Second-ranked Clemson opened its 2018 season with a 48-7 win over Furman on Saturday at Death Valley.
Here’s a look back at how the Tigers earned the victory:
Clemson rolled to a blowout win over Furman, totaling 531 yards of offense and scoring six touchdowns while holding the Paladins to just one, garbage-time touchdown. The Tigers came away with points on five straight drives after turning the ball over on downs on their first possession.
Amari Rodgers caught the first touchdown of the game, a 40-yard bomb from Kelly Bryant, and Clemson never looked back. Diondre Overton, Justyn Ross and Braden Gallloway also recorded touchdown receptions of 6, 15 and 9 yards, respectively, while Bryant ran for a 35-yard touchdown and Travis Etienne had a 7-yard rushing touchdown.
Bryant finished the game 10-of-16 passing for 127 yards and two total touchdowns, while freshman Trevor Lawrence completed 9-of-15 passes for 137 yards and three touchdowns. Etienne rushed for 63 yards on 11 carries, and Rodgers paced the receiving corps with three catches for 44 yards and a score.
What went right?
Defensively, the Tigers were the dominant unit everyone expected to see. Clemson’s defense allowed just 163 yards and an average of 2.6 yards per play. Christian Wilkins registered seven total tackles, including a sack and tackle for loss, and Clelin Ferrell had a sack as well. Albert Huggins and Jordan Williams each had half a sack, while 10 different Tigers were credited with at least 0.5 tackles for loss.
Clemson’s special teams were solid as well. Greg Huegel connected on field goals of 49 and 35 yards, and B.T. Potter booted all but one of his kickoffs for touchbacks. Rodgers provided one of the special teams highlights with his 62-yard punt return in the first quarter that set up one of Huegel’s field goals.
Another positive of the Tigers cruising to the win is they were able to play a lot of freshman and get them some experience. Several of the newcomers shined, including Lyn-J Dixon, Justyn Ross, Derion Kendrick and Galloway.
Dixon had a game-high 89 rushing yards on six attempts, both Ross and Galloway made their first career touchdown catches, and Kendrick hauled in a 38-yard pass for his first career reception.
What went wrong?
Clemson won 48-7, so not much went wrong. If anything, it’s that Bryant was inconsistent with his accuracy and missed on several throws, while Lawrence appeared to be overanxious at the get-go.
However, that’s being nitpicky, as the two quarterbacks accounted for five touchdowns and did not throw an interception.
If there was a game-changing moment, it was Bryant’s 40-yard touchdown pass to Rodgers that put Clemson up 7-0 midway through the first quarter after a bit of a slow start offensively. But the real game-changing moment may have been when the Tigers got off the bus, rubbed Howard’s Rock and ran down the hill.