If you didn’t watch the matchup between No. 2 ranked Clemson and Georgia Southern live on Saturday afternoon, you may think that the Tigers had just another ho-hum domination over a Group of Five team, but the box score does not tell the entire story.
Southern remained tight with the Clemson until late into the fourth quarter, largely thanks to forcing three turnovers of its ACC opponent and doing a nice job defensively of keeping one of the best teams in country off of the scoreboard for three-plus quarters.
Like I mentioned earlier, the box score for GS was ugly — having just 140 yards accumulated and your wide receiver being the leading passer with 40 yards is obviously not ideal, but when trying to remain competitive with the No. 2 team in the nation, you do what you have to in order to stay within striking range.
By the time the final horn sounded, Clemson had scored a pair of late touchdowns in the fourth quarter against an Eagles’ defense that had been on the field for a while and made the final score more lopsided than it seemed when watching the game itself.
Thankfully after some pretty boring first half play calling on offense by Southern, coordinator Bob DeBesse opened it up on the Eagles’ lone drive that led to points. After catching a screen pass out wide, receiver Obe Fortune bombed a pass out to Wesley Kennedy III for a long 40 yard completion and quarterback Shai Werts punched it in one play later to put GS on the board.
All things considered, I personally thought the Eagles looked very impressive despite being obviously outmatched from a talent perspective against a national title contender opponent, and it will be interesting to see what the team looks like two weeks from today when it takes on with Arkansas State at home.
- Defensive players Kindle Vildor and Rashad Byrd each came to play, with the pair combining for an interception apiece, with both making some excellent plays to try and keep Clemson out of the end zone.
- Tigers’ quarterback Trevor Lawrence is going to be the truth once he is able to start full-time next season, but some of the growing pains showed today with Lawrence being picked off on an athletic play by Byrd and some overthrows.
- Travis Etienne is extremely explosive out of Clemson’s backfield, and should be a starter once he makes it to the NFL barring injury.
- Georgia Southern’s defensive depth looked stout in the first half, as the Eagles were forced to use several backups but still did a great job of containing the Tigers.