The first five minutes of the game consisted of the Bulldogs rushing nine straight plays for 30 yards. They were ready to fight and ran efficiently a 3-yard loss on first down put them behind the chains. B-Back Lorenzo Ward’s 2-yard rush on fourth-and-3 gave Clemson the ball on the 40-yard line.
A chop block by Tavien Feaster put the Tigers in a first-and-25 hole, and the next two plays only gained five yards. Deon Cain caught a slightly underthrown bomb from Bryant for the 53-yard touchdown on third-and-20 with 8:13 left in the first quarter.
Trayvon Mullen intercepted Dominique Allen’s 3rd-and-8 pass to set up a six play, 49-yard drive that ended with a 6-yard touchdown by Etienne just two and a half minutes later.
Etienne’s tenth rushing touchdown of the year tied CJ Spiller’s record for the most by a freshman in Clemson history.
From this point, the Citadel was shut down by Clemson’s defense due to a combination of a talent advantage and
Hunter Renfrow scored for the first time this year on a 12-yard tunnel screen, but only after a heartbreaking drop by senior backup tight end DJ Greenlee.
Clemson finished the next drive when TJ Chase scored his first career touchdown on a 13-yard slant route deep in the end zone.
Ray Ray McCloud muffed the next punt return but recovered his own fumble. The eight play, 45-yard drive ended in a 26-yard field goal by Alex Spence.
On Zerrick Cooper’s second drive, the Tigers had 59 seconds to travel 81-yards. A 39-yard pass to Tee Higgins were followed by three straight incomplete passes.
Clemson aggressively went for the first down on fourth-and-ten, and Zerrick Cooper connected with DJ Greenlee on a ten-yard pass.
Tee Higgins scored his first career touchdown on a 32-yard pass as Cooper’s pass bounced around before landing in his lap.
The Tiger’s aggression paid off and they take a 38-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Points of Strength:
The Tigers have played a solid game – not making mistakes, taking advantage of the physical matchup, and being aggressive at the right times.
Areas for improvement:
Clemson struggled on defense for the first drive, but has had the Citadel’s number since then. The Tigers have had a couple of frustrating penalties and negative plays, but they have responded by focusing on the next play.
Alex Spence and Senior reserve linebacker Connor Sekas wear number 41. The Tigers were assessed a 5-yard penalty for them both being on the kickoff team at the same time.
TJ Chase and Tee Higgins scored their first career touchdowns, Renfrow scored for the first time since his national championship catch, and Etienne tied CJ Spiller’s freshman rushing touchdown record with ten. He also tied Kelly Bryant for the team lead in rushing scores.
What to Watch:
In a game with an outmatched opponent, the two main things to look for are:
- Which backup or reserve made great plays or had a great game?
- Did the team play a clean and disciplined game?
Clemson has virtually locked the game up at this point, so relax and enjoy the Tigers playing without the stress of the unknown. Hope that there are no injuries, and keep track of the backups who perform well – they could be future stars in the making.