Where do you start after watching such a disgusting game? The Clemson Tigers embarrassed themselves. It wasn’t that Clemson lost (although LSU did beat Syracuse) but it was how the Tigers lost. Forget that it was Friday the 13th? Clemson Nation will never forget this day.
Dino Babers and his coaching staff had an amazing game plan for the FORMER #2 team in the country. Babers made sure the Orange knew exactly where Kelly Bryant was at all times. Syracuse hit Bryant all night during the first half. There was a moment there when Clemson and Syracuse were tied and Bryant tried to scramble for a first down. He literally hobbled and jogged to try and get the first but when contact was initiated, he gave up his attempt and headed out of bounds. That should have been an immediate red flag for Dabo Swinney. The Tigers continued with Bryant under center and it never materialized into anything more than a Playoff ending concussion. The Orange were intent on stopping the run and making the Tigers throw the ball. What was the next bad decision? Dabo elected to insert Zerrick Cooper over Hunter Johnson. Johnson was the #1 rated passer in the previous recruiting class. Johnson showed last week that he was capable of moving the pocket and making the accurate pass. Syracuse gave Clemson plenty of open looks down field but Cooper could not convert. Instead of giving Johnson a chance, Dabo decided to stay with Cooper. The offense never got going. Cooper overthrew many receivers and Etienne was left on the sideline after a big rushing touchdown. The dumbfounding coaching moves didn’t stop there. Instead of punting the ball and pinning the Orange deep with 5 minutes to go, Dabo calls a fake punt. It was DREADFUL.
I have talked about heart and will in my previous articles and tonight, it wasn’t the 2nd ranked team that played with those. From the first series, the Tigers were dominated on the defensive line. After Syracuse gave up the answering touchdown, they locked down and dominated both lines of scrimmage. Clemson’s offensive line played like they were lost. They couldn’t protect an immobile Bryant and when Cooper took the game over at QB, they didn’t give him much more time. The defensive line gave up only 3.2 yards per carry but on first downs, the defense gave up huge chunks, finding themselves behind the sticks on about 50% of second down plays. There is nothing that Clemson did well on either side of the ball that stands out besides the play of Etienne. However, Dungey was absolutely amazing tonight. He was 20/32 and threw for 287 yards and three touchdowns. He found wide-open receivers on several occasions and the secondary was left arguing all night long. This wasn’t a team that “loves” each other as much as Dabo seems to think. This was ugly in every way possible.
No Discipline PERIOD
Neither team played a clean game. In total, the two teams combined for 23 penalties and a total of 219 penalty yards. Fortunately for the Orange, the penalties they committed only lead to points once. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t commit penalties on drives that Clemson scored on but it never cost them the drive. Clemson constantly found themselves on third down committing ridiculous penalties. There is no excuse for being undisciplined if you are supposed to be the #2 team in the country. On two of Dungey’s three touchdowns, the Tigers committed a penalty on third down that resulted in a first down. Until tonight, the Tigers had been called for very few pass interference penalties. Tonight, they were flagged multiple times. Then there was the late hit out of bounds, roughing the passer penalties, and so many more mental break downs. The Tigers season may not be over but that loss ranks up there with the Sooners debacle against Iowa State.
Mr. Fix It
The Tigers have a bye week coming up and it will be a rigorous time back in Clemson. Venables, considered to be one of the best Defensive Coordinators out there, must teach tackling basics all over again and work on the front four. All four of Clemson’s defensive lineman have been considered as Top 2 Round Draft Picks in the 2018 Draft. They didn’t play like it. Their next opponent is Georgia Tech and if Kelly Bryant still isn’t healthy, the defense will be relied on even more. After watching this game, GT might run through, around and over the Tigers.
Finding Their Identity
Even in the best rushing offense, you must have the ability to throw the ball. If you can’t be successful in the passing game, you won’t win many games. The Tigers must go back to the drawing board and realize their deficiencies and figure out their strengths. We know the Tigers like to run the ball. Every defense knows this. When teams know this and they shut you down completely, you can’t pass effectively. Syracuse gave the entire country a recipe for success against Clemson. The Tigers better figure it out and figure it out fast or the Orange won’t be the only unranked team to beat Clemson this season.
Guide Through The Chaos (College Football)
Latest posts by Stephen R (see all)
- Your Guide Through The Chaos – FBS Playoff Projections - November 17, 2017
- Your Guide Through The Chaos – Can You Really Just Have 4? - November 13, 2017
- Your Guide Through The Chaos – Bet You Didn’t See That Coming! - November 12, 2017