Each week, Clemson student Brad Adams gives us an inside look at Clemson football in his column “Behind Enemy Lines.”
Clemson 41, Furman 7
The Clemson Tigers took care of business at home against Furman this week with a well-executed 41-7 victory to stay undefeated on the year. Furman was unsuccessful on a fake field goal attempt on the first drive of the game, and it was all downhill from there for the Paladins. Although Clemson scored at a slower pace than last week against Ball State, the Tigers never lost control of the game. Tajh Boyd completed 20 of his 29 pass attempts for 310 yards and two touchdowns, distributing the ball predominantly to DeAndre Hopkins, who finished with seven receptions for 96 yards. Sammy Watkins made his return with an explosive 58-yard touchdown run, breezing by the safeties with ease.
Just before halftime, Furman receiver Jordan Snellings caught a 37-yard touchdown pass coming toward “The Hill,” silencing the student section momentarily. Unfortunately, it was the only time Furman was able to get within shouting distance of the end zone. Furman’s offensive line wasn’t able to stop Clemson’s defensive pursuit. Quarterback Reece Hannon was flushed out of the pocket and hurried numerous times, and the Paladins were never able to put a productive drive together. Clemson possessed the more efficient offense. They were 2-for-2 on fourth down conversions and had 146 more total yards than Furman. Clemson seemed to score quickly each possession, accounting for Furman’s 17-minute edge in time of possession. Putting the score aside, Clemson gave up 352 yards against Furman. That kind of performance isn’t going to get the job done against Florida State next week according to defensive coordinator, Brent Venables, who said “they’ll break the scoreboard next week if we don’t play better.”
Clemson vs. Florida State: How They Match Up
The Clemson Tigers face the untested Florida State Seminoles in Tallahassee this Saturday night at 8pm. Clemson earned a 26-19 win over Auburn in the Chick fil-A College Kickoff before big wins over lesser nonconference foes. FSU’s closest game was a 52-0 nailbiter against Wake Forest this Saturday. In addition to the Demon Deacons, the Seminoles have defeated Savannah State ad Murray State, averaging 58.7 points per game and 279 yards on the ground. Although the numbers are skewed due to weak competition, both teams have top-20 offenses in terms of total yards per game. Tajh Boyd and FSU quarterback EJ Manuel have both thrown six touchdowns, but Boyd has a 222-yard edge in total passing. FSU has two running backs averaging over seven yards per carry, while Clemson’s Andre Ellington has 328 yards and 4 touchdowns to date.
Who has the edge, statistically, in each aspect of the game? Florida State has the edge on the defensive line, returning all four starters. Their defensive line is their stronghold with stud ends and some big boys taking up space in the middle. Their secondary has yet to be exposed due to competition, but they’re vulnerable in pass defense. Clemson has always had good defensive backs. Jonathan Meeks and Rashard Hall should limit FSU’s passing efficiency. If Clemson’s defensive line can step up and stop the run, scoring touchdowns could be a real test for the Seminoles. Defensively, I give the edge to Florida State. They have that “it” factor that makes all defenses successful: swarming to the football. They’re very similar to the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, in that all 11 players are seemingly around the ball on every tackle.
Offensively, the edge goes to Clemson. Clemson has arguably the best receiving corps in all of college football anchored by DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins. Other keys contributors are wide receivers Adam Humphries, Jaron Brown, and tight end Brandon Ford. Clemson also has a three-year starter running the ball in Andre Ellington, who should take some pressure off of the passing game. If the offensive line can protect Boyd and open up holes for the run game, the Tigers should be effective on offense. Florida State brings EJ Manuel back from a season ending injury last year. He, along with some developing receivers, have been very effective so far, but teams haven’t gotten in the backfield against the Seminoles. Their run game is top notch with James Wilder, Jr. carrying the majority of the load. The team that performs best on the offensive line will put themselves in the best position to win this game. Offensively, the edge goes to Clemson with threats at all skill positions. I believe Florida State is buying into the BCS title game hype a little too early, and I’m not sure how they’re going to handle Clemson’s offense. I’ll take Clemson in an upset 31-27.