The Clemson Tigers handled their business in the final tune-up game before taking on No. 3 Florida State next week.
Dabo Swinney’s squad rolled to a 48-14 victory over the Florida Atlantic Owls on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.
Here’s what went right and what didn’t for a Clemson team that improved to 2-1 on the season:
- After committing five turnovers in the first two games of the season, the Clemson Tigers won the turnover margin for the first time this season. They took the ball away five times and gave it away just once.
- The Tigers’ defense recorded three interceptions, one fumble recovery and a turnover on downs.
- Clemson didn’t mess around early like the week before against Charleston Southern. The Tigers’ defense scored on the fourth snap of the game when Nate Wiggins picked off a Casey Thompson pass and took it to the house for a 7-0 lead.
- The Clemson offense racked up 255 total yards in the first half.
- Cade Klubnik threw three touchdown passes, rushed for his first score of the season, added 35 yards on the ground and didn’t turn the ball over in the win.
- Phil Mafah has gotten off to a good start this season and the junior running back kept that going with a 19-yard TD run and an average of 8.4 yards per carry.
- Tight end Jake Briningstool caught his first touchdown of the season.
- Freshman Tyler Brown has emerged as a real playmaker in this offense. The receiver had two touchdown catches to go along with his team-high 49 receiving yards. He also added a 44-yard punt return.
- Speaking of freshmen, T.J. Parker had his first career sack on Saturday, and he made plays in the backfield for the third consecutive game.
- Linebacker Wade Woodaz had his second consecutive game with an interception, and he nearly had his second TD to with it but was knocked out of bounds deep in FAU territory.
- Barrett Carter led the Tigers in tackles with seven for the game.
- Freshman safety Khalil Barnes continued to impress as he had his first career interception and forced a fumble to go with his six total tackles.
- Clemson only ran 66 plays in the game but averaged two more yards per play than FAU.
- Robert Gunn III continues to struggle as the starting kicker. The redshirt freshman, who had two field goals blocked at Duke in Week 1, missed an extra point attempt and a 31-yard field goal in the first quarter. The coaches stuck with Gunn, who ended up making five PATs but didn’t attempt another field goal.
- Several Tigers got banged up during the game. Receiver Antonio Williams went to the locker room with an injury in the first quarter but did return to the game. WR Cole Turner also went down; he did not play again. DB Toriano Pride had to leave the game with an apparent shoulder injury but was back on the field shortly after it.
- Running back Will Shipley got into a confrontation on the sideline with position coach C.J. Spiller after he subbed out following a carry that got the Tigers down to the 1-yard line. Shipley recorded just one rush after that and was shown dejected on the sideline with a towel over his head.
- It was an off night for Shipley statistically. He wasn’t needed in a big way against an overmatched opponent but he had just 38 rushing yards on 10 carries and didn’t score a touchdown. He caught two passes for just seven yards.
- Clemson’s starting defense didn’t give up a single point, but a group of backups allowed the only scoring drive of the night, a 15-play, 75-yard possession capped by a 2-yard TD run by Michael Johnson Jr. The Owls got one more in the final minute on a trick play.
- After the offense scored on four touchdown drives in the first half to take a 34-0 lead into halftime, that momentum was left in the locker room. Clemson ran two consecutive three-and-out drives to start the third quarter, followed by a turnover on downs when it failed to convert on a 4th-and-1 deep in FAU territory.
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