Good, Bad and the Ugly
The Clemson Tigers pulled out a close win against a tough Boston College team last night, 19-13, and yes, Victoria, there were quite a few things good we can finally talk about. Of utmost importance was the Tigers finally got the running game going. Starting RB Will Shipley was hurt last week, so the brunt of the carries went to sophomore Kobe Pace, who responded with 125 yards on 19 carries, including the Tigers only touchdown on a 59 yard run. With Shipley going down, and Dixon transferring, the Tigers got a spark from freshman RB Phil Mafah. Mafah carried the ball only 7 times but managed 58 yards, 8.2 YPC. QB DJ Uiagalelei was finally involved in the run game, getting 50 yards rushing on 12 carries. Joseph Ngata came up big tonight, hauling in 4 passes for 111 yards, including a HUGE catch and run for 54 yards late in the game.
The offensive line had to retool a bit last night, moving Matt Bockhorst back to guard and inserting Hunter Rayburn at the center position. Starting guard Will Putnam injured his toe last week against NC State on the first series, Bockhorst is much more comfortable at guard and the OL looked to be a little more in sync and the run game racked up 231 yards rushing.
Defensively.what can you say. The Tigers were facing a Boston College team fresh off of beating Missouri last week and a confident team. Linebackers James Skalski, Baylon Spector and Trenton Simpson are the heart of this Clemson defense. With the injuries to Tyler Davis and Bryan Bresee, this put a lot of pressure on the “next man up” concept, Ruke Orhorhoro and Etinosa Reuben stepped in and played hard all night against a big, very experienced BC offensive line. Freshmen Tre Williams and Payton Page were thrown into the fire and got valuable reps to hopefully solidify this DL for the rest of the season. BC managed only 46 yards on 34 rushes for the night, a vast improvement over last week.
The secondary was tested. The BC quarterback, Dennis Grosel, was pressured all night and managed to complete 23 of 40 for 311 yards, but had two interceptions. CB Andrew Booth led the Tigers in tackles with 8, and S Nolan Turner was in on 7 tackles.
When discussing the bad, we could go several ways. One obvious negative take away are injuries. Too many people want to come down on the passing game for not being accurate or overthrows, or other reasons. Here is what a lot of people did not get to see last night. When the stadium was empty, and everyone was on their way home or even at home, DJ was on the field getting in extra practice with the coaches. Working on throws he obviously wished he had back, working on his footwork. Injuries played a big part in the passing game last night. TE Bradon Galloway went out in the first half, WR Frank Ladson is still nursing a groin injury, and TE Davis Allen was ejected on a “lame” targeting call, also in the first half. THis left the TE position in the hands of freshman Sage Innis, Jaelyn Lay, and Luke Price. It didn’t help that WR/PR Will Taylor left the game with an injury, also in the 1st half. Needless to say, you want to come out of games without major injuries. Players are going to get bruised and nicked up in most games, but coaches try to avoid the major ones. Such was the case with Justyn Ross last night. It’s going to be a long season, this Clemson team will need Ross down the line.
Ugly can also describe several things that happened. Ugly is having three guys responsible for blocking opposing players coming up the middle and blocking a punt inside your own 40 yard line. Ugly is having the ball 1st and 10 in your own territory with just a little over 2 minutes left in the game and you only run off 8 seconds before punting the ball back with only a 6 point lead. Ugly is having a 3rd and one in the 4th quarter and calling an end run when you have a 225lb RB and a 250lb quarterback would have been a better option to keep the drive going. Maybe the biggest “ugly” of them all last night was the officials making random bogus calls or not calling anything at all on obvious penalties. For example, on 3rd and long for BC, the Tigers defended the play, but wait……a flag and a roughing the passer penalty was called. Several replays, even the announcers called it a bad call. Another example, the targeting call on Clemson TE Davis Allen. The replays clearly showed he didn’t make contact in the neck and head area, yet, the call was upheld and there goes Allen for the 2nd half of this game. You had to laugh when CB Andrew Booth was tiptoeing along the line and ran past the defensive line before the ball was snapped, and there was no call. BC sidelines went nuts.
All in all, bottom line, a win is a win. The Tigers cut down on the penalties, rushed for 200+ and held BC to 46 yards rushing. Clemson now has off until October 15th. This team REALLY needs this, good timing.