The offense did move the ball some thanks to some very big plays, but it settled for field goals on all four trips to the red zone. That cannot happen. Touchdowns have to be scored some how, some way. Clemson has gone seven straight quarters without a touchdown and have scored just one over the last 127 minutes. Outside of the big plays, the Tigers had nothing else to offer, which means after the big plays to put them into scoring position, the offense bogged down. This has to be fixed in a hurry.
When a team is held to 13 points by the defense, it should be enough to win a game. Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning's crew did a fine job, limiting the Terrapins to only six points in the second half. The only problem was three of those points came on the final play of the game, which capped a long drive by Terrapins. One bad possession doesn't erase and game's worth of success, but a stop by the defense would have resulted in an A or A+.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C
The field goals and punts were fine, so much so that Bowden trusted placekicker Jad Dean enough to put the game on his shoulders in the final minutes. However, the kickoff coverage was again suspect once or twice, though no really big returns took play. The problem was that Bowden didn't trust this unit enough to kick away at the end, instead opting to pooch kick it and give the Terrapins the ball at the 34.
Much like last week, the staff was split on their success. Koenning did a pretty good job with his unit, while on the other hand, offensive coordinator Rob Spence and Bowden did nothing on their end. Something has to give. Either the coaches are too afraid to let quarterback Will Proctor throw downfield and use his arm, or they're just too darn conservative. It's one or the other. If they trust Proctor like they say they do when asked, then they have to throw downfield and open things up. It was the conservative play calling that cost Clemson this win.
There was a reason Clemson was a 20-point favorite and that's because the Tigers have more talent and better players as a whole. But something funny happened on the way to Death Valley. The 2005 team that had to rely on field goal after field goal showed up instead. It was the same play calling that was seen last year against Boston College and others. The slide has to stop now or things could get very ugly for Bowden.
Grades: Maryland vs. Clemson
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