Clemson managed to move the ball down the field along with the help of a roughing the passer penalty, but this time the reliable wide recievers Scott and Renfrow dropped crucial catches to force a punt at Troy’s forty yard line. Teasdall had a solid punt as they were forced to take over at the nine yard line.
Troy looked like they were going to successfully move the ball after a first down until a second and nine sack by Dexter Lawrence effectively ended the drive as Troy couldn’t convert the third down and punted.
Ray Ray McCloud had a solid punt return this time and he went out of bounds with the ball in his hands. The offense sputtered again until Deshaun Watson threw another interception on third and eight, with Troy had a decent return on the play.
Clemson’s defense then held stout and forced the Trojans to punt around their forty yard line. The offense did nothing and Teasdall shanked another punt. Troy then responded by stuttering and having to punt back to Clemson. On the punt there was an illegal batting of the ball (which no one knows what that is).
The boos erupted and continued throughout the stadium as Watson mistimed his throws and on third and ten threw to a covered Trevion Thompson whom was hit (eliciting more boos from the Tigers).
Troy then had a short punt return. As Clemson kept trying to give the game away, Troy politely refused and kept giving the ball back to Clemson. An injury timeout occurred because Ben Boulware’s ankle was hurt.
Clemson’s offense was booed onto the field but finally looked like the offense that Clemson fans expect as Watson and McCloud helped to move the ball down the field. Trevion Thompson was hit in the stomach as the Tigers were driving in the red zone. Just as things finally were looking up for the Tigers, Tyshon Dye appeared to fumble the ball. Nothing came of it however because the referee said that the play was dead before the fumble (which appeared incorrect on television), and it appears that the referees made a questionable call. Some on the sideline say that the whistle blew before the fumble but the answer to this question is unknown. Nevertheless, the Jumbo package appeared with Lawrence, Wilkins, and Gallman in the backfield. They ran a play action and Christian Wilkins was left wide open in the right side of the endzone to extend the Tigers’ lead to 20-10. With this play he became the first defensive lineman in Clemson history to catch a touchdown from an offensive formation. The Tigers are ahead but it feels gifted by the referees.
Troy came out saddened by the officiating mishap and the Tigers take advantage of it by forcing a three and out from Troy. This time Taylor Hearn and Tyrone Crowder were benched for true freshman John Simpson and redshirt junior Maverick Morris. Trevion Thompson dropped a wide open deep pass that could have been a touchdown. Then the Tigers drove methodically down the field by running the ball (finally). A rush by Gallman was reviewed because it looked like he fumbled but he didn’t, and the next play Clemson stretched the lead as Watson threw to Deon Cain on a back-shoulder-fade touchdown pass in the right corner to take Clemson up 27-10.
With ten minutes left in the game and the returner tackled at the fourteen, it felt like the Tigers could finally breathe. Troy methodically went down the field and made the plays they needed to, until they failed to convert a third down in the red zone on a go route into the end zone. Luckily for Troy the refs called defensive pass interference, which gave them first and goal at the two-yard line. On third and goal Troy threw a play action touchdown pass to Deondre Douglas in order to cut their deficit to ten with five minutes left to go.
The Tigers managed to keep the offense consistently churning on the ensuing drive long enough to get three and go up 30-17 with two and a half minutes left on the clock. Troy marched down the field and scored with 44 seconds left to slash the deficit to 30-24. The subsequent onside kick failed, giving Clemson a scary and hollow win. More coverage to come later today, so stay tuned!