After watching his team execute what he thought was the best opening game he has ever been a part of, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney is interested to see if his team can keep it going this Saturday.
Of course on Saturday, the third-ranked Tigers will step up in competition as they get set to play No. 13 Auburn in Death Valley at 7 p.m. The Auburn Tigers are coming off a 41-7 victory over Georgia Southern, where they too looked impressive in doing so.
Clemson (1-0) of course beat Kent State, 56-3 last week.
“Now that we’ve played a good game, there really weren’t a lot of concerns coming out of that game,” Swinney said. “We played very well. There are some things that we need to clean up, but as far as big concerns coming out of it, there weren’t any glaring things.”
Clemson totaled 665 yards of offense, while the defense held Kent State to 120 total yards. In his first start at quarterback, Kelly Bryant threw for 236 yards on 16 of 22 passing with one touchdown. He also ran for 77 yards and another score on seven carries.
But the most impressive thing wasn’t Bryant’s stats, but it was the way in which he ran the offense and the control he had at the line of scrimmage.
“The biggest thing now is can we be that consistent performing as a group at a high level week in and week out, especially as the competition ramps up,” Swinney said. “This is a great challenge for us this week.”
Auburn (1-0) is a great challenge. Las year, the SEC’s Tigers gave Clemson all it could handle in a 19-13 victory at Auburn as it held the ACC’s Tigers to a season low in yards and points.
This year, Auburn is just as good on defense as it was last year, giving up just 78 total yards to the Eagles last weekend in the season opener, while the offense seems to be better. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who transferred from Baylor, gives them a legitimate deep-ball passer, something they did not have last year.
And of course, they also have running backs Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson, two of the best in the SEC.
“This is a game that we like playing,” Swinney said. “This is a game where you can see where you are, and when you come out of it, win or lose, you’re going to find out a little bit more about your team, and what you’ve got to do to move forward throughout the course of the season, especially as you get into conference play.
“This is a really good battle and matchup for us early in the year.”