. That's what happened there," Humphries said. "Things like that happen."

That's all part of the danger that comes with fielding punts.

"I've said it before it's probably one of the hardest positions to play in football," Humphries said. "You're looking up in the air and you can't see anything around you. You have to make a spur of the moment decision: fair catch, catch it, get out of the way and you don't see what's going on around you.

"The one turnover we had when it hit Tay, I had no idea anybody was there. The second one, the guy made a great play. It's one of the hardest positions to do. It's something that you've got to keep working at, get better at."

Clemson made significant strides in improving its punt return team this season.

In 2012, the Tigers averaged 4.3 yards per punt return. Of the 99 total yards, Humphries had 86 of them. In 2013, Humphries is averaging 10.6 yards per return and has 212 of team's 242 yards.

"Special teams, we want to flip the field and get as much field position as we can, because we think that's a key part of winning the ball game," Humphries said. "As a punt returner, every time I go out there, I'm looking to get positive yardage."

CUTigers.com Top Stories