Ground game has offense rolling


Clemson’s stats on offense the past two weeks are notably similar.

In the 42-36 win over Louisville last Saturday, Clemson recorded 507 yards of total offense, 306 passing yards, 201 rushing yards and 26 first downs as it held the ball for 22:31.

In the 56-10 win over Boston College on Friday night at Alumni Stadium, Clemson’s offense recorded 499 total yards, 272 passing yards, 227 rushing yards and 21 first downs as it held the ball for 21:52.

There’s one major difference in the pair of offensive outputs, though. After turning the ball over five times against Louisville, the Tigers had only one turnover against Boston College, and it was on special teams.

It was the second time this year that Clemson didn’t commit a giveaway on offense, with the other being the S.C. State game.

And it’s no coincidence that Clemson’s two highest point totals this season have come in the aforementioned contests.

Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott believes the offense has gained a lot of momentum and found its rhythm, pointing to the lack of mistakes Friday as a big reason his group is in a groove.

“We’ve talked about that the last few weeks,” Scott said. “We’re really close. I think last week, the five turnovers is really what kept last week from being a dominant performance. So, we knew we were close, and that was what we focused on this week is hey, let’s protect the ball. Offensively we did that, and good things happen.”

Not only did Clemson play a clean game offensively, but the ground was efficient and effective, too.

After struggling some through the first four games, Clemson’s offensive line has been strong in the last two.

Holes for running back Wayne Gallman to run through seemed hard to come by early in the season. However, Gallman has had plenty of room to run lately, going over the 100-yard mark and scoring a touchdown against both Louisville and Boston College.

Overall, Clemson’s offense rushed for 200 yards — its goal each game — for the second straight week.

Clemson also averaged an excellent mark of exactly 6.5 yards per carry for the second consecutive game.

“There’s no doubt when we’re able to run the ball, that’s just your tempo, the momentum of the drive, and good things happen,” Scott said. “It opens up things in the passing game, and the guys did a good job.

“That’s a very strong front seven that we just played against. Watching them on video, we knew it was going to be difficult. I’m really proud of those guys — offensive line, tight ends and the way Wayne and those backs ran. It’s big.”

Clemson has taken its foot off the proverbial pedal at times this season after building big leads.

But that wasn’t the case against Boston College, when Clemson followed up 21 first-half points with 35 more after halftime and scored on all but one of its drives in the second half.

The Tigers even attempted an onside kick up 35-3 in the third quarter, and elected to go for it on fourth down on the ensuing possession instead of settling for a field goal.

Clemson wanted to play a consistent game for four quarters, and that’s what it did.

“There’s nothing more important than how we play in the second half,” Scott said, “and that’s something I was really pleased with, the way the guys came back and played in the third quarter. That’s something we needed to do a better job with.”

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