Turnover-Prone Clemson Tigers Desperately Need Clean Game

Data points are everything in college football, so don’t just shrug Clemson’s game against Florida Atlantic on Saturday off and start thinking about next week. 

Yes, the ACC showdown with Florida State will be a huge, determining factor in the Tigers’ season. It’ll be the “prove it” week in many ways.

But the 8 p.m. game against the Owls presents a “show me” week.

Dabo Swinney’s team was dreadful at protecting the football at Duke in Week 1, turning the the ball over three times in a 28-7 loss that put them in an immediate ACC hole. 

Last week, Clemson (1-1) exorcised some demons and put up 66 points, despite a rough start and two more turnovers. 

The game against FAU (1-1) is an opportunity for the Tigers to prove that they can protect the ball and quit giving it away. And this is not an issue that’s just developed this season. 

Dating back to last year’s late October contest against Syracuse, this program has turned the ball over 22 times in nine games. Only once did Clemson not give it away, when it won the turnover margin against UNC in the ACC Championship Game. 

By the way, the Tigers have lost four of those nine contests. Coincidence? Of course not. 

And if Clemson wants to build positive momentum and feel like it’s ready for the challenge No. 3 FSU is gonna bring to Death Valley, playing well against FAU is imperative. 

Now, it doesn’t mean that if the Tigers play a clean game with the Owls that guarantees they’ll do the same against the Seminoles, but decision making has been shaky this season. Holding onto the ball has been an issue. 

Turnovers can be incredibly luck-driven, but they’re also contagious and feel like snowballs rolling down a hill. 

Just look at last year when Clemson only turned the ball over five times in the first seven games. It went 7-0. 

That’s off the table this year, but cleaning up what’s been the program’s biggest area of weakness for far too long starts against the Owls.

Keep the ball, win big. Keep turning it over, and beating FSU next week seems improbable.

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