To say that Clemson is in midseason form is fitting.
At the halfway point of the regular season, the 6-0 Tigers are coming off of what head coach Dabo Swinney called their best game of the season at Boston College.
The offense is rolling, the defense has been dominant and as a result, Clemson is playing its best football of 2016.
Thus, the imaginary arrow for Clemson is pointing up. But just how good can Clemson be this year?
“I definitely see us as a top-tier team at this point,” Clemson tight end Jordan Leggett said on Tuesday. “I think there is really no ceiling on this season, and we’re going to go as far as we want to as long as we stay focused.”
Clemson’s performance on offense in the past couple of games is one of the main reasons the team has hit its stride.
Clemson scored a combined 98 points in the last two games and totaled more than 500 yards of offense in each of the contests. The Tigers averaged 8.2 yards per play against Louisville and 8.3 yards per play against Boston College.
It marks the first time in Clemson history the Tigers have had back-to-back games averaging at least eight yards per play.
“I definitely think we’re improving week to week,” Leggett said of the offense. “Just to continue to play with these guys is really building the confidence up in each player. Deshaun (Watson) has incredible confidence in all of us, and I think as we continue throughout the season, I feel like it’s going to keep getting better and better.”
Clemson hasn’t just been scoring often — it has been scoring quickly, as well.
Of the 25 scoring drives (23 touchdowns, two field goals) the Tigers have had over the last four games, 14 lasted less than two minutes, and seven lasted under a minute.
Big plays are a big part of that. Clemson didn’t have a play of at least 50 yards entering the game at Boston College, but then recorded three plays of 50-plus in the first quarter.
One of the big-gainers was Leggett’s 56-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown. It was the longest reception of his career, and it put him over 1,000 yards for his career.
“It felt good,” Leggett said. “I honestly thought I was going to get hit as soon as I caught the ball, but then I didn’t see anybody in front of me, so I started running and I ended up in the end zone.”
Leggett has caught nine passes for 167 yards and three touchdowns across the past three games dating to the Georgia Tech game on Sept. 22. The senior from Navarre, Fla., became the school’s career leader in touchdowns by a tight end when he caught the game-winning 31-yard scoring pass from Watson against Louisville with 3:14 remaining in the game.
Like Leggett, Clemson’s offense is in a groove. And Leggett thinks it’s just the beginning.
“I think we’re better than we were last year,” Leggett said. “We just have to continue to grow as a offense and continue to get better. There’s a lot of stuff we’re leaving out there on the field, like the turnovers and things like that.
“But I think if we get better in that aspect of the game, then I feel like we’ll really be able to dominate and then we’ll actually pass last year’s team and maybe be one of the best offenses that have played here.”