Clemson Football: Survive the Bye Week


No Clemson football game again this weekend! How do we survive?

Well another successful game for the Clemson Tigers but not without a little suspense. Thursday night’s 20-17 victory was physical, entertaining, and wasn’t over until Louisville’s hail mary pass was intercepted. Now the 3-0 Tigers will wait until next weekend to face a Notre Dame squad that not only has their attention but the attention of the college football world.

It’s time for my look back at the latest Clemson game.

Youth Ensemble. Both Louisville and Clemson lost a lot of upperclassmen from last year’s teams but as they say, the beat goes on. Anyone who watched Thursday night’s game had to be blown away by all of the young talent. Both teams have obviously recruited well and their futures look bright. Here are some of the freshman who impacted the game:

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Mitch Hyatt starts at left tackle for Clemson and Geron Christian starts at the same position for Louisville.

The Tigers freshman kicker Greg Huegel made kicks of 27 and 36 yards.

Louisville has receivers Jaylen Smith, Devante Peete, Jamari Staples, and Traveon Samuels who also doubles as a kick returner. Along with TE Micky Crum, the newcomers combined for 13 catches for 195 yards and a kickoff return for a TD by Samuels.

Clemson has its receiver quartet of Deon Cain, Ray Ray McCloud, Hunter Renfrow, and Trevion Thompson. This group had totals of 7 catches for 87 yards and a touchdown.

From the first touchdown of the game by redshirt, walk-on freshman Hunter Renfrow to the Cardinals 5’7 Samuel’s big kickoff return during the fourth quarter. The youth movement was served and fans of both teams have plenty to look forward to now and beyond.

Getting defensive. Having to live up to 2014’s number one ranking hasn’t fazed Venables 2015 crew. In fact they embrace the challenge to try to ascend to the top. Most of the key members of last year’s defense are on NFL rosters and so far 2015 version is making it look like more of the same at Clemson.

Louisville came into the game struggling with their quarterback situation but loaded with talent at running back and wide receiver. Facing the Cardinals in a hostile environment seemed to only help the young Tiger defense rise to the occasion. Not even the big stage of ESPN could taper their enthusiasm to continue on the path to be the best in the nation once again.

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Hard running Brandon Radcliffe was held to 45 yards on 19 carries and averaged only 2.4 yards. Louisville mustered 272 yards with 253 coming through the air and only 19 on the ground.

Even though they performed well, the Tigers will look to improve and clean up a couple of big mistakes in the passing game. Notre Dame is next and they will bring an explosive offense to Death Valley-stay tuned!

Run Mr. Watson.

Deshaun Watson is a very capable runner but he is widely known as prolific passer. Against Louisville, he carried the ball 12 times for 45 yards and looked comfortable doing it. He glides effortlessly with long strides and he seems to always lean forward. I think his running opportunities will increase over the course of the season. He reminds me of former Heisman trophy winner and FSU great Charlie Ward. Ward was not a speed merchant but he was smooth in and out of the pocket. Watson has the same abilities but unlike Ward, he will have a career in the NFL and not the NBA. But he is known as one of the best basketball players on the team.

Other Tiger notes from the game.

  1. Wayne Gallman had 139 yards on 24 carries and now averages over 100 yards a game.
  2. The Louisville offense was held to 2-14 on 3rd down.
  3. Former walk-on Hunter Renfrow caught his first career TD pass.
  4. The defense came into the game with only two sacks but got after the quarterback and finished with 5 for the game. Clemson has a total of 10 sacks in their two games against the Cards.

#6 Notre Dame and ESPN Sportscenter are coming to Death Valley on Oct 3rd. Gameday hasn’t announced their destination yet but this game is a finalist and a likely choice.

Notre Dame survived at UVA(34-27) who just got blasted at home last night by Boise State 56-14 and they stoned Georgia Tech’s triple option offense to get a 30-22 win. The Irish play UMASS at home today before the marquee matchup with the Tigers.

I will have more on this game later this week. Check out the highlights from Notre Dame’s win over Georgia Tech.