In 2011, Clemson struggled to walk out of Memorial Stadium with a win as it defeated Wofford, 35-27, after holding a small one-point lead entering the fourth quarter.
On Saturday the story proved much different as the third-ranked Tigers rolled their FCS foe 59-14 on Military Appreciation Day.
Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott was the running backs coach in 2011, when the Tigers were booed into the locker room after a tie game at halftime and he knew the challenges of playing a lesser known opponent in the midst of a competitive schedule.
But the result proved much different Saturday and the Tigers (9-0) showed focus and took care of business against the Terriers (5-3).
“I was here in 2011 when it didn’t go so well against Wofford, and I’ve been here when we played Troy and had tight games. So, the biggest thing for us is to see if we can replicate the maturity of being spirited against a team that on paper is not going to match up as well,” Elliott told the media following the game.
Elliott wanted the Tigers to play a clean game like they did against Boston College, but needed a stronger start to the second half and he got it. Clemson kept the foot on the gas in the third quarter as Trevor Lawrence found Justyn Ross for a 34-yard touchdown with 10:48 left to put it up 49-0.
Scoring a lot of points means more opportunities for young players to get on the field. This has helped Clemson the last few seasons to build depth that pays off in the College Football Playoff.
Clemson scored the game’s first 49 points and as it moves toward its ninth game of the season, the “championship phase” is in full force.
“We are in championship phase and it doesn’t matter who we play, but it’s about who we play and when we take care of business. There is room to put other guys in and build our depth,” Elliott said. “We have put together a couple of games playing at a high level, but we need to keep that going because it is championship phase of our season and we need to keep it going.”
Clemson returns to action next Saturday as it travels to Raleigh, North Carolina to face NC State.
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