O-LINE REVIEW: With three redshirt freshmen starting on the offensive line Saturday there was natural concern facing an N.C. State that came in leading the ACC in sacks and tackles for loss.
However after rushing for over 150 yards and scoring 27 points against what most would consider a fairly stout defense, some of those concerns have gone away- at least for now.
"Now I feel pretty good. I believe they were leading the league in sacks and tackles for losses so that was a concern," said Bowden. "We came out of the game with no sacks. I know we had a couple of tackles for loss. One of our linemen got buried in a double team and didn't see the run through.
"Real pleased with the performance of those guys. Not only with their pass-protection but their run blocking. We did have some things schemed up that [I didn't reveal] in terms of reverses and we also added another protection. But we didn't need it."
Bowden later added he felt his team was "real fortunate" to open the season with three of the first four games being out of conference considering the injuries suffered to so many starters, including two on the offensive line and three on the defensive front.
"With those linemen getting some work with three out of conference games before we get into the heart of our conference schedule the rest of the way … it's really helped with the injuries we've had," he said.
SPECIAL TEAMS IMPROVEMENT: Through three games, Clemson's improvement on special teams has been considerable compared to previous seasons.
Bowden said Sunday much of the credit goes to new special teams coordinator Andre Powell, who was given the role during the off-season.
"He brought some things to the table from a meeting standpoint. He held my feet to the fire on meetings," he said. "The practice time has not changed that much but how we practice has.
"Early in the season, the thing that probably suffers the most is the kicking game and we really haven't had that happen.
"I attribute that to him."
So far this season the Tigers have scored on a 96-yard kickoff return, made all attempted field goals and extra points and played much better in kick and punt-coverage situations.
Punters Dawson Zimmerman and Jimmy Maners have also done a solid job. Maners recorded a 60-yard punt against the Wolfpack and Zimmerman had a 50-yarder in his first attempt against Alabama.
S.C. STATE PREVIEW: The Tigers battle S.C. State next Saturday in Death Valley at 1 PM. The Bulldogs have won two games in a row after a season-opening 17-0 loss at Central Florida.
This weekend S.C. State defeated Bethune-Cookman, 28-19. Running backs Will Ford and Travil Jamison paced the offense with 175 yards and 84 yards rushing respectively to along with a combined three touchdowns.
QB Malcolm Long completed 16-of-24 passes as well for 211 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
The Bulldogs also beat Benedict College 42-3 in week two.
And even though S.C. State is from the FCS, the Bulldogs will provide somewhat of a challenge this coming weekend.
At least to Bowden.
"When you play as many young people [as we do] right now, it's game time experience," said Bowden. "Fast-paced, multiple looks both defensively and offensively. They throw multiple fronts at you - evens, odds, stack.
"The fast-paced looks that we'll see through the course of the game [will be valuable] with three freshmen linemen and then with young players like Andre Branch, Da'Quan Bowers."
Clemson and S.C. State have never met on the gridiron.
RANKINGS UPDATE: The Tigers moved up two spots in the USA Today/Coaches' poll after Saturday's 27-9 win over N.C. State to No. 21. The Tigers are one of three teams from the ACC ranked in the top 25. Wake Forest is currently ranked 18th while FSU entered this week's poll at No. 25.
Florida State hosts Wake Forest next Saturday at 7:00 PM in a key Atlantic Division game.
North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Georgia Tech are also receiving votes in the USA Today/Coaches' poll.
Also, in the AP poll, Clemson moved back among the top 25 teams in the nation after being out of that poll since the week one loss to Alabama.
The Tigers are currently ranked 23rd according to the AP.
QUICK HITS: Bowden said he has planned to take the football first had his team won the coin toss each of the last two weeks. ... Bowden also highlighted that he became somewhat frustrated with his defensive ends when QB Russell Wilson broke contain and that he's also looking for more three and outs. ... There were no injury updates provided Sunday but Bowden said Ricky Sapp played in 13 snaps and recorded a sack and a tackle for loss. ... There was a power failure on Clemson's campus from 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM today, which did not allow Bowden to watch film as early as he usually does on a typical Sunday.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "That blocked extra point ended up being really really big and it happened in the second play of the game. I doubt Jarvis Jenkins, when he blocked that point, knew how big of a factor that would be." - Bowden on the importance of a blocked extra point being the difference between a one and two-score difference in the second half Saturday.
Sunday Bowden Teleconference
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