Ground and pound has been the name of the game for the first half at Death Valley as two physical teams are feeling each other out in the ring.

 

Boston college’s Mike Knoll made life hard for the Clemson offense, skillfully punting two of the first three drives (three in the first half) drives inside the ten-yard line.

 

Draft prospect Harold Landry turned his usual stellar play into a turnover by forcing Kelly Bryant to throw a wobbly ball that was picked off by cornerback Issac Yiadom.

 

Yiadom’s 21 yard return to the 26 was a rare big gain for the Eagles and a big opportunity to score on the Tigers first. In painful fashion, the Eagles went three and out and Colton Lichtenberg’s 43-yard attempt hit the right goalpost.

 

While Clemson’s offense struggled, the crowd cheered as Kelly Bryant turned consecutive potential drive killing sacks into athletic feats of strength.

 

In Michael Vick fashion, he escaped the defender’s sure sack, cut back across the field, and gained two yards on the last play of the first quarter.

 

To start the second quarter, he spun out of another sure sack before being forced to throw the ball away.

 

But Kelly Bryant’s impact on the ground wasn’t limited to two plays on a scoreless drive, as he time and time again used his talents to keep plays and drives alive.

 

In a gritty battle of field position, it wasn’t until Clemson was backed up at the six-yard line that Clemson’s offense sustained a pulse.

 

A combination of today’s starting running back Tavien Feaster, raw freshman star Travis Etienne, and shot caller Kelly Bryant ran for 71 of the 94 yards needed to score.

 

A true dark horse emerged on third down when left guard Taylor Hearn caught a Kelly Bryant fumble and advanced it for twelve yards to keep the drive alive. This could contend for #Piesman play of the week!

 

Fittingly, Kelly Bryant escaped the pocket, turned the edge, and scored an 11-yard rush to score the game’s first points with 7:16 left in the half.

 

The defenses then resumed their dominance as neither offense could take advantage of their opportunities.

 

Both team’s offenses have passed for 67 yards, but Boston College has left several big plays on the field. Their play action is attacking Clemson’s secondary and leaving receivers wide open, but Anthony Brown isn’t making Clemson pay.

 

After allowing 66 yards on the Eagles’ first two drives, the Tigers have allowed 49 yards on the subsequent five drives*. (*Not counting the failed Hail Mary attempt at the end of the half).

 

The worrying thing for Clemson is field position – Clemson’s average starting position is their own 14-yard line, while Boston College’s is their own 39. This 25-yard advantage to Boston College must be fixed and punter Mike Knoll must be neutralized. If the Tigers can fix this, they should put the game away.