Entering Saturday’s game, all eyes in Memorial Stadium and around the country seemed to be on the Clemson quarterbacks. Would Kelly Bryant pull away with the job in live action or would Trevor Lawrence play his way up in depth chart?
The second-ranked Tigers defeated the Paladins 48-7 and both quarterbacks had their moments against FCS opponent Furman but neither seemed to have a much of an edge on the other.
The offense struggled to garner an advantage for much of the first half, leaving the fate of the game in the air for a short time (at least in theory).
When the Tigers struggled to gain momentum sophomore Amari Rodgers, who battled with injury much of his freshman campaign, rose up to make big plays both offensively and on the special teams unit returning punts to give his team an advantage.
Rodgers finished the day with three catches for 44 yards and a touchdown, ran the ball twice for ten yards and returned two punts for 87 yards with a long of 62 yards. The wide receiver finished the day with 141 all-purpose yards, the best among Tigers.
The Knoxville, Tenn. native’s first catch of the day was a 40-yard fade from Quarterback Kelly Bryant for his first touchdown in a Clemson uniform. It came at an opportune time after the Tigers stalled on their first drive and had yet to have a play greater than 10 yards.
After the Clemson defense held the Paladins for a three and out Rodgers returned the ensuing punt for 72-yards putting the spot in the red zone at the Furman 20-yard line. After a three and out Clemson settled for a 36-yard Greg Huegel field goal jumping up 10-0.
Rodgers certainly showed why he is in the starting lineup and that he can make a big impact on this football team both offensively and on special teams.