It did not take Clemson too long to get things going on offense on Saturday in the 2017 season opener.
With question marks surrounding the unit after losing Deshaun Watson, Wayne Gallman, Mike Williams, Artavis Scott and Jordan Leggett to the NFL, new starters Kelly Bryant at quarterback, C.J. Fuller at running back and Deon Cain at wide receiver helped the fifth-ranked Tigers score on their first three possessions in rolling to a 28-3 halftime lead.
Bryant, making his first ever start, threw a 61-yard touchdown pass to Cain on the Tigers’ second possession and then ran 8 yards for a score with 1:13 showing on the clock before halftime. That gave Clemson a 28-3 lead at the time.
On the opening possession, Fuller broke through the line for a 26-yard touchdown run to cap a 4-play, 65-yard drive that took just 1:18 off the clock. The drive was highlighted by a 26-yard pass from Bryant to tight end Milan Richard, which was sprung by a good crack-back block from wide receiver Hunter Renfrow.
The Tigers took a 14-0 lead the next time they got the ball. On second-down-and-one from the Clemson 39, Bryant hit Cain in stride for an easy 61-yard touchdown pass. Just four minutes and 23 seconds into the 2017 season, Clemson had 135 total yards in six plays and two touchdowns.
When they got the ball a third time, the Tigers continued to pour it on. This time Adam Choice got in the act as he rumbled three yards for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead with 3:18 to play in the first quarter.
Kent State added a 37-yard field goal by Shane Hayes in the second quarter, before Bryant sprinted eight yards into the right side of the end zone for the game’s fourth touchdown for a 28-3 lead.
Bryant finished the first half with 178 yards passing on 14 of 20 passing, one touchdown and one interception. He also ran for 77 yards on seven carries including a Woodrow Dantzler like 47-yard run to the Kent State nine that set up his own 8-yard score moments later.
The Clemson offense finished the first half with 326 yards on 40 plays and was 3 of 6 on third down conversions.
The defense was not too shabby either. The Tigers held Kent State to 54 total yards in the opening half.