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Clemson Football

Gameday 101: Clemson Offense vs. Georgia Tech

September 5, 2019

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While the defense spent the offseason retooling, the offense knew exactly what it could be coming into 2019. The Tigers returned eight starters on that side of the ball, losing left tackle Mitch Hyatt, wide receiver Hunter Renfrow and tight end Milan Richard. Returning? A bevy of playmakers that was sure to give any defensive coordinator nightmares weeks in advance. The only question left; could they live up to the hype?

-It was a slow start, as Clemson’s offense went three and out to begin the game. However, the Yellow Jackets muffed the ensuing punt and the Tigers recovered inside the 20. Five plays later, the Tigers got into the endzone on a Trevor Lawrence keeper off a beautiful fake and fantastically blocked play.

More on Lawrence’s running in a second. 

-Travis Etienne busted off a solid run on the Tiger's second possession but fumbled on a freak play. That was the last time all night he would have a negative play. The following possession, on first and 20 after a Jackson Carman holding penalty, Etienne would get the ball again from the Clemson 10-yard line. A delayed counter draw play allowed the blocks to set up, and Etienne following behind the big left tackle Carman, who got a big pancake block. From there, it appeared the Tech defenders had Etienne pinned in. Following a slight hesitation, Etienne blew by his would-be tacklers and went for a school record-tying 90-yard touchdown.

Etienne has the best 0-60 acceleration I’ve seen since C.J. Spiller. If you think you have an angle, you don’t. Etienne would finish with 205 yards and 3 touchdowns on just 12 carries.

-Speaking of Carman. Maybe we should consider “IHOP” as a nickname because he was serving up pancakes all night. Look at this absurd play where he flattens two defensive linemen. 

If that’s any indication, the Tigers will be just fine minus Hyatt. 

-Back to Lawrence. He did not have the cleanest of games, throwing two interceptions and for just 168 yards. However, we saw a new wrinkle in his game; the ability to run. Lawrence ran multiple designed quarterback keeps, and showed an ability to duck away from the pressure and use his long stride to cover a lot of ground quickly. As if you didn’t have enough to worry about with his arm, now you have to deal with that. 

-With all the talk about Justyn Ross, it sort of feels like people forgot Tee Higgins is pretty good too. He not only has the ability to go up and get it, but he can shed the tackle and outrace the defender after doing so. That’s just unfair. 

-How about Chase Brice? The redshirt sophomore came in to relieve Lawrence and went 5-7 for 53 yards and a dime of a touchdown to Frank Ladson.

-Brice would have had two scores, but receiver Brannon Spector dropped a 4th down pass in the back of the endzone. Unacceptable. You cannot wear #13 and drop passes. It just can’t happen. 

-Consider this final thought. The Tigers at times looked sloppy and rusty, and made some big mistakes. Yet, when their superstar quarterback had an off night, they rushed for 411 yards and five touchdowns to pick up the slack. In total, the Tigers had 632 yards and 52 points, despite turning the ball over three times and having some unorganized looking drives. That’s scary. 

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Gameday 101: Clemson Offense vs. Georgia Tech

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