Clemson Football

Tiger Tracker: How Did Clemson Perform Against South Carolina?

November 28, 2017

Offense: A

If not for one late interception by Kelly Bryant and one failed fourth down attempt, this may very well have been an A+ game for the Tigers offensively. Clemson did just about anything they wanted offensively, running the ball at about four yards a clip for a total of 184 rushing yards and passing for 285. Kelly Bryant led the way through the air, going 23-34 for 272 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. On the ground, it was the freshman phenom Travis Etienne, taking 9 carries for 41 yards and a score. 

The one thing that had been missing this season was the big plays through the air. Bryant just hadn't been able to get on the same page with his recievers. That changed on Saturday. It started in the second quarter, as Bryant hooked up with another freshman in Tee Higgins to convert a big third and 10. 

The Tigers would score on that drive to make it 14-0. But the Bryant to Higgins connection didn't end there, as the pair would hook up once again on the very next drive. This time, Higgins breaks away from the nickel corner on a third and four, and Bryant hits him on a 40-yard bomb. 

Bryant's day wouldn't be done there, however. The Tigers would get another big play in the passing game, although this one was more thanks to the receiver, Hunter Renfrow. It isn't any less important, though. 

Renfrow takes the little bubble screen, makes a few guys miss and makes a house call. These big chunk plays in the passing game are huge for the offense moving forward to ensure teams don't stack the box. 

Defense: A+

It's really, really hard to find something to complain about defensively. The only thing possible is that Clemson didn't get the shutout, but even that wasn't the defense's fault. A Kelly Bryant turnover set South Carolina up in Clemson territory, but the Gamecocks went backwards on the drive before settling for a field goal. 

The defense actually got the scoring going for the game. After a Will Spiers punt pinned the Gamecocks deep, corner Ryan Carter read the eyes of Jake Bentley and snagged his second pick of the season, this one going for an easy six points. 

The defense didn't give the South Carolina offense any breathing room. They stuffed the run, only allowing 81 yards on the ground. Bentley's issues against the Tigers continued, meanwhile, as he only hit on 16 of his 29 attempts for 126 yards and two interceptions. He did have one touchdown pass, but it was in the fourth quarter with the game well out of reach. Even when Clemson corner Trayvon Mullen slipped and it looked like he may get a big gain to Bryan Edwards, Mullen made up the space quickly and snagged the ball for his third pick of the year.

Nothing went right for the Gamecocks on offense. They can thank the Clemson defense for that.

Special Teams: B+

Will Spiers continues to be a weapon for Clemson. It was his punt following Clemson's first possession that pinned the Gamecocks back at their own one-yard line and led to the Ryan Carter pick six. 

He would have two more punts on the day. One would be downed inside the 10, the other inside the 15. It can't be stated enough how big his impact has been on this team. 

The return game also produced a big play in the form of Travis Etienne, who gave the Tigers good field position to start the second half. 

Unfortunately, the kicking game suffered a set back as Alex Spence missed an extra point. That missed extra point prevents this grade from being an A.


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