Since the Defense raped BC's front, I'll spend more time looking at the offensive playcalls and the OL play than usual. I'd rather not go almost play-by-play, but since the playcalling bugged me so much I'm going to for this one.
-First play starts out well with a corner route to Ford on the boundary, then a huge cutback lane on the next play gives Spiller another first down. Good block by Austin to spring him free. 3rd play is a WR screen and Clear fails to make a block, loss of 3. I don't agree with the play call, the defense could be punched in the mouth, I would run it again or look deep. 4th is a coverage sack when Parker had time and opportunity to make a throw, but McClain just let the guy release. On the INT, BC zone blitzed two men up the A gap right into Parker's face, and he threw off his back foot into the LB's hands. Ball shouldve been deeper, but this throw was forced by their pressure. Clemson didnt have people inside to block 2 extra guys, but this could've been handled better, the gap between Cloy and McClain opened right up. McClain blocked his man, but the DE backed off into coverage.
-Defense forces quick 3 & out, Spiller returns the punt 73 yards for the only CU TD of the game.
-Defense would have another 3 & out but for the PI call. Steele calls blitzes from the SS and then the Nickelback Gilchrist on the next play from the slot, and the pressure forces the QB to make a bad decision and throw. The pass was tipped by the WR with Conner on him, and Hall picks it off at midfield.
-Clemson comes out in I, BC shows blitz so we audible out into shotgun, then Parker stares down Ford the entire time. The ball was underthrown again, and a little behind him on what looked like an out route and the LB underneath Ford picks it off. The audible is fine, and the call is good, but the execution got us.
-D 3 & out.
-Next Clemson drive starts inside the 10 due to a holding call on the punt return. CJ gets the first by himself on two plays, then we get outnumbered up front on the next. Another WR screen to Jacoby was set up well, but their LB got off Cloy's block and made the play. Clemson was conservative in playcalling and should've been so inside our own 20.
-D 3&out, and Bowers/Sapp weren't even in on the series. Goodman and Branch both made good tackles. Ford returns the punt to their 45, and another block in the back pushes us back to our 30.
-Harper in at RB, a designed zone read play goes nowhere because no hole opens to the right side and he doesnt cut it back. Harper needs to turn upfield and run it, we should run wide with Ellington and Spiller, not Harper. Parker overthrows Jones on the next play. BC blitzes 5 on the next play, the line picked it up, and he scrambled for the 1st, but our WRs were bunched together on their routes, you cant get guys open when their routes are both little hitches side-by-side. Harper stopped in the backfield by a man shooting up the middle on a play where McClain goes with the FB right and Cloy gets sandwiched and falls down. The next play looks like a called QB Draw for no gain, there was no blitzer to force him to run it himself. Dumb call, throw the ball. Punt. End of 1st.
-D 3 & out. Spiller gets us excellent field position again on the return at the BC 42.
-Clemson runs some zone plays to the left and gets some good yardage into the redzone. Then we try a Wildcat formation play and Spiller gets nowhere, I dont like the call, stick with what we can run and dont run around the perimeter inside the red zone, run right at them. Ellington takes a zone read (they listened to me!) and gets to the corner but not enough for the first. On 3rd down they blitz off the corner, we dont pick it up well, and Parker has to throw it away. FG 10-0.
-BC loses yardage on their first play, then the QB pulls out from under center and Thompson gets the ball back for us at the 8.
-First play is a handoff right side to Spiller to the 5 hole, but Walker did make his block as did McClain. A LB jumped into the hole and CJ bounced it out and they strung it out for lost yardage. Diehl looked to have taken the right man, and Ashe was blocking his man, but Ashe released him and he was the one that strung it out. The next is a shotgun PA screen to Ford stopped for a loss, again don't like the call, go for the endzone. Third down play is a 2-back "almost-pistol"-formation option play, Korn looks to pitch and his man is covered, then he makes the only decision left and holds it, and is tackled behind the line. Do not like this call either, we should've taken one shot into the endzone, and not tried to run perimeter plays in the red zone, when we did have success running inside earlier. Where is the killer instinct? MAN UP AND RUN RIGHT AT THEM. FG 13-0. We should be up 17 right now.
-D 3 & out.
-Incomplete PA pass to Marquan at the first down sticks was thrown into coverage, when Spiller looked open underneath. Parker did not look off Jones. Hitch to Palmer gets the 1st down, then an end around to Ford gets close to another. Spiller would've gotten more than the next first down on a power play had McClain gotten anything on his block. On another inside zone play, the OL blocks well but again McClain is getting beat by his man, Spiller still gets the 1st. BC shoots the gaps on the next inside play and strings CJ out as we enter the redzone again. Harper takes another inside zone left, but cant break the tackle. Parker rolls right on a designed play and both WRs on that side are covered as he throws it out of bounds. FG 16-0. Playcalling here wasnt so much an issue. The play that was strung out was designed to go inside, and the rollout was a fine play call, but there shouldve been another man following the two WRs into the boundary and I dont see him. Parker wouldve had time to set and throw back to midfield.
-D 3&out. A bad punt gives us the ball at our 40. We get the ball with about :40 left. Parker is blitzed off the corner on 1st down and throws it away, Ellington drops a pass in his breadbasket on 2nd, and on 3rd down sails a throw to Ellington. We didn't even run off 25 seconds. Punt, and BC takes the knee.
Halftime Clemson has had no drive over 40 yards.
-We get the ball at midfield. Harper runs right on 1st down, and just doesnt fire into the hole, no gain. A WR screen to Ford gets a few yards. A pass in the flats to CJ gets only 2. CJ takes a toss sweep right for the first. PA to Ford would've been a TD if Parker had taken a little bit off. A short pass to Ashe gets 7, and an inside WR screen to Ford doesnt benefit from any blocking. BC blitzed at the same time so Parker was rushed. Jackson kicks a 52 yarder, 19-0.
Normally a WR screen would work great if they blitz you, so the call was fine, but the play had to develop a little faster and nobody blocked. L.Walker was standing still and Ford ran right into him.
-McDaniel picks off the deep ball in what looks like Man-Free coverage at our 46.
-Ford is double covered and Parker never takes his eyes off him then sails one over his head. Why not look underneath or left? Harper takes a Draw nowhere, and Palmer's catch sets up 4th & 1. The 4th down play was a power play to Ellington, and Deihl does not make his block, and Austin doesnt execute a cut block either (either that or he tripped). Hairston was actually lined up at TE on the right side here, and doesnt make a great block. It didnt look like he fell down well either, I suspect this is where he got hurt.
-D 3&out. First lightning delay.
-Spiller is still in the game here after the delay, but only two plays that I see. Lambert is in at LT. McClain again gets beat by his man. Parker hits Palmer for a 1st down. Coverage shows that if we tried for an inside route, we'd be hitting it all day. They show a Cover 2 look to me. BC blitzed and good coverage on 3rd down forces a punt.
-BC gets their first yardage because Jenkins missed the QB in the backfield on the PA fake, and he scrambles 18 yards. A few plays later he scrambles again on an inside blitz where we missed him and gets another first down. End of 3rd Qtr. Bowers didnt miss him on the next play, lined up from a 3-tech DT position. 7 plays for 32 yards, this was their best drive of the game.
-Ellington fumbles on the very next play. He was carrying it high across his chest and the LB popped it out.
-On BCs TD play, they showed us a bunched set, with 3 receivers to the right side. We blitzed one LB up the backside A/B gap and another around the backside corner. McDaniel was in close, and lets his man go right by him. He was supposed to bump him and backpedal. The FS took the inside receiver to protect the post, which was his only choice. The Corner took #2 into the flat but didnt look to see #1 running behind him into the corner of the endzone. Miscommunication and assignment. 19-7.
2nd lightning delay.
-Clemson opens with the ball again. End around to Ford, then a Power play with Lambert unable to seal off the backside when Austin pulls out. On 3rd down Parker hits Marquan on the boundary for a first inside their 25. We try to run perimeter plays again with Jones on the end-around and get nothing, then they blitz off the left side on 3rd down, it isnt picked up and Parker has to rush his throw and it falls incomplete. STOP RUNNING THESE PERIMETER PLAYS. FG 22-7.
-Really, Clemson should call conservatively to run clock, and we are able to run the ball inside. Norris is in the game at RG, and he and Cloy got good push here. Ellington blows into the hole much quicker than Harper on some of these zone plays. Parker hits Ellington on a PA pass on a flare route for the 1st, which was really a great play call right here. But then Harper comes in and the OL just isnt creating push and he isn't cutting back or doing anything but fall down. Parker overthrows Ford on another corner route. Punt downed at the 1. I dont think we blew assignments here, Harper doesnt have the explosion that Ellington has, the crease was there.
-Meeks picks off the next pass that was really another bad throw. Ball was thrown inside on a vertical/skinny post and sailed a bit on him.
-Harper takes a handoff to the left side that goes nowhere, but a penalty pushes us back. Ellington takes the next zone play to the 11. Korn does the right thing by falling down and taking the sack, keeping the clock moving instead of throwing it away, but Ellington did not carry his block through to the end. Harper comes in and falls down as soon as they touch him. I can see going conservative here with the calls, the game is in hand, but honestly I'd have gone for the TD. Another FG, 25-7.
-D forces a turnover on downs and Clemson takes a knee.
Thoughts... -McClain got beat too much, and didnt look too good to me. Austin looked much better, Walker looked ok, Cloy looked good, and Lambert got beat once or twice. Push was better than I thought up front. -Clemson ran fewer Power plays and more inside zone plays than before, the left side is doing their job, many times cutback lanes were wide open because the left side had down-angle blocked everyone right. -Harper just doesnt have the burst into the hole, he looks tentative and plays slower than he should. -Playcalling in the red zone needs to be more north-south and less east-west, but understand that zone defenses bunch up in the red zone and there arent as many open spaces. Still, scoring against such a defense comes down to the running game and we should've done better. Otherwise I feel like the calls were fine: we were conservative and it was wet, but thats no excuse for 6 FGs and a pattern of inability to score in the red zone this year. As far as I know, its been only once from within the red zone (D. Allen's catch last week). -The offense will get a first down, possible two, but then can't move the sticks due to blown OL assignment, dropped pass, poor pass or lack of execution offensively. -BC blitzed at great times and we did not pick it up far too often. TCU will see that. They played good sound zone defense against us. -Parker made some bad decisions and throws and didnt look off his primary enough, there were open men further downfield to hit. Wet balls are harder to throw but he sailed a few. He seemed too eager to hit Jacoby and doesnt look off. -I dont think I saw a Clemson defense play this good against a conference team since I was a little kid. Other than the miscue on the TD, I can find nothing critical to complain about. -Raycom sports highlights available here.