Outside of a 15-yard touchdown pass from C.J. Spiller to Tyler Grisham in the first quarter, there isn't much to talk about. The Tigers ended the game with just 192 yards of total offense, including just 56 on the ground and 136 through the air. The running lanes were non-existent but the offensive line didn't give up one sack the entire game and held off the ACC's leading pass rusher in Clint Sintim. Cullen Harper didn't have any interceptions but did have a sure pick-six dropped. Overall, not a good day but killer mistakes were held to minimum and that alone keeps the "F" all the weekly report card.
Simply put, Clemson won Saturday's game because of its defense. Virginia managed just 30 yards on the ground, threw three interceptions and truly never mounted a serious scoring drive the entire game. The Tigers' pass rush was also better, recording two sacks. One of the biggest stats of the day was fourth down conversions- Virginia was 0-for-2 as Clemson's defense was ready for the challenge on both occasions. Anytime you hold the opposition under 200 yards of total offense you expect to win- and that's exactly what happened Saturday.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B
Nobody thought Mark Buchholz would connect on a 59-yard field goal to end the first half, and he didn't, but he did convert a pressure-packed kick from 23-yards away and also made a 32-yarder in the second quarter as well. Clemson's return game was MIA but the punting was pretty good (six punts for a 41.5 average). The play of Byron Maxwell on special teams is really starting to standout and he has had several more big collisions and always seems to be in the right place at the right time.
Needing a win to keep bowl hopes alive, Dabo Swinney and his staff had the Tigers ready to play against a physical team on the road, and that's not something that could be said all too often in recent years under Tommy Bowden. The C.J. Spiller touchdown pass provided all the offense Clemson would need and the defense was brilliant. Yes, you'd like to see more points on the board, but this was the kind of game many thought it would be coming in - a slugfest, and the Tigers figured out a way to win it. Another week and another solid job by Dabo and company.
This was the kind of game Clemson would figure out a way to lose in recent years- especially on the road against a physical, Big Ten style of football team. Yet Saturday afternoon the Tigers won. The offense could have been better but it didn't have to be because of sound play everywhere else. Next week won't be as easy but it sure is nice to talk about the opportunity to go to a bowl game with just one more win compared to what was being said two weeks ago at this time.
GRADES: Tigers Win Slugfest
CUTigers.com Top Stories
Inside the Matchup: Clemson vs Florida StateThe Tigers and Seminoles face off with CFP implications on the line
Scout CFBYesterday at 11:11 AM
TUESDAY DABO PC AND INTERVIEWSCUTigers was at the Clemson West Zone on Tuesday for Dabo Swinney's weekly press conference and interviews with Brent Venables, Christian Wilkins, Jadar Johnson and Kendall Joesph.
CUTigers.comTuesday at 12:00 PM
Updated Scout 300 Trend Meter For 2017The updated Scout 300 Trend Meter for the 2017 class takes a look at which schools are trending for each uncommitted member in the Scout 300.
Scout FootballTuesday at 5:40 AM
RECRUITING RADARIn our weekly Recruiting Radar, CUTigers Recruiting Analyst Gary McDaniel updates you on the latest news and intel on the Clemson recruiting front!
CUTigers.comMonday at 3:20 PM