TCI hands out some helmet stickers from second-ranked Clemson’s 30-24 victory over Troy on Saturday…
After two games as a starting safety, Smith is the Tigers’ team leader with 23 tackles. 14 of those tackles came in Saturday’s game, making him Clemson’s top tackler by a wide margin. Seven of his takedowns were solo, again far and away the best on the squad. Normally, a safety being the leading tackler isn’t a good thing, and that’s certainly the case after a sloppy performance. However, Smith also had half a tackle for loss in the game, so he was up at the line of scrimmage on occasion.
The MIKE linebacker continues to impress as the new starter in the middle of Brent Venables’ defense. Joseph had seven tackles against the Trojans, including two for loss, and he also snagged one of the team’s three interceptions against Troy quarterbacks. The added responsibility of having to quarterback the defense can sometimes cause an inexperienced player to be slow to react, but Joseph isn’t showing any signs of that through two games.
Renfrow did what Renfrow does. He was targeted four times in the game, catching one and dropping one. It doesn’t sound like an impressive day, but the one catch was a beauty—a 34-yard snag on the left sideline on a post-corner route that required him to haul in the ball while toe-tapping inside the end zone. It was Clemson’s only touchdown of the first three quarters, coming at the 10:06 mark of the second quarter.
The behemoth freshman keeps finding new ways to get fans on their feet. He tied for second on Clemson’s defense with seven tackles, including two for loss. In fact, his first two tackles of the game went for losses, meaning he had 2.5 tackles for loss within his first 12 career tackles. Lawrence’s play in the interior of the defensive front was a big reason why the Tigers were able to keep the Trojans bottled up on the ground, save one 66-yard run for a touchdown that was the product of a quality play call.
No fan walked away from Saturday’s game saying, “Wow, did you see Huegel kick the ball?” It wasn’t that kind of a game for the second-year placekicker. After a week where special teams was under the microscope—most especially the kicking unit after Dabo Swinney elected not to kick a short field goal that would have iced the win against Auburn late in the proceedings—Huegel and his cohorts did their jobs. He hit all three of his field goals from distances of 26, 32, and 34 yards. Every snap was good, every hold was good, and every kick was good. On a day in which even Clemson’s positive plays were met with eyerolls, this might have been the most positive development of all.