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Clemson Football

Gameday 101: Clemson offense vs. Wake Forest

November 27, 2019

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It was another explosive effort for the Clemson offense, putting up another 500+ yard and 50+ point game. This offense has been nearly impossible to stop in recent weeks, and it’s really all started with... 

-Trevor Lawrence. Surprise, surprise, but the phenomenal quarterback put up another fantastic effort. Lawrence went 21-27 for 272 yards and four touchdowns. Arguably the best of those touchdowns came early on in the second quarter. With the Tigers at the Wake Forest 14 yard line, Lawrence dropped to throw against a Cover 2 from Wake. He gave a shoulder fake to the flat towards Cornell Powell, freezing the safety for just a split second. The corner passed off Higgins, and by the time he got back to try and make a play, Lawrence had already dropped a dime right between both of them. The touch and placement Lawrence has found in recent weeks makes this offense deadly. 

-Lawrence’s favorite target in this one was Tee Higgins. Higgins almost feels like the forgotten man right now, but he four catches for 64 yards and three of Lawrence’s touchdowns on the day. He did it in all sorts of ways, too. In addition to his usual routes on the outside, we saw him run right down the seam near the end of the first half, absolutely abusing safety Trey Rucker and hauling in a 30-yard backbreaker of a touchdown. We saw Higgins play in the slot some as a freshman, and it has to be good, as a coaching staff, to know that he can still run these routes down the seam to perfection. 

-Staying with the wide receivers, did anyone even notice that Justyn Ross and Amari Rodgers both suffered minor injuries early on and didn’t return? The Clemson offense didn’t miss a beat, with Higgins stepping up to have a big game, along with Diondre Overton pulling in four passes for 52 yards and Joseph Ngata and Frank Ladson pulling in two catches and a touchdown apiece. This wide receiver group is so deep and provides so many options for the offense.

-Travis Etienne doesn’t seem to mind being snubbed for the Doak Walker award. He keeps chugging along, putting up another monster effort with 121 yards on 16 carries. On the drive that ended with his lone touchdown of the day, he carried it on every play, gaining 19, 5, 3, and finally his scamper of 14 into the endzone where he showed off his power at the goal line. 

-After scoring a quick 14 points, Clemson stalled for a bit midway through the first half, with drives ending in a fumble on a punt, a punt, a field goal, and a punt. After that? Clemson exploded for two touchdowns in a grand total of 2:06 of game time to end the first half, including a one-play, 30-yard touchdown that took just seven seconds. Clemson then put it away with two touchdowns to start the second half.

-The running backs have become a big part of the passing game. Etienne grabbed three passes for 37 yards, while Lyn-J Dixon brought in just two catches but went 62 yards on them, including a 55-yard catch and run on a screen where he showed off his elusiveness and elite speed. If teams get too aggressive in trying to stop the run, a screen to either of them could be a backbreaker. 

After a week off, the Tigers will come back on Saturday and take on a struggling South Carolina squad. We’ll have the full breakdown of that one next week. 

Note: We will have a defensive look at Gameday 101 coming out later.

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Gameday 101: Clemson offense vs. Wake Forest

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