A few ESPN analysts gave their reactions to Clemson’s 27-21 loss to NC State in double-overtime on Saturday at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh.
During College Football Final, Matt Barrie, Joey Galloway and Jesse Palmer discussed the Tigers’ upset loss – which snapped their 36-game winning streak against unranked opponents – and talked about what’s gone wrong for quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei and company through the first four games of this season.
“This has been building up with this Clemson team,” Galloway said. “We don’t really know what they are and why they’ve struggled, especially on the offensive side. Defense has been pretty good until (Saturday).
“But if you look at Clemson, against Georgia, great defense. It was like OK, that’s Georgia. Then it’s been South Carolina State, then it’s been Georgia Tech and NC State in this game. Clemson is last in the ACC in (total) yards per game (295.5), they’re last in the ACC in points per game (21.8). D.J. U doesn’t have a 200-yard passing game. (Will) Shipley doesn’t have a hundred-yard rushing game and Justyn Ross doesn’t have a hundred-yard receiving game.”
This marks the first time that Clemson (2-2, 1-1 ACC) has suffered two losses in September since 2014, when the Tigers fell to Georgia and Florida State.
After Saturday’s action around college football, the Tigers currently rank 105th among FBS programs in scoring offense (21.8 points per game), 99th nationally in rushing offense (126.25 rushing yards per game), 115th nationally in passing offense (169.3 passing yards per game) and 121st nationally in total offense (295.5 total yards per game).
“They literally look like they don’t understand at times,” Galloway said of Clemson’s offense. “We talked about Oklahoma being off schedule. That’s the way Clemson has looked early in this season where it looks like they’re just not clicking on all cylinders, as if they don’t understand the defensive looks they’re getting or something. It is completely off. That’s how you get two losses in September. But it is amazing what Clemson has looked like through four games with the amount of talent they have. To not have anybody have a big game in that schedule, four games, is amazing.”
Through four games, Uiagalelei is averaging 146.5 passing yards per game and has thrown for three touchdowns with three interceptions.
Not only was Saturday’s loss painful for the Tigers on the scoreboard, but it was painful from an injury standpoint as well.
“The scary part, too, they’ve got a lot of their impact players injured,” Palmer said. “In this loss against NC State, we saw Bryan Bresee up front, a D-tackle, go down. James Skalski went down again, a linebacker, a leader on that defense. And Will Shipley, he’s been one of the few bright spots for this offense early this year. He went down as well. I think D.J. U is just missing guys. He’s got guys open, he’s just missing them.”
Following the loss to NC State, Clemson now just has an eight-percent chance of making the College Football Playoff, according to ESPN’s FPI.
“I think Clemson now at this point, you can put them aside for the year in terms of the playoff, then see what they do towards the end of the season,” Barrie said.
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