When Dabo Swinney looked back at Clemson’s double overtime loss to Notre Dame last Saturday, there was one obvious reason why the Tigers lost.
“They just outplayed us, it was that simple,” the head coach said. “Both sides of the ball, up front. It is a simple game. They won the line of scrimmage. They won the turnover margin and they outplayed us. But even with that, it came down to two overtimes.”
Clemson (7-1, 6-1 ACC) ran for just 34 yards on 33 carries against the Irish, the lowest total for a Dabo Swinney led team since 2011 when it did the same in a loss at NC State. They are both tied for the second lowest rushing total in the Dabo Swinney era.
“We have gotten ourselves in a hole the last couple of weeks at both running the ball and stopping the run. So, it is something we are going to improve on, and we will,” Swinney said. “But at the end of the day, give them a lot of credit.”
Swinney says defenses are forcing Clemson to throw the football by stacking the box and committing everyone to stopping the run.
“Sometimes there are just unblocked guys there and if you can’t block them and they are right there in the hole, it is hard to run the ball,” he said. “So, you have to take advantage of it, especially when you have a freshman quarterback, and we have demonstrated we can do that.”
But Clemson still wants to run the football, and right now it can’t consistently do it.
“In these past two games we are disappointed, obviously, in what we need to do to run the ball,” Swinney said. “Getting all five guys and the tight end… We will have a nice play and one guy will not make his block or something like that or it is just an unblocked guy because there are more people in the box.
“We just have to do a little better job of helping them and be a little cleaner and more precise in what we do whether it is footwork or whatever. But we will be fine. We will be just fine. It was disappointing for sure and the same thing over on the defensive side. We were very, very poor in stopping the run.”
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