Halftime hits: Clemson allergic to the end zone, but runs 51 plays and has 16-7 lead
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A few quick thoughts popping into the ol’ noggin after 30 minutes of crabcakes and football, because that’s what Maryland does. (Note: aforementioned crabcakes are purely theoretical, and not actually served in the press box.)
- Ah-ah-ah-AH-CHOO! (Behold. The sound of Clemson’s offense around the end zone.)
- I am a man of the Tweeple, and the Tweeple have spoken slash retweeted: y’all are fascinated by how dumpy the Tigers have been in the red zone lately. After scoring touchdowns on 15 of its first 18 red-zone attempts through five games, the Tigers are now just four of their last 12, including oh-for-four to open Saturday.
- But Clemson rectified that with a little fade route to Jordan Leggett – remember him? – with nine seconds to go, thus grabbing the 16-7 lead into the locker room.
- For the first time in 17 games, Clemson did not get the ball to start the game. The Tigers actually won the toss and deferred, which looks fairly genius now, since they garnered a three-and-out to open the affair, and now get the ball to open the second half and look to put Maryland away a little bit.
- Roderick McDowell is on the doorstep of his second career 100-yard rushing effort, and first since the Georgia opener. With 78 yards on 17 carries (17 carries?), McDowell’s already got his third-best effort of the year.
- Clemson ran 51 plays and gained 294 total yards. Chad Morris smiley face.
- Clemson has one touchdown on five red zone trips. Chad Morris frownie face.
- Stop me if you’ve heard this: Clemson’s defense does almost everything acceptable except allowing big plays. Other than the 71-yard gash up the middle from Caleb Rowe to Levern Jacobs, the Tigers allowed the Terrapins 104 yards on 23 plays. That’s stingy.
- However, coming into today, only two teams in all of Division I had yielded more than three gains of 70-plus yards: Colorado State and North Texas. Clemson now has given up three in its last three halves, and four overall.
- Travis Blanks appeared to be the guilty party, taking a bad angle on Jacobs. Every time I looked down the rest of the half, Jayron Kearse was in his place.
- D.J. Reader got the start at defensive tackle, and made a takedown on the second play of the game. Josh Watson and DeShawn Williams are in backup roles; Williams, back from an ankle injury, nearly blocked a punt.
- Adam Humphries muffed a punt after Maryland’s game-opening three-and-out. Although Humphries recovered it himself, he was back out there for a fair catch the next time out. Why Sammy Watkins still isn’t allowed back there after fumbling one against Georgia seven weeks ago remains a mystery.
- Speaking of Sammy Watkins – who had an 89-yard punt return for a touchdown on this field as a freshman – he had 10 catches for 127 yards. In the first half. Bing bong, hello.
Enough yammering. Enjoy the second half.