By Gray Gardner.
Game Grades this week are relative to the opponent faced. The expectation against a team like Presbyterian is dominance and considering the results from Saturday’s match up, I’d say Clemson did well to meet expectations.
Kyle Parker and Tajh Boyd both looked great with a late interception being the only exception. Parker was 6-9 with 114 yards and 2 touchdowns. Boyd was 4-9 with 87 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Running backs: A
Jamie Harper and Andre Ellington saw limited action, as expected. The big story here is that back up running backs Roderick McDowell and Daniel Barnes proved that there is a lot of talent at the position beyond the starting two. The two combined for over 150 yards on the ground and 2 touchdowns.
Wide receivers: B+
The Tigers’ wide receivers did a better job of finding the open seams in the defense Saturday. The group also proved that they are capable of making big plays. Brandon Clear made a heck of a catch diving out of bounds while Bryce McNeal and tight end Dwayne Allen both showed that they can be dangerous in the open field.
Offensive line: A
The offensive line did what they needed to do in a game like this: they dominated. They created a surge up front on nearly every play, opening holes for the backs and creating a lot of time for the quarterbacks to settle into the pocket. This was not much of a test for the group as a whole.
Defensive line: A
Like the offensive line, the defensive line did well to dominate up front. They were constantly in the backfield disrupting the Blue Hose offense. Malliciah Goodman forced two fumbles and Kourtnei Brown blocked a punt and recovered a fumble.
The Tigers’ linebackers were much improved Saturday. There were times when the middle of the defense seemed wide open, though, and PC gained many of their yards at such times. They will have to improve this next week if they hope to stop a powerful Auburn team.
Defensive backs: B+
The secondary played, like the rest of the team, about as expected. They shut down the Blue Hose receivers and only allowed 140 yards through the air. There were times though when they seemed out of position and missed tackles, something they will not be able to do against better teams down the road.
Special teams: A-
Chandler Catanzaro connected on a 47-yard field goal, the first of his career. Both Dawson Zimmerman and Richard Jackson looked good on minimal attempts punting. The only thing holding the group back from a higher grade is Spencer Benton’s miss on an extra point attempt in the 4th quarter.
Coaching Staff: A
The coaching staff prepared the team well in the days leading to the game against Presbyterian. Everyone wanted to see a polished, improved offense and defense on Saturday and a blow out win. For the most part, the team seemed to be pumping on all cylinders. Accredit the staff for fixing last week’s mistakes.