TCI hands out some helmet stickers from third-ranked Clemson’s 59-0 victory over South Carolina State on Saturday…
As it turns out, the nation’s most embarrassing play from last week might have been the best thing to ever happen to McCloud. Since he dropped the ball prematurely on a punt return headed toward the end zone against Troy, the sophomore has been a completely different player. For the second week in a row, McCloud led Clemson’s receiving corps in catches and yards. Against the Bulldogs, he hauled in four balls—tied for the team lead—for 60 yards, including a pair of touchdowns. He also averaged 18.7 yards on three punt returns, including a 31-yarder that almost became much longer.
The long-awaited offensive debut of the freshman Feaster did not disappoint. The fabulous first-year speedster from Spartanburg was the Tigers’ leading rusher, carrying the rock 12 times for 83 yards and his first career touchdown, a four-yard walk-in score in the third quarter. Although he still appeared a bit hesitant at times, Feaster showcased both his toughness and his breakaway ability at various times. Feaster also had his team’s lone kickoff return.
The Orangeburg native also showed out against his hometown team. After returning an interception for a touchdown against the Bulldogs in 2014, Johnson almost duplicated that feat on Saturday. The veteran defensive back picked off a pass at the S.C. State 43, cut back across the field, and almost reached the pylon before he was caught at the 2. He only had two tackles in Saturday’s contest, but his second career interception against South Carolina State should make the game unforgettable for Johnson.
Overton only had one catch in Saturday’s game, but it was a big one—both for him and for Clemson. The true freshman hauled in a 45-yard downfield throw from Deshaun Watson for a touchdown late in the first quarter. It was Overton’s first career catch, as well as the fourth Clemson touchdown of the opening period. The play is also the longest from scrimmage for the Tigers over the season’s first three games.
Lawrence had only three tackles, including 0.5 tackles for loss, and no sacks…so why does he get a sticker? Basically, in a game where it was difficult for any Clemson defender to stand out for very long, Lawrence consistently dominated on the interior of the defensive line. He registered three quarterback pressures, even when he drew double teams. A special mini-shoutout to Clelin Ferrell, too. He had a sack and a pressure and generally looked impressive during Saturday’s contest.
Schuessler has taken flak from fans and media alike in the past—and deservedly so, I might add—but Saturday was different. The graduate student solidified his standing as Watson’s primary backup, completing seven of his 11 pass attempts for 118 yards and a touchdown. He looked poised and composed, as a veteran should, and he made a variety of throws during his time in the game.
–Photo Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports