Following Clemson’s sloppy 30-24 win over Troy on Saturday, Clemson receiver Hunter Renfrow said the positives of the game should be focused on more than the negatives.
Well, through two games, Renfrow has certainly been one of the few positives on Clemson’s offense.
For the second consecutive week, Renfrow hauled in a big touchdown for the Tigers.
With the score tied at 3 early in the second quarter, Renfrow beat a Troy safety on a post-corner route, stretched out at the goal line and caught a pass from Deshaun Watson. Before his momentum carried him out of bounds, Renfrow tapped his right foot in the end zone to secure Clemson’s first touchdown of the game.
“I actually didn’t even mean to put my foot down,” Renfrow said after the game. “It was kind of a reaction just to brace myself. I didn’t know I was that far towards the out of bounds.”
Up to that scoring drive, Clemson had managed just 71 yards of total offense on its first four drives, which included two three-and-outs and an interception.
Renfrow’s touchdown was much like the one he scored at Auburn in the season opener, when he ran a corner route and extended his body to make an impressive grab in the back of the end zone that gave Clemson a 19-6 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Dating to the College Football Playoff semifinal game against Oklahoma last December, Renfrow has recorded five touchdowns and scored at least one in each of Clemson’s last four contests.
“It’s pretty special,” Renfrow said. “When you have a guy like Deshaun throwing, things like that happen, so I give credit to him.”
Renfrow’s performance on Saturday was a positive, but even it came attached with a negative.
On the touchdown play, Renfrow injured his right hand. He stayed in the game after sustaining the injury, though he had a cast on the hand after the game.
“I’m not 100-percent sure yet,” Renfrow said of the injury. “I know it’s not broken, so that’s good. … It’s more my thumb.”
For the most part, it was a dismal showing for Clemson’s offense Saturday.
While Renfrow played well, most of his fellow receivers didn’t. Clemson’s receiving corps, considered one of the best in the country, dropped seven passes, with Mike Williams, Deon Cain and Trevion Thompson the main culprits.
“That’s on us a receiving unit,” Renfrow said of the drops, “and we have to get better.”
Meanwhile, Watson completed less than 50 percent of his 53 passes, threw two interceptions and was inaccurate on several other occasions.
The offensive line wasn’t as consistent as it was at Auburn, either.
Overall, Clemson’s offense looked discombobulated. The effort was a far cry from the expectations Clemson’s offense holds for itself, as well as the expectations others have for the offense.
“It’s just the little things that we have to do, and make the routine plays,” Renfrow said. “When we make the routine plays, we’ll get in a rhythm and make something happen. But we just have to treat practice like a game and continue to improve.”
After averaging 38.5 points and 515 yards per game during the 2015 season, Clemson has averaged 24.5 and 406.5, respectively, thus far.
Clemson’s offense isn’t freaking out, though. There’s a lot of football still to be played and plenty of time to correct the early mistakes. Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott attributed the offense’s struggles to a lack of execution, and is challenging his group to improve.
The Tigers may be fortunate to be 2-0, but they are 2-0 nonetheless, and Clemson isn’t taking that for granted. Now, for the offense, it’s all about moving forward and getting back on track.
“Troy’s a good team,” Renfrow said. “I know we should have beat them, but they’re a good team and we got the win, so that’s all that matters. We need to focus on the positives more than negatives sometimes.”