The Clemson Insider takes a look back at No. 2 Clemson’s 30-24 victory on Saturday in Death Valley.
It was a slow start for No. 2 Clemson in the first half after many mistakes were made that made things a little more interesting than the 80,000 would have liked. Ray Ray McCloud’s 75-yard punt return for a touchdown was ruled a fumble after he let go of the ball after crossing the goal line. The Tigers had several dropped passes, missed assignments on the offensive line and Deshaun Watson was off.
However, Clemson rallied with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The Tigers gained some rhythm after Watson completed a touchdown pass to defensive tackle Christian Wilkins that gave them a 10-point lead. Not long after, Watson completed a 23-yard touchdown pass to Deon Cain that put them in control of the game, finally.
With 13:50 left in the game, Watson’s play-action pass to Christian Wilkins on third-and-one put the Tigers up 27-10, giving Clemson its 40th straight win to an unranked opponent.
What went right?
Deshaun Watson was able to gain momentum in the fourth quarter that helped give the Tigers the win. He finished the fourth quarter 7 of 10 for 68 yards and two touchdowns. He was just 20 of 42 for 224 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in the first three quarters of the game.
Despite having a slow start, one of his biggest plays came in the first quarter, when the junior was able to complete a 35-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow that put the Tigers up 10-3. Renfrow made a diving stab at the ball, while dragging his left foot to complete the touchdown.
What went wrong?
What didn’t go wrong? In the first half alone, the Tigers looked more like the Bad News Bears. They dropped three passes; one would have been a touchdown. The offensive line looked inconsistent. Watson was out of rhythm and Ray Ray McCloud needed to know when to let go of the ball when crossing the goal line. Trevion Thompson had three dropped passes. The man himself, Watson, was off completing only 27 of 52 passes and throwing two interceptions.