Chad Morris, by the numbers, earned last offseason’s pay raise (around $850,000 if you’re scoring at home).
Clemson finished as the No. 9 total offense (512.7 yards per game), No. 6 scoring offense (41 points per game) and No. 1 red zone offense (95 percent scoring percentage).
Season one to two, the Tigers improved a full touchdown-plus (+7.4 PPG), moving up 18 spots nationally in scoring offense and total offense (+71.9 YPG), but the biggest jump came from red zone offense, bolting 71 ranks to the top spot (+15 percent).
In first-and-goal situations, they scored touchdowns 75 percent of the time and the same overall from 20-yards in, compared to below 70 percent in both last season (66.7 in first-and-goal and 61.5 red zone TD rate).
Part of that success was opponents struggling to get Clemson off the field.
The Tigers converted 51 percent of third down tries (No. 5 nationally), and when that didn’t work – executed a nation’s best 77.8 percent on fourth down (14-18), jumping 30 and 72 spots in the categories respectively.
Andre Ellington and co. had 20 more runs of 10-plus yards (105-85), while hitting 15 more passes of 20-plus yards (66-51) in year two under Morris.
We’ve talked Tajh Boyd’s success aplenty, but his prowess both in passing and running was the catalyst year-to-year.
On throws, his numbers were up in completion percentage (67.2; +7.5), yards per pass (9.1; +1.4) and passing efficiency (165.59; +24.4).
On the run, the junior averaged 1.3 more yards per carry (2.8) on 44 more attempts, with double the touchdowns (10) and 296 more yards (514).
2012 Clemson offense v. 2011 Clemson offense (Final numbers)
|Category||'12 Clemson||'11 Clemson|
|Scoring Offense||41 PPG||33.6 PPG|
|Total Yards||512.17 YPG||440.8 YPG|
|Cmp. Pct. (Tajh Boyd)||67.2||59.7|
|Yards Per Pass (Tajh Boyd)||9.1||7.67|
|Passing Efficiency (Tajh Boyd)||165.59||141.2|
|Plays per game||81.7||75.4|
|Plays of 20+ per game||6.6||5.1|
|3rd Down Pct.||51||43.3|
|Yards Per Carry||4.2||4.2|
|Yards Per Play||6.3||5.8|
Back-to-back second-team All-ACC kicker Chandler Catanzaro did more with less this season. He had eight less attempts (19 to 27), but hit 94.7 percent of them to 2011’s 81.5.
Sticking in special teams, the moved-up kickoffs had a dynamic effect on yards, cutting them in half (717-1,405), but overall, the Tigers lost just three yards in average field position (30 to 33).
The run/pass split on touchdowns didn’t vary much, with 58.8 percent passing TDs to 38.2 rushing in ’12 after a 56.9/37.9 split in ’11.
Clemson averaged more than Morris’ magic number in plays a game (81.7), boosting a half yard on those attempts (6.3 YPP).
In total defense, they faced an average ranking of 54.1 (55.8 in Football Outsiders’ FEI rankings). By comparison, the No. 5 total offense Oregon (12-1) faced an average total ‘D’ of 58.