Clemson Football did a lot of good things against Miami on Saturday night. The Tigers extended to a 24-0 lead by halftime. The defense scored a safety in the 3rd quarter to put points on the board.
Unfortunately, Clemson also made plenty of mistakes. As good as the first half was for the offense, the second half was a disaster. They turned the ball over multiple times, allowing Miami to put points on the board.
The defense played well enough to shut the Canes out, but the offense choked that accomplishment away by giving Miami a short field over and over.
Earlier in the day, some of the teams ahead of Clemson in the College Football Playoff almost tripped up. TCU needed all sixty minutes to defeat Baylor, and Michigan needed the same to squeeze out a win against Illinois. If ever there was a day when Clemson should have found that killer instinct inside them, Saturday was that day.
The defense found that instinct. The offense proved they don’t have it.
The peers of Clemson Football didn’t impress on Saturday, and this was the Tigers’ chance to wow the committee. They dropped the ball.
The Tiger offense, especially DJ Uiagalelei, has made big strides since the 2021 season. They have improved in most passing categories by upwards of 30 ranking spots among FBS offenses. The offense’s improvement, particularly DJU’s, is a big reason why Clemson has wrapped up the Atlantic Division and will face UNC in the championship game in Charlotte.
They are also the biggest reason why Clemson isn’t likely to qualify for the playoffs. The offense can’t be trusted to bring their best effort for a full football game.
Despite his improvement, DJU is still the biggest contributor to the offense’s inconsistency.
I’ve written that it was a stretch to think all Clemson Football’s problems would be solved in one offseason. Brandon Streeter and the offensive staff deserve credit for the progress the unit has made this season.
Nonetheless, the reason Clemson Football won’t be in the 2022 playoffs lies squarely on the offensive side.