Six straight losses in Atlanta, the shame of the Orange Bowl blowout, the Sammy Watkins suspension, the issues with the young Clemson offensive line, Clemson’s weird, historical struggles in even-numbered years…
There were a lot of reasons not to expect us to win, but 320 rushing yards later all that pessimism is replaced with pie in the sky optimism. A young offensive line that was supposed to be pushed around by a strong Auburn D-line stood tall–or more aptly helped Tajh Boyd stand tall. Boyd looked incredibly nimble after cutting some weight over the offseason, Andre Ellington looked phenomenal in racking up a career-high 231 rushing yards, and DeAndre Hopkins set a Clemson receptions record with 13.
Many thought Clemson’s receivers would step up without Watkins, and they did. Few thought Clemson’s O-line would be as solid as it was. Although I picked Auburn to win, and I am glad to be wrong, I don’t want to get carried away here. As Clemson fans, a healthy shield of pessimism is needed to keep us sane. Let’s remember that Auburn is the 7th best team in the SEC (Georgia, Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, Florida, and South Carolina are stronger).
That said, the Tigers should be favored in nine of the remaining 11 games on their schedule, and the matchup with FSU in Tallahassee will be the biggest game in the ACC this season. I’m not quite ready to change my prediction of 9-3, but the fear of a flimsy O-line making this team completely mediocre has been assuaged.
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It’s a good win for Clemson, but their habit of falling apart late in the season will be another big hurdle to overcome.
2 more games to hone their skills and one game to get Sammy Watkins ready before the big division rivalry game with FSU. Think we can win in Tallahassee? Swinney needs to keep them focused like he did in the first half of last year. I’m looking forward to that game, but very nervous about it.
Thanks for the comment. I saw the one on my politics post first and added some thoughts about Clemson there. I don’t think we’ll beat FSU, but it isn’t unrealistic. I’m interested in seeing the GT v. VT game tonight.
Yeah, me too. I’m surprised they are playing each other in their first game. As for our game, was it just me or did our defense seem to adjust to that fast little running back Auburn has (No 23). It made me happy believing that our defense was actually making adjustments. Just wondering what others thought.
Our defense still gave up one big play. That has been a big problem for a while. We seemed to fill the holes and play all around great defense after that.
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