Clemson Sacks Auburn 14-6: 3 Things That Matter
Check out 3 Quick Game Thoughts on Clemson’s very tough, very physical win over Auburn.
Clemson 14, Auburn 6
Prediction: Clemson 26, Auburn 20
Line: Clemson -5.5 o/u: 54
1. The Clemson defensive front is the truth
It’s been easy over the last few years to see Clemson’s flash and dash on offense, especially considering all the heroics from Deshaun Watson and all the special next-level playmakers who made the O go.
But with this team, and with all the new offensive stars needing time to rise up, the D is carrying the day.
The Tigers might already have the best pair of defensive tackles in the country in Dexter Lawrence and Christian Wilkins, but it was more than just those two who stuffed the high-powered Auburn attack.
AU was sacked 11 times, ran for just 38 yards, and threw for 79 more. This is supposed to be among the most unstoppable systems with some of the best talents in the country, and the offense went absolutely nowhere.
Two field goals. That’s all the Gus Malzahn attack could create. Clemson had everything to do with that.
2. But Auburn played a little defense, too – and Kelly Bryant still came through
Clemson has a special offensive front, but it couldn’t generate any sort of a push for the running game when Kelly Bryant didn’t take off.
He wasn’t able to do anything too flashy, but he powered his way for a team-high 59 rushing yards and a score – Adam Choice was the second-best runner with 17 yards – and he threw for 181 yards on a 19-of-29 day.
And no interceptions.
It was a strong, smart, tough performance in a strong, smart, tough game, and in just his second start, Bryant played like the trusted veteran he needed to be. And now …
3. What’s next for the Tigers? Both of them
Great, Clemson. You just came up with a. gut-check, emotional win over Auburn that proved that you’re right back in the national title chase. Now try to stop Lamar Jackson and Louisville on the road next week.
If Ohio State isn’t everyone’s No. 2, it’ll be Clemson – at the very least, it’ll be No. 3. Beat the Cardinals, and with all of the other issues across the ACC, everything has reloaded. Everything is back to national-title-or-bust expectations.
For Auburn, it gets a break against Mercer next week to get the machine rolling again, but if all goes to form, there won’t be an issue until going to LSU in mid-October.
Clemson is obviously special, but as this game showed, the offense needs more answers. It needs to be able to play with more power, Jarrett Stidham has to be quicker with his decision making, and the O line has to be better in pass protection.
And the coaching staff has to give Stidham and the backfield more of a chance to opener against the better defensive fronts.
This loss doesn’t crush and College Football Playoff chances. This is still a top-shelf team, it still gets Alabama at home, and the goal is still the same.
Win the West, win the SEC, roll the dice on getting into the CFP. This was a setback; not a deathblow.