Miami’s first six completions averaged 4.5 yards across two quarters. When the game was in doubt, every run that looked like it might be something caused the least possible damage. That’s good tackling, both in terms of finishing and players rallying to the ball.
Early offensive consistency
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The Tigers offense has the rep of being high-flying, and that’s true to a degree. But their ability to grind out drives is much more special. Clemson scored on its first three drives with no plays longer than 25 yards and only two longer than 14, converting its first seven third downs along the way.
When, arguably, the weakest link on the team hits his first 15 passes and posts 164 passing yards by halftime, plus scores on the ground, it’s probably a good night.
Both contestants in the Dr. Pepper challenge put effectiveness over style and threw chest passes. True, it looks silly, but with that much money on the table, you do what you must.
The Tigers gave Miami a good scoring chance after a stop on the Hurricanes’ first possession. Later, Ray-Ray McCloud nearly lost the ball after a big gain, but a nice bounce saved an eventual touchdown drive.
TV bang for the buck
You’re talking about a national-TV prime-time game, on one of the biggest nights of the college football season. The game was effectively over by the start of the second quarter.
That end-of-first-half sequence
Clemson somehow managed to put itself in position to have to run a fourth-down play from the shadow of its own goal post. It didn’t exactly matter, but not that well played on either side.
Not piling it on
Through 18 minutes, Clemson was up 21 and rolling. Then the Tigers offense went quiet. Again, a small nit to pick, but the next opponent will require a bit more.