CLEMSON – The sun is shining. The Tigers are trouncing somebody. It’s gameday. Everybody’s happy, but there was definitely some air taken out of Memorial Stadium at the conclusion of Clemson’s opening drive Saturday.
Mike Williams should be OK in the long-term, if my I’m-not-a-doctor estimate based on replays is near accurate. Still, that was a scary moment when Clemson’s veteran receiver was down on the turf for about 10 minutes to kick off this 2015 season.
Williams was the first of five Tigers to reach the end zone in this first half, followed by Wayne Gallman, Artavis Scott, Tyshon Dye and Zac Brooks to give No. 12-ranked Clemson a 35-7 halftime lead.
- Quarterback Deshaun Watson was actually a bit off-target on the first drive of his sophomore season; throws were low to Ray-Ray McCloud, behind Artavis Scott and a tad high to Williams on the play that sent him to the hospital. But all three were caught, and Watson went 6-for-6 for 42 yards and the score on that opening possession. He is 17-for-20 with 182 yards and a couple of scores so far, a 194.4 passer rating.
- This is really curious. The two backups flashing signs to get the playcall in to Watson are third-stright quarterback Kelly Bryant and ... walk-on Seth Ryan, the holder, and Rex Ryan’s son. Will ask about that later.
- Clemson’s first-team offense’s four first-half drives: 33 plays, 265 yards, 28 points.
- The Tigers’ offensive staff chose to insert the entire second-team offense, rather than just pick and choose individuals to sub in here or there. The first drive did not end well, with a Nick Schuessler lost fumble. The second drive was better, resulting in Dye’s rushing touchdown.
- Second-team offensive line from left to right: freshman Taylor Hearn, freshman Justin Falcinelli, walk-on Zach Riggs, sophomore Maverick Morris, freshman Jake Fruhmorgen. Riggs stepped in for Jay Guillermo, who stepped up to first team while Ryan Norton is hurt, and Riggs cleared a hole for Zac Brooks’ 25-yard touchdown run, the fifth score for Clemson.
- That was Brooks’ fifth career touchdown, and his first since Oct. 5, 2013 when the third-ranked Tigers ruined Syracuse’s first ACC game. That long ago.
- Clemson auditioned four punt returners in the first half: Artavis Scott, Germone Hopper, Ray-Ray McCloud and Hunter Renfrow. McCloud and Renfrow both dealt with bouncing balls; Renfrow muffed it away to Wofford, Clemson’s second turnover. Still think Scott needs the football 12-15 times a game on a regular basis.
- Wofford had six three-and-outs before converting its first first down, taking advantage of Renfrow’s muffed punt return to squirt down the field for a nice drive before the orange slices. Clemson had 21 first-half first downs. The Terriers went 53 yards in nine plays, scoring a TD on the final play with a 1-yard Chase Nelson rush.