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Clemson Football

THE ROAR: Reloaded, Eye of the Tiger, and This is Jeopardy!

January 1, 2021
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At last, the College Football Playoff is here. There were times I didn’t think we would make it this far. Heck, on June 28, I thought we wouldn’t see a season as quickly as things were shutting down across the country. 

Then this happened...

Well, “Big Trev the Giant Killer,” if I had a Heisman vote-- you got it on August 8. Honestly, would the season have taken place without this tweet and the subsequent tweets from Trevor Lawrence? I think it’s reasonable to believe things might not have gone the way they did if No. 16 hadn’t spoken up.

THE OBVIOUS.

So last season, Clemson didn’t exactly cruise past Ohio State, but the Tigers’ found the will to win, taking a 29-23 win over the Buckeyes. Looking back, we wrote at the time that Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne made the biggest plays of the game, and you could argue that they are still the two best players on the field.

“In a duel between the most balanced teams in America, it was Clemson’s dual-threat combo that stole the show as quarterback Trevor Lawrence finished as the Tigers’ leading rusher and running back Travis Etienne led the team with 98 yards receiving.

After trailing 16-0, the Tigers bounced back and outscored Ohio State 29-7 in the final 33 minutes of action, advancing to their fourth title game in five seasons.”

Perhaps the most significant moments came during Clemson’s four-play, 94-yard drive that Dabo Swinney knew was coming.

“Well, I just said, ‘Let's go win it, man.’ Trevor [Lawrence] kind of took over the huddle, to be quite honest with you,” Swinney said. “He called the guys up, and he just said, ‘Hey, man, I love all of you guys. Let's go win this thing.’” 

Rewatch that drive (starts at 3:03):

Those four plays...wow.

Let’s go win this thing, indeed! 

THE HINGES.

The site will have a much larger breakdown of tonight’s game coming out at noon, but the truth is, in my opinion, this game comes down to a few things.

No. 1 - Can Justin Fields threaten Clemson in the downfield passing game. If not, it’s going to be tough for Ohio State to move the ball against the Tigers. There is some debate about Fields and his ability to spread the ball around as consistently as he will have to against Brent Venables’ defense. 

Fields just hasn’t been sharp the past few games, throwing 5 interceptions in the past three games. That’s not going to cut the mustard tonight, in my estimation.

No. 2 - Can Ohio State slow down Clemson’s passing attack? Yes, it's a shorter season, but this group has been the most efficient in Tiger history, and Lawrence and Company have done most of the work without two of the top wideouts [Frank Ladson and Joe Ngata] most of the year, and Justyn Ross all season.

Clemson enters tonight’s game averaging 343.8 passing yards per game, the top average in the ACC and the seventh-best in the nation. The average is 10 yards ahead of the school-record mark of 333.9 passing yards per game, set by Clemson's 2016 national title team quarterbacked by Deshaun Watson.

No. 3 - I honestly think the running game on both sides of the ball will also help determine who walks down Bourbon Street with the Sugar Bowl trophy. 

If Clemson’s defense slows down the Buckeye passing attack, the game will quickly fall on Master Teague and Trey Sermon's shoulders. That’s not a recipe for success as the defensive front in orange is a stiff group to attack.

When it comes to Clemson’s offense, Tony Elliott said that it's a natural cat-and-mouse game, and last season’s tape helps. That should benefit the Tigers as Lawrence’s speed, which surprised then Ohio State defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley last season, is still a weapon for the Tigers.

“I anticipate they're going to have some things that we've got to adjust to throughout the course of the game. But it's the combination of getting ready for this one, making sure that we understood from last year's take where we needed to improve because, obviously, it's professional courtesy," Tony Elliott said on Tuesday. “They're going to try and attack some of the things they had some success attacking last year. And we've got to make sure we fix those. And then they're going to build upon the strengths of this team.”

Clemson Sports Talk

 

MUST-READ: 

Way Back When: The punch that ended Woody Hayes' career and catapulted Danny Ford's

RELOADED. 

During fall camp, Travis Etienne dropped this quote on us:

"Everyone's doing great. Everyone's just stepping into positions. Like my coach always says, we don't rebuild; we reload. Everybody focusing in on their job, each new person doing their job. And I mean, we're just steady rolling. I mean, nothing has changed, but the names in the back of the jerseys. We still have one common goal. We still want to be the best of the best, best in the country. So we're still putting all that effort and work that we've always have done, just different guys."

The rebuild vs. reload argument is one you hear about the top-level programs, and absolutely Clemson deserves to be given the benefit of the doubt, but until you prove it, it’s just talk.

Looking back on what the TIgers did this year, in addition to winning their sixth consecutive ACC Title and earning a sixth consecutive trip to the College Football Playoff, it’s safe to call it reloading.

Remember these comments from our fine feathered rivals? 

“When Deshaun Watson leaves, you guys will come back down to earth.” -- Enter Trevor Lawrence.

“When Trevor Lawrence leaves, you guys will come back down to earth.” -- Enter D.J. Uiagalelei. 

D.J. Uiagalelei at Notre Dame – Passing: 30-41, 342, 2 TD, Rushing: 13 carries, 2 yards, 1 TD

SONG OF THE DAY. Back in my Johnstone F-327 days, we would blast Survivor’s ‘Eye of the Tiger’ on the stereo before heading to Death Valley. 2020 certainly presented a lot of challenges, but here’s to the Tigers and you all facing 2021 with the eye of the tiger and the heart of a champion. 

- ”Eye of the Tiger” - by Survivor -

A BIT OFF THE PATH. 

So I’m not a conspiracy theorist at all, but I’ve been intrigued for years as to why we haven’t been back to the moon in my ENTIRE life, but sounds like that might change in 2021...at least I can hope.

Also, the first week of the new year will also bring us a solemn goodbye as this legendary game show host's final episode will air after he passed away in 2020: Who is Alex Trebek?

I loved him on Jeopardy! and also on Classic Concentration, the latter being a great show to watch when I was out sick from school. Ah, the good ol’ days.

That’s all for this morning. Enjoy the day and come hang out with us this evening in the forums during the Sugar Bowl.

Let us know what you think about THE ROAR! If you liked it, make sure you SHARE! 

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THE ROAR: Reloaded, Eye of the Tiger, and This is Jeopardy!

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