The goal all along for the Clemson offense is to play its best football in November. If the past few weeks are any indication it appears Clemson’s going to do just that.
Deshaun Watson and company had their most productive offensive day of the season this past Saturday against Syracuse, producing 565 yards despite backups receiving significant playing time.
The number is even more impressive because the Tigers let their foot off the gas in the fourth quarter. Of Clemson’s 565 total yards, 528 came in the first three quarters.
“The biggest focus for us is people are going to remember what you do in November,” Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said. “We want to peak at the right time. (We’re)challenging our guys to play championship football coming down the stretch .”
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Clemson’s offense has put up at least 495 yards in the past five games. Clemson reached that number only once in the first three games.
The Tigers have 4,396 yards of offense, three more than at the same time last year.
“I think we’re better than we were last year offensively,” coach Dabo Swinney said.
Clemson has had success in the running game, but has been dynamic throwing the football.
The Tigers are averaging more than 320 passing yards per game and have topped the 300-yard mark in five of the past six games, thanks in part to a receiving corps that is perhaps the best in the country.
“We stumbled a little bit, but this is the time where we need to find our stride, and I think we’ve got some good momentum,” receiver Artavis Scott said.
The leader of Clemson’s impressive receiving corps is junior Mike Williams. The projected first-round pick, who sat out most of last season with a neck injury, leads the Tigers with 52 catches and 754 yards and is second with five touchdowns.
“We didn’t have Mike Williams last year, and we’re not going to have him next year either,” Swinney said. “We want to make sure we take full advantage of that No. 7 while we’ve got him.”
Clemson has weathered a string of drops and turnovers early in the year and is now one of the hottest offenses in the country entering Saturday’s game against Pitt.
The Tigers have turned the ball over 18 times in nine games, but 16 came in the first seven games.
Clemson didn’t turn the ball over against Syracuse and had only two turnovers against Florida State after four the previous week against N.C. State.
Clemson should continue to roll against Pitt, which has allowed at least 31 points in every ACC game, including 51 last week at Miami.
The Big Five
A look at Clemson’s wide receiving corps, one of the best in the country:
(*He has played in just five games because of injury.)
Who: Pittsburgh at Clemson
When: 3:30 p.m., Saturday
Where: Memorial Stadium
Line: Clemson by 21