Week 1

Clemson 19, Auburn 13: 5 Things That Matter


Clemson hung on to get by Auburn 19-13. What are the 5 Things That Matter about the ACC Tigers’ win?


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Gus Malzahn – let the games begin

Malzahn coached like he didn’t really believe his team had a chance to win the game straight-up.

Late in the third quarter, Auburn was down ten and deep in Clemson territory, but went for it on 4th-and-1 instead of kicking the sure-thing field goal to pull within seven. The Tiger O was stuffed.

He had two opportunities to kick field goals instead of going for it, meaning it would’ve been a 19-12 game in the fourth before finally getting into the end zone.

The defense was doing a great job of keeping Clemson in check, Deshaun Watson wasn’t going off, and everything was set up to be in the game until the final seconds as long as Malzahn went for the points at the right time.

If it was 2013 all over again and the offense was crushing and killing everything in its path, but that’s not this Tiger attack. Malzahn coaches differently and is always going to be aggressive, but it might have cost his team an upset.

Gus Malzahn – let the games begin, part 2

Again, it’s like Malzahn didn’t quite think his team could beat Clemson without getting weird.

Sean White, Jeremy Johnson, and John Franklin III all rotated in at various times, and none of them could get into any sort of a groove. And when something started to work -like in the third quarter when JFIII started moving the offense – in came Johnson, and off went the offense after a pick.

As it turned out, Auburn had a few throws into the end zone with a chance to win the game. As it turned out, Auburn was good enough to win the game, or at least come close. As it turned out, Auburn had to rely on a prayer at the end, when it probably didn’t need one to pull this off.

The magnificent Wayne Gallman

It’s impossible to get too much Heisman love when your quarterback is the likely No. 1 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, and it’s even harder when this is the year of the running back with elite talents across the country. But Gallman might be the most underappreciated back in college football running for 123 yards and a score on 30 carries, getting his nose dirty as a blocker, and doing everything he could to help keep Deshaun Watson from having to carry the load by himself. He was the steadying force who turned into the player of the game in the tough win. But Clemson also got a huge game from …

Mike Williams was terrific

In one of the feel-good stories of college football, Williams returned from a neck injury suffered in last year’s opener to roar in his 2016 debut. He looked bigger, stronger, and better, catching nine passes for 174 yards as Watson’s go-to guy. Artavis Scott was quiet, and Hunter Renfro didn’t do much outside of his clutch touchdown catch, but they’ll have their days. Williams, though, showed just how dangerous the passing game will be with all the weapons at Watson’s disposal.

What Does This All REALLY Mean?

It wasn’t pretty and Clemson didn’t look like the No. 2 team in college football, but it went into an SEC house in a night game and came away with a tough win. With Troy and South Carolina State up next before the ACC road showdown at Georgia Tech, now the team gets a little while to work out all the kinks.

It’s going to be rough sledding for Auburn now. It should be able to get by Arkansas State without a problem, but them comes a rejuvenated Texas A&M, and them comes LSU. A 1-3 start would be a nightmare with the three losses coming at home, but as the D showed, it’s good enough to slow down the best of the best offenses. Now the offense has to do its part.