It was a tough loss in week one for the Clemson Tigers as they took on the Georgia Bulldogs at home, but fell short after allowing 24 straight second half points following a 21-21 halfitime tie. Being without Tajh Boyd definitely hurt in the second half as the Tigers had to rely on an inexperienced QB to overcome a huge run. Clemson is hoping for a better week two performance.
After finishing the 2013 season with a 9-4 record, a lot was expected of the South Carolina State Bulldogs in the FCS. This could be a team that might contend for a title and a win on the road at Clemson could give them the momentum they need for the rest of the season — especially after a 63-0 week one win.
As stated earlier, the Tigers were without Boyd at quarterback for the first time in a few years and senior starter Cole Stoudt had to lead this team into battle with very little experience. Stoudt had been praised for his stellar accuracy, but he failed to show that on Saturday evening against the Bulldogs, as he finished 15 of 29 for 144 yards and an interception. He will need to improve drastically in order to give the Tigers a fighting chance in the ACC. Mike Williams will look to help the first-year starter out as he did in game one, catching three passes for an impressive 88 yards as he led all wide outs. The run game wasn’t very impressive as C.J. Davidson led the way with just 43 yards and a score on 12 carries.
South Carolina State didn’t struggle one bit on the offensive side of things in game one against Benedict on the road. The Bulldogs finished with 541 total yards and must have gotten one heck of a halftime speech as they were only leading Benedict 14-0 at the break before racking up 49 second half points. The passing offense accounted for just 160 of the team’s total yards behind the arm of Adrian Kollock who was 15-18 for 160 yards and no scores or interceptions. Mykal Moody was his leading receiving with two catches for 42 yards. The run game accounted for 380 yards as seven different rushers racked up at least 30 yards and nine saw action. Jalen Simmons led the way with 77 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries while Dondre Lewis-Freeman also had two rushing scores.
Defensively, the Bulldogs shut out Benedict on the scoreboard and held it to just 228 total yards on offense. Most of the yards given up by South Carolina State were through the air while it only allowed 56 yards on the ground on 1.9 yards per rush. Clemson had a tough time stopping Georgia’s offense, however, as the Tigers allowed 459 yards of total offense as they couldn’t contain running back Todd Gurley who rushed for nearly 200 yards on his own. Clemson allowed 328 rushing yards — 8.0 yards per rush attempt.
South Carolina State will travel to Clemson to take on the Tigers at 12:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, Sept. 6. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN 3.
PREDICTION: Clemson 37, South Carolina State 17
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.