Deep in the heartland of Texas in a Big Twelve football game… or that is at least what it feels like as Clemson takes a 28-27 lead over Pittsburgh into the locker room at halftime.
The omens started to happen from the second Pittsburgh decided to take the ball to start the game, and they quickly made the score 7-0 less than two minutes in the game.
Pittsburgh’s offense has managed to use Clemson’s talent and aggressiveness and turn it into Clemson’s Achilles Heel.
This is the offense lead by Matt Canada, whom was the former offensive coordinator at NC State. Canada is famous for his unpredictability and creativity, something that is giving even a seasoned coach like Brent Venables headaches.
The defensive line has performed well as they have managed to penetrate Pittsburgh’s offensive line right before quarterback Nathan Peterman throws the ball. Pittsburgh has allowed seven sacks all year, but Clemson got a crucial one right before the half to force a field goal attempt from Chris Blewitt.
Chris Blewitt’s attempt was blocked by phenom freshman defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence on his nineteenth birthday to prevent Pittsburgh from taking the lead.
James Conner has rushed for 96 yards on 11 attempts, and has notched a touchdown off of a 46 yard wheel pass from Peterman.
Clemson’s offense is struggling to run the ball, especially up the middle. They have rushed 16 times for 45 yards and Gallman is 10 for 25. Despite the poor statistical showing, Gallman has played well today.
There was a scare as Jordan Whitehead returned a ‘fumble’ on Gallman’s one yard jumbo package touchdown run for 100 yards and a 21-7 lead, but it was overturned to a Clemson score and a 14-14 tie. Also of note is that Deshaun Watson (unsuccessfully) chased him 100 yards down the field.
The offensive line is struggling to block in the running game, but this is excacerbated due to Jake Fruhmorgen’s absence. The Tigers have had to rotate guards and true freshmen at the tackle position.
Deshuan Watson is coping well with the changing lineup at the offensive line, as he is buying time to move in the pocket and hit his recievers.
He has had a few off throws today but he has impressed today; throwing 24-33 for 321 yards with two scores and two picks.
Mike Williams has looked incredible and he is improving on his ‘weak’ points as he has 8 catches for 142 yards. All of his catches have been impressive.
Artavis Scott has had bad luck as he had a touchdown called back and was pushed out at the one on another catch, but he still has six catches for 60 yards. Leggett has reappeared with four catches for 76 yards. Deon Cain has gotten open but he has been overthrown when the ball has traveled his way.
This is certainly more of a game than many fans bargained for, but this will test Clemson’s execution on offense and discipline on defense.