Clemson Tigers on a Quest for National Greatness

Clemson Tigers on a Quest for National Greatness

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Will the Tigers continue to shine this season?

Three decades have passed since Clemson’s national title aspirations were last met and it has been two decades since the Tigers won the Atlantic Coast Conference title. Both achievements are within reach this year, a surprising development to everyone except for Clemson faithful.

Disaster Averted

This South Carolina team nearly had its aspirations wrecked during the second game of the season when the Tigers hosted the Football Division Series Wofford Terriers. The “dogs” took the lead on Clemson in the third quarter, before Clemson rallied and held on to beat Wofford 35 to 27. The following week, Clemson began to string together the first of three consecutive wins over ranked teams, knocking off Auburn, Florida State and Virginia Tech in succession.

That victory over the Hokies was especially impressive as Clemson won on the road and made the VT’s offense look impotent in a 23 to 3 win. Recent games against Maryland and North Carolina tested the Tigers’ mettle, but showed that when Clemson is down, they should not be counted out.

Potent Offense

Leading the Clemson offense which is averaging 40 points per game is quarterback Tajh Boyd, a talented sophomore from Hampton, Virginia. Boyd is on everyone’s Heisman Watch list and for good reason: he has thrown for 24 touchdowns and has been intercepted just three times, amassing 2,379 yards through the air. So dominant has Boyd been that he tied a school record last week by tossing 5 TDs against North Carolina.

Doing the most damage for Clemson on the receiving end of the ball is wide receiver Sammy Watkins, a freshman from Fort Myers, Florida. To date, Watkins has caught 54 passes for 819 yards and has rushed for another 126 yards. Watkins has 9 touchdowns on the year. Right back Andre Ellington, a junior from Moncks Corner, South Carolina, has added 7 rushing touchdowns, carrying the ball 146 times for 745 yards. He is joined by DeAndre Hopkins of nearby Central, South Carolina, a sophomore wide receiver who has caught 37 passes for 510 yards and has scored 4 touchdowns.

Georgia Tech

Several challenges loom for Clemson on the way to ACC perfection. Next up are the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets, a team that started off at 6-0, but has lost its last two games. The Jackets have seen their vaunted offense sputter over the past three weeks, which means that if GT can get its act together, both teams will likely shoot up a lot of fireworks on Saturday night.

Games against an improved Wake Forest squad and a good North Carolina State team follow, but the Tigers can’t look past Georgia Tech. Nor can they worry about who the November 5 show down between LSU and Alabama, the top two teams in the nation and the best teams in the SEC.

South Carolina

Following the completion of its ACC regular season on November 19, the Tigers will have one of the toughest fights of the year on its hands when they travel to Columbia to take on their chief in-state rivals, the #13 South Carolina Gamecocks. South Carolina may find itself playing for a major bowl game when it takes on Clemson, while Clemson could find itself in the running for the BCS title game.

Likely, the Saturday after Thanksgiving will offer one of the most important football contests ever played between these two Palmetto State rivals, with neither team willing to give an inch. Both teams may also find themselves playing a tune up game before their respective conference title games in early December. Despite kicking its star quarterback Stephen Garcia off of the team earlier this month, South Carolina is finding a way to win and is now relying on the arm of sophomore quarterback Connor Shaw to guide them.

Statistics and Schedule — ESPN: Clemson Tigers

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Categories: NCAA Football