Why did Clemson lose? Too many sacks, too much time, too few snaps

Tigers struggle to make their offense work against stout Gamecock defense

South Carolina's Brison Williams breaks up a pass intended for Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

South Carolina's Brison Williams breaks up a pass intended for Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.

Why did Clemson lose?

- Six sack, which proved to be just the tip of the iceberg to South Carolina's relentless game-long pressure.

- Too much time for South Carolina's backup quarterback, Dylan Thompson, to operate. He rarely had less than he needed.

- Not enough Nuk. Just one catch - though a big one - wasn't enough to keep the Clemson offense running.

- Or Sammy Watkins. He had four catches, but nothing deep or dangerous.

- Sloppy tackling. The Gamecocks racked up plenty of yards-after-contact.

- Third down. Eleven of 21 for the Gamecocks; 5 of 12 for the Tigers, including just one of their last seven.

- Dropped interceptions: Good chances to turn the momentum left begging.

- Too few plays. Fifty nine snaps is insufficient for Chad Morris to work his magic.

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Comments » 10

michtiger writes:

You forgot one thing. We play in a very weak conference and as a result we over rate our wins and skill level and are not used to good quality opponents. Until we get out of this sub par football conference and play better teams on a regular basis we will continue to be lacking playing quality opponents. The SEC embarased the ACC one more time this weekend. And next weekend our championship game has a 6-6 team!!!

TigerNE writes:

in response to michtiger:

You forgot one thing. We play in a very weak conference and as a result we over rate our wins and skill level and are not used to good quality opponents. Until we get out of this sub par football conference and play better teams on a regular basis we will continue to be lacking playing quality opponents. The SEC embarased the ACC one more time this weekend. And next weekend our championship game has a 6-6 team!!!

It's not only the ACC that is the problem. Boyd crumbles under pressure in a predictable way. So many interceptions and a number of overthrows can make all the difference in a game where the defense actually played beyond its skill in my opinion. We always knew the offense would have to outscore the defense and 27 points wasn't that big of a challenge.

pmelvin writes:

in response to michtiger:

You forgot one thing. We play in a very weak conference and as a result we over rate our wins and skill level and are not used to good quality opponents. Until we get out of this sub par football conference and play better teams on a regular basis we will continue to be lacking playing quality opponents. The SEC embarased the ACC one more time this weekend. And next weekend our championship game has a 6-6 team!!!

You got it right. Overrated wins leads to overconfidence and hidden weakness. USC has slightly better players than we do overall, but Dabo was way outcoached again in this contest. Personally, I am rooting for Ga Tech in the championship game. I am hoping that such a ridiculous champion for this conference might wake up our university leadership to show how weak the ACC is. If we continue to stay in this conference, our football program will endure a slow long term decline. We are not a large school and we don't have a great TV market, but right now, we still have some real appeal nationally. It's time to act if possible!

cuGIZ82 writes:

Our team does need to be in a conference that challenges them and prepares them for the big game but I think it is deeper than that. We recruit many of the same players the SEC recruit and we land our share of them. The players have to be coached well to perform well.

Prior to Morris coming in the D played well and the O struggled to score in the ACC. Morris took someone else s' players and turned the O into a high powered scoring machine in the ACC but the D has fell off. Hopefully BV can turn the D around.

We are in need of game changing linemen on both sides of the ball. I don't care how many skill players if you can not win the line of scrimmage you will lose the game.

waran writes:

How many of us will remember all this the next year?
- ACC is inferior to SEC
- Spurrier is is really superior
- Boyd always wilts under pressure?

If we remember, then we will definitely have a happier end next year.

zilforreal writes:

Where was # 2? Why is he not running back punts and kickoffs? Is he hurt? Watkins is a 1st round draft choice and was a non factor. Does Dabo believe # 16 is better than # 2?

justcurious writes:

our defensive backs was made toook bad, appears they were afraid to hit someone hard. just cannot give 25 plus pints every game and expect to win every game. Our O line let the team down also. I felt in the 2nd qtr the game was going to be carolina's, and told my wife this game is over, and went to bed, a 60 yr plus Tiger fan.

Lynx26 writes:

WE ARE NOT PHYSICAL at ALLLL!!!!!

*U cannot run deep routes and go 5-7 step drops when u cannot BLOCK up front. (Screens, draws, and crossing routes PLEASE)

* WhAt is our defensive identity?!?! sit back on our heels and let their offense dictate the game?? #CmonMan

* GET SAMMY INVOLVED-Wildcat or something. at least let him break a sweat. Too many vertical routes.

* South Carolina is physical team... and we cannot match their physicality at all. Whatever they wanted to do both offensively and defensively they did it with no problem!

* This game had me highly frustrated 17-3 after halftime! What adjustments were made?!

* We hit the weights for a reason... use your strength and grow a pair! No man should dominate you 90% of the snaps.

**** Our defense makes me sick at times... ZERO AGGRESSION!

----- STOP with the Pass Interference crap ----
Yes it they were terrible calls- but it showed we would've just punted the ball right back, why?

BECAUSE WE'RE SOFT! End of story!!

Texas A&M or LSU - GREAT smh. Two physical teams

sanford42 writes:

in response to zilforreal:

Where was # 2? Why is he not running back punts and kickoffs? Is he hurt? Watkins is a 1st round draft choice and was a non factor. Does Dabo believe # 16 is better than # 2?

That is what I was thinking exactly. You have one of the most dynamic players in college football and touches the ball 2 times when the game mattered. No end sweeps no flanker screens. How many times did we run the flanker screens this year a 100? Not the first one the other night. Was he hurt? What was the problem of not getting Sammy the ball.

TrevorT writes:

I'm not here to whine (like almost everyone else seems to be). We got beat by a fundamentally better football team. I'm as frustrated as anyone, but I feel no need to dump on the players or coaches after a 10 win regular season.

I understand the facts about the ACC, but I have seen this program lose so many in the past against weak opponents in games we were supposed to dominate. DOES NO ONE ELSE REMEMBER THOSE DAYS?

I'm hurting after this loss, but I'm still very happy to see our improved consistency this season. Becoming a national powerhouse doesn't happen overnight. The next step is to start winning the big ones against higher quality opponents. Anyone here who doesn't think that's going to happen should pick an SEC bandwagon and jump on it!

GO TIGERS! WIN THIS BOWL GAME!

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