Clemson will look to rebound from a disappointing season debut when the Tigers return home to Death Valley on Saturday, Sept. 9, for the team’s home opener against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers. Kickoff at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C., is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. ET.
Clemson dropped its season opener at Duke, 28-7, on Labor Day evening. Clemson outgained Duke, 422-374, and led the Blue Devils in first downs, 29-17, hitting several additional statistical markers typically correlated with winning.
“Honestly, in all my years of football, I’ve never been a part of a game like that ever,” Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney said following the game. “I’ve been here at Clemson a long time. Since I’ve been a head coach, we were 58-0 when we rush for 200 [yards] and pass for 200 [yards]. That’s usually a pretty good indicator, and I think in Clemson history, we were 108-0 [when hitting 200 yards in both categories] — never lost ever. But you’ve got to finish and obviously we did not do that.
“So many opportunities. [We were] on the one-yard line a couple times. Went 1-for-4 in the red zone, a few turnovers, a couple low blocked kicks… Twice, first-and-goal from the one and didn’t get any points. It’s really, really disappointing, and really nothing else you can say about it.”
Following the hire of Air Raid disciple Garrett Riley as offensive coordinator last offseason, Clemson’s offense has assumed the moniker of “Dirt Raid” based on its commitment to the running game and its faith in the two-headed running back tandem of Will Shipley and Phil Mafah.
Clemson rushed for 213 yards in the season opener, the Tigers’ most in a season opener since starting the 2019 season by annihilating Georgia Tech to the tune of 411 rushing yards. Since the formation of the ACC in 1953, Clemson has opened the season against a conference opponent 16 times; Monday’s game marked only the fifth time in that span that Clemson had rushed for 200+ yards against a conference opponent in Week 1.
Saturday has been designated as Football Reunion Day, as Clemson will honor members of the 1973, 1998, 2013 and 2018 squads. See page 26 for more information on these teams celebrating their 50-year, 25-year, 10-year and five-year reunions, respectively.
Zach: After a debacle of epic proportions Monday against Duke the Tigers face CSU, a team that mustered three points in a win against SC State. I fully expect the offense to play the way that many expected, with fewer drops, fewer missed opportunities, fewer fumbles and a lot more points. Tigers get their first win of the season.
Jason: Charleston Southern comes to town at just the right time for a Clemson team that obviously still has a lot of kinks to work out. It’s an opportune time to try and start correcting all the mistakes that plagued this team on Monday night in Durham. For at least one week, this offense resembles what fans were expecting heading into the season.
Brad: It’s not a matter of “if” Clemson wins. This week, it’s about “how.” There are a lot of wrongs to right and a different path has to be set beginning now. However, remember last year when the Tigers didn’t execute flawlessly against Furman and they got some issues exposed? Well, the Bucs might not be good enough to bring out those struggles, but the Tigers desperately need to avoid shooting themselves in the foot after last week. Weather may be a factor, but it’s still a blowout coming.
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