CLEMSON — On Saturday night, the Clemson Tigers shouted for the world to hear that they have arrived. Notre Dame made a mad dash effort at a comeback, and very nearly accomplished it, but the Tigers held.
Clemson got off to a quick start, punching the Irish square in the face and daring them to do something.
CJ Prosise, Notre Dame’s heralded running back, was held to four first half rushing yards and finished 100 yards below his per game average.
Will Fuller, the best receiving threat the Irish have, was held to 37 yards on the night. While the Irish piled up passing yards in the fourth quarter, Clemson’s defense stuffed them all night.
While the defense was busy proving again it was best in the land, the offense continued to struggle. Wayne Gallman got it going a bit late and came close to 100 yards, but the Tigers are becoming too reliant on Deshaun Watson running the ball.
The talent is there for a quality passing game, but the Tigers continue to have issues. While it would be easy to blame the inexperienced offensive line, that is not the only issue at play.
Clemson’s ridiculous wealth of talent at receiver simply isn’t playing out on the field. The Tigers are struggling to get open, especially down field which is allowing opposing defenses to stack the box.
Regardless of the negatives, the fact remains Clemson is 4-0 and now has a quality win against a top-10 team. While commentators are still talking about Clemsoning and how weak the ACC is, Clemson has quietly strung together great seasons, 32 consecutive wins against unranked opponents, and wins against LSU, Auburn, Georgia, Ohio State, and now Notre Dame over the past four seasons.
No matter what you may think of Dabo Swinney, he has turned Clemson from a perennial also-ran to an annual contender for the ACC, and he has the Tigers on the doorstep of contending for the playoffs. And all this is with a team that is built for 2016.
Reach James Inabinet at 803-635-0416.