Clemson’s true freshmen had never suffered a loss at this level before last Saturday.
Clemson’s sophomores and redshirt freshmen had only been through one home loss – and nowhere near that resounding a defeat.
For the Tiger upperclassmen, they were all too familiar with the feeling that struck a couple times in the 2011 ACC title season.
Tiger DBs having to adjust with injuries
So, before that first postgame interview or even film sessions the next day, Clemson’s vets made a point to get a message through to the younger players.
“It started in the locker room after the game,” senior left tackle Brandon Thomas said. “We needed to let the young guys know that the season is not over and not put your head down. We fought hard. It just didn’t go our way. The season is not over.”
It’s still a hard pill to swallow for anybody though.
“It’s always easier said than done,” junior defensive end Corey Crawford said, “but you have to have the discipline and the mindset to forget what happened and keep going.”
Atlantic Division hopes dim – and still feeling the overall sting of the physical beating– a game like that can certainly hang over, as they head to Maryland then Virginia in a two-week span.
“Right now it’s all about how we’re going to respond to adversity,” junior linebacker Stephone Anthony said. “How are we going to get back up? We got to come in and get ready for Maryland.”
If they can get off the mat, the big bowl possibilities are still very much in play.
Clemson came in at No. 9 in the first BCS standings, even ranked ahead of undefeated Texas Tech (7-0). If FSU continues on its run, Clemson, with one of its own, can easily finish as the ACC’s next best to secure a BCS bid. The destinations there could range from the Orange to the Sugar to the Fiesta Bowl depending on who makes the national title game. That serves as motivation for guys on their last go-round in TigerTown.
“We can still have a great season and finish strong,” Thomas said. “We can go to a BCS game. Who knows? Anything can happen in the five-six weeks left.”
DEPTH CHART DISH
No drastic changes were made in the Clemson depth chart released Monday. Kalon Davis, at left guard, and Shaq Anthony, at right tackle, are again slated to start. Martavis Bryant, despite nearly splitting snaps 50-50 with freshman Mike Williams against Florida State, is still in front at boundary receiver.
Junior Martin Jenkins will start at corner now due to Bashaud Breeland’s one-half suspension for a targeting personal foul against the Seminoles.
Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown, who led the ACC in total yards just a little over two weeks ago, is listed as a co-starter with Blue Ridge product Caleb Rowe. Brown, a senior, was benched after throwing two interceptions in a 34-10 loss at Wake Forest last week, completing 15-of-24 passes for 137 yards. In relief, Rowe did put up Maryland’s lone touchdown, completing 12-of-27 passes for 207 yards.
Missing on the Terps’ depth chart are leading receivers Stefon Diggs (587 yards/3 TDs) and Deon long (489 yards/1 TD) due to season-ending leg injuries. They made up 55 percent of Maryland’s receiving yards this season.
For what will be the fifth time in six games, the Tigers will kick off at 3:30 – this time on the road at Virginia, Nov. 2. The network on which it will air has yet to be determined (ESPN or ABC).
TV for this week’s Clemson-Maryland 3:30 start was announced as ESPN early Sunday.