GRADES: Clemson-Virginia Tech

CLEMSON – Following every game, each phase of the Clemson football team will be given a letter grade. Here are this week's grades following the 25th-ranked Tigers' 41-23 loss to No. 15 Virginia Tech Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.

OFFENSE: D Three turnovers, one of which was returned for the game's opening touchdown, penalties and tailbacks C.J. Spiller and James Davis combined to rush 12 times for 12 yards- not good. Quarterback Cullen Harper broke two school records in completions and attempts, which is generally never a good thing because it means teams are trying to score a lot of points quickly. Harper was a little shaky at first, but considering he was running for his life most of the time, that's understandable. The offensive line was once again horrid.

DEFENSE: B-minus For the most part, the defense kept Virginia Tech's offense in check. The Tigers did allow Hokies quarterback Tyrod Taylor to break free for a 50-plus yard run late in the game, but the outcome had basically already been determined before that. The defense recorded a safety and held Tech running back Brandon Ore to 35 yards on 23 carries.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Z-minus² Oh, boy! What can you say that already hasn't been said a hundred times over the last three years? Last week was a grade of Z and with this week's play possibly the worst ever, a Z-minus wouldn't be enough, thus the grade was squared. Punter Jimmy Maners had a very, very good game and placekicker Mark Buchholz bounced back by booting two field goals, but both players were greatly overshadowed by Tech's punt and kickoff returns for touchdowns. As ESPN's Reece Davis said Saturday night, "Once again, Clemson special teams were a complete embarrassment. Week in and week out, Clemson has some kind of breakdown on special teams."

COACHING: D- For the second straight week, the only reason this wasn't given a failing grade was because of the play on defense. Bowden and staff obviously haven't solved any of the issues on special teams and for the second straight week it cost them the game. Also, the offense playing calling in the first two quarters was comical. Davis has two carries at halftime? How? Running backs coach Andre Powell said he "wasn't counting carries." All coaches insist Davis was perfectly healthy.

OVERALL: F The Tigers were embarrassed on national television and the fans were left pondering what the future holds. Fans expect and deserve better than what they've been served the last two weeks. It's one thing to flat out get beat, it's quite another to look and play like Bad News Bears. The off week couldn't be coming at a better time for Clemson so it can heal some injuries and get in the right frame of mind for the second half of the season.

CUTigers.com Top Stories