NOTES: S.C. State at Clemson

Notes leading into Clemson's home opener with S.C. State.

Clemson and South Carolina State Connections
•South Carolina State University was established in 1896, the same year Clemson began its football program under Walter Riggs. Riggs, a native of Orangeburg, S.C. the home of South Carolina State, was Clemson’s first head coach. He guided the Tigers in 1896 and 1899. Riggs was well versed in electrical engineering and one of the projects he took on after his days as Clemson’s coach was the design of the utilities for the South Carolina State campus. So Clemson’s first football coach designed the first campus water and electrical system at the Orangeburg campus. Riggs went on to become Clemson’s president in 1909.

•Bud Pough, the son of South Carolina State head Coach Buddy Pough, is an employee in the Clemson Athletic Department Compliance office.

•Clemson defensive tackle Carlos Watkins, a red-shirt sophomore, has a brother on the South Carolina State roster. Trayshaun Watkins, a redshirt freshman who wears #89, is a reserve defensive end for the Bulldogs.

•Clemson running backs coach Tony Elliott got his start in coaching under Buddy Pough at South Carolina State. Elliott was the wide receivers coach at South Carolina State in 2006 and 2007 and helped the Bulldogs to 7-4 records each season.

•South Carolina State offensive coordinator Joseph Blackwell is the brother of former Clemson assistant coach David Blackwell. David Blackwell coached at Clemson between 2003-08. They actually coached against each other when Clemson played South Carolina State in 2008.

•Current Tiger Jadar Johnson is from Orangeburg, S.C., the home of the South Carolina State campus. Woody Dantzler, one of Clemson’s great players in history, is another resident from Orangeburg to come to Clemson. •South Carolina State Head Coach Buddy Pough was an assistant coach at South Carolina in 1997-98 when current Clemson football administrator Brad Scott was the head coach.

South Carolina State Opens with 63-0 Win
The team entering this game with the big stats is South Carolina State. The Bulldogs are coming off a 63-0 win over Benedict in the Palmetto State Classic in Orangeburg in their season opener. They scored 49 points in the second half after leading by just 14-0 at intermission.

Buddy Pough’s team had 381 yards rushing and 160 yards passing on 15-19 completions. They held Benedict to 228 yards on the day and allowed just 3.1 yards per play. Adrian Kollock, Jr, making his first career start, led the way from his quarterback position by hitting on 15-18 passes for 160 yards.

The native of Spartanburg, S.C. also added 22 yards rushing for the balanced Bulldogs attack that had nine players rush for between 18 and 77 yards. Eight of the Bulldogs nine touchdowns came on the ground by six different players. Jalen Simmons was the top rusher with 77 yards on 12 carries.

South Carolina State’s defense was paced by Alexander Glover, who had six tackles, but three of them were for losses, including a sack. The Bulldogs defense had 11 tackles for loss on the day by nine different players. Javon Hargrave also had a 61-yard fumble return for a score.

Two QBs Saw Action in Opener for Tigers
Clemson played quarterbacks Cole Stoudt and Deshaun Watson in the first game at Georgia and both had strong moments. Stoudt took Clemson on a 70-yard, 12-play drive to open the game and gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead. He had 36 yards passing and 18 yards rushing on the march that ended in a D.J. Howard touchdown run. Stoudt finished the game16-29 for 144 yards through the air.

Watson drove Clemson 78 yards in six plays in the second period to tie the game at 14. He finished off the drive with a 30-yard scoring pass to Charone Peake, who was playing for the first time in almost a year after suffering a torn ACL in practice leading up to last year’s third game against NC State. Watson finished 2-4 passing for 59 yards and that score. Watson became the first Clemson first- year freshman quarterback to throw a touchdown pass since 2007 when Willy Korn threw a scoring pass against Furman. That is the only other touchdown pass thrown by a Tiger true freshman quarterback in the last 20 years. The record for one season is five thrown by Willie Jordan in 1975. Field Position a Big Key in Opener One statistic stuck out when examining the Clemson vs. Georgia game last week.

Field position was in Georgia’s favor by a wide distance. The Bulldogs average starting field position was its own 39-yard-line, while Clemson’s average start was its own 19. Georgia punters pinned Clemson inside its own 20 four times and had just one touchback.

The average start of the 39 yard line does not include Todd Gurley’s 100-yard kickoff return because Georgia never started an offensive possession after the kickoff.

To put those stats in perspective, Clemson has had an average start inside its own 20 just one other game in the last 17 years. The 20-yard advantage in starting field position for Georgia was the longest since 2006 when Wake Forest had an average drive start of midfield and Clemson’s average start was its own 21, a 29- yard advantage.

Tigers Must Overcome Opening Loss for First Time Since 2008
For just the fourth time since the 2000 season, Clemson enters its second game of the year coming off a loss when the Tigers face South Carolina State in the home opener this afternoon.

It is in fact the first time since Dabo Swinney became the full time head coach that the Tigers lost the season opener. Swinney’s Tigers had won the opening game five consecutive years, including impressive wins over top 25 teams from Auburn and Georgia before last weekend’s loss at Georgia.

The previous three years Clemson has dropped the opener they have done so to an SEC school that was ranked in the preseason top 25. Those teams (Georgia in 2002 and 2003 and Alabama in 2008) have gone on to a combined 36-6 record and finished in the top 10, so look for Georgia to have a strong year in 2014. The Tigers and Bulldogs were headed for a classic confrontation after the first half. The two teams were tied at 21 and the Tigers had gained an impressive 276 yards of total offense. The Tigers ran 54 plays in that first half to just 27 for Georgia, and gained 14 first downs. Clemson had 174 yards passing and 102 rushing at intermission. Last year, Clemson averaged 253 yards and 20 points per half, so this team was ahead of the pace set by the 2013 team.

It was still 24-21 in favor of Georgia entering the fourth quarter. But, Georgia did an outstanding job on defense and had success running All-American back Todd Gurley and came away with a 45-21 victory. Gurley finished with 198 yards rushing and had 100 yard kickoff return for a score, one of his four touchdowns on the day. Tony Steward led Clemson’s defense with a career high 12 tackles off the coaches film, including four on special teams. It was rewarding to see Steward play so well because he has had to battle back from injury so often in his career. He seems primed for an outstanding senior year.

Clemson Undefeated vs. FCS Teams
Clemson is a perfect 28-0 against Football Championship Subdivision teams since the NCAA formed the division (then known as I-AA prior to the 1978 season. Southern Conference schools became I-AA in 1982.

The Tigers face South Carolina State of the FCS this Saturday. Clemson has outscored Football Championship Sub-Division teams by a 1073-198 margin, an average victory of 38-7. Clemson has won 27 of the 28 games by at least double digits. The only exception came when Clemson defeated Wofford 35-27 in 2011. Wofford’s 27 points are the most by an FCS school against Clemson.

Each of the last 13 games against FCS teams have been from the state of South Carolina. The last FCS team from outside the state to play Clemson was Appalachian State in 1997.

Clemson has Appalachian State on an upcoming schedule, but they are now an FBS school. Top Stories