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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

Archive for the category “Clemson correspondent”

Clemson at Texas A&M Game Thread

I am going to update based on time of day (est). This should be fun.

10:36 – Of course Hunter Renfro ends up recovering the onside kick. That will do it. Clemson wins 28-26. The Aggies cover the -12.5 and it went over.

10:34 – Well, Clemson steps up and stops the 2 point conversion. Onside kick time. That play never had a chance from the outset. The Tigers are 22-4 in one possession games since 2011. That’s decent.

10:32 – Touchdown Aggies! Ok, let’s settle down and get a 2 point play in. This is the most important play of the season for the Aggies. Well, until they play Alabama.

10:31 – Aggies get it at the 50 and there is just over a minute left. I get the feeling the Aggies will score a touchdown but will be stopped on the 2 point conversion.

10:28 – The Aggies get the stop. The punt will be kicked at 1:17. Texas A&M has no timeouts left but will have a shot.

10:27 – If the Aggies can get a stop here they will get it back with around 1:00 to go.

10:26 – The Samford QB has over 300 yards against FSU in the first half. In the first half!

10:21 – Noooooo. He might have fumbled this out the back of the end zone. That means Clemson would get it. Ugh. This is going to be a huge review. It is amazing how many times players dive for the end zone and lose the ball out the back and get a touch back. It is officially a touch back and that is likely the ball game.

10:18 – What we have learned is the middle of the field is very weak for Clemson. A&M has gouged the Tigers down the middle of the field. If your team has a QB that can throw is 20 yards down the middle, you can move the ball on the Tigers.

10:18 – The Aggies receivers have some great hands. Mond is throwing it up and they are coming down with it. Let’s see if this drive can end with a TD and a potential tie with a 2 point conversion.

10:16 – One last think you to our sponsor pediatric dentist in Ashburn, VA Little Smiles of Ashburn.

10:15 – A&M gets the stop and will get the ball back down 28-20. Remember, the spread was 12.5 for Clemson.

10:10 – Big stop for Clemson there after Texas A&M marched into their territory. With only 6:33 left, they can close this game out with points on the upcoming drive.

10:04 – The Aggies are moving the ball against Clemson here in the 4th quarter. This Mond kid is pretty good.

9:48 – Mond scrambles, throws it up for grabs in the end zone and an Aggie comes down with it. An offensive explosion has broken out at Kyle Field. It is now 28-20. That under looks done. Let’s see what it was. The O/U was 50.5. One would think it will go over now, but we also assumed the under was a guarantee 45 minutes ago.

9:42 – Dirty move there by Wilkins. Picking up the QB and trying to put your 300 lbs into him while plowing him in the ground is not acceptable. He will get his.

9:33 – Clemson answers with an Etienne TD. Remember the under I was talking about? That is why you do not bet on sports ladies and gentlemen. It is now 28-13 Tigers.

9:31 – Renfro gets another 1st down inside the 20 for Clemson. It seems like he has been there for a decade.

9:25 – Huge play with Mond back in. That said, you have to find a way to get in the end zone there if you are Buckley. Watch, Clemson will now “buckle” down and hold Texas A&M out of the end zone. I was wrong, they get a TD pass from Mond. Huge series. Do not go for two here. Do not! Ok, good. Kicked the PAT and it is now 21-13.

9:21 – A word for the best orthodontist in Pensacola, Florida, Dr. Clay Sims.

9:20 – And just that fast, the Tigers score. It is now 21-6 Clemson.

9:17 – Unreal. The Aggies backup QB comes in, stumbles, and throws a pick to a defense lineman. Just a horrendous play. As predict, Kelly Bryant is back in the game. He immediately connects with Higgins on a long pass.

9:14 – Mond, the A&M QB, uses his athleticism to get a big first down. He is now down and cramping up. The Aggies need him on the field in this second half.

9:13 – Is Florida State really losing to Samford 13-0? My how things have changed in Tallahassee.

9:12 – You may not know, Bryce Love and Dexter Lawrence played on the same high school football team – Wake Forest.

9:08 – A huge stop for the Aggies and they get the ball back after the second straight 3 and out for Trevor Lawrence and the Tigers. One would expect Dabo to put Bryant back in on the next drive.

9:02 – Another FG for the Aggies here. It goes through and the game is now 14-6. One would think the under is a guarantee but anything can happen when it comes to college football.

8:57 – Trevor Lawrence starts the 2nd half for the Tigers at QB. The Aggies really need to stop Clemson here. Trimming the lead early in the 3rd quarter is imperative if they want to compete late in this game. As I type that, 3 and out. huge stop. Aggies getting the ball.

8:35 – Texas A&M punter bombs a 74 yarder to make certain Clemson doesn’t try to get points at the end of the half. We go into the locker rooms at 14-3 Clemson. A&M needs to win the first half of the 3rd quarter. I am certain Jimbo knows this.

8:29 – Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence come in for the heavy package. Bryant fumbles and the Aggies will get the ball back down 14-3.

8:27 – Etienne is running much more physical this year. The Aggies are having trouble tackling him. If the Tigers can score here, they will go up 21-3 right before halftime. A&M needs a stop here.

8:26 – Sorry about that. Had to go grab some Thai Milk Tea and some Thai Popcorn Chicken. Back to the game.

7:51 – And there it is. 64 yard touchdown pass on his first play at Kyle Field. 14-3 Tigers.

7:50 – Trevor Lawrence comes out in the third series. Best freshman QB in the nation. Let’s see how good this kid is.

7:49 – A terrible series by the Aggies. They lose 10 yards and have to punt. They need to get some positive momentum here. A Clemson touchdown could take the air out of Kyle Field.

7:45 – End of the 1st quarter with the Tigers up 7-3. A word from our sponsors – Orthodontics Practice in Raleigh, NC Gladwell Orthodontics.

7:39 – Another 3rd and long picked up. A few missed tackles by A&M let Clemson get inside the 5. Likely a Clemson touchdown here. And there it is. Bryant runs it in on a read option. 7-3 Clemson.

7:37 – Huge pass play on third and long. 64 yard pass. Clemson is in the red zone.

7:35 – The 12th man is actually affecting the Clemson offense. Delay of game to start their second drive.

7:30 – Aggies march down the field again but have to settle for another field goal. Clemson is bending but not breaking on defense. Aggies are up 3-0.

7:18 – 3 and out for the Tigers with the Aggies getting a sack on 3rd down. Didn’t see that coming.

7:14 – The announcer jinx. Rece mentions the A&M kicker was 14-14 inside of 40 last year. He pushes this one right and the game remains tied 0-0.

7:11 – The A&M quarterback, Mond, is looking good early. Aggies inside the red zone on their first drive. Rain will be an issue as footing has been dodgy already.

7:08 – A&M running the ball early on this “amazing” Clemson front 4. Not sure if this can continue.

7:03 – Time for a word from our sponsors – River Run Dental of Richmond, Virginia.

7:02 – If you have never been to Kyle Field for a football game, go yesterday. It is an amazing experience; even if the Aggies are not playing well. The three decks of students are surreal.

7:01 – Rece Davis and Kirk Herbstreit will be calling this one. The good ole days of Thursday Night Football past.

7:00 – The final line was Clemson -12.5.

6:58 – Waiting for Sling to update so I can start watching the pregame show on ESPN. By the way, UNC got destroyed by ECU. They are down 41-19 late in the 4th quarter. The same ECU that lost to NC A&T last week. Ummm, yeah.

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Clemson North

“The Cleveland Browns have traded the fourth pick to the Buffalo Bills. With the fourth pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills select Sammy Watkins, wide receiver, Clemson.”

The Bills gave up their 2015 first and fourth round draft picks for that trade, talk about a bold move. General Manager Doug Whaley told Sammy they were going to draft him and clearly, he meant it. The Bills had the 9th pick, but waiting their turn was not an option if they were going to get their number one choice. This trade was more than just getting Sammy Watkins; it was a statement to the NFL and Bills fans everywhere. The Bills are going to make it to the playoffs this season.  Or bust. Let’s hope it’s not the latter.

From a Clemson standpoint, I love this pick. I was fortunate enough to watch CJ Spiller run over defenses as a Clemson Tiger for one season before he was drafted 9th overall by the Bills in 2010. I watched Sammy Watkins glide his way through secondary defenses countless times on his way to the end zone in that Tiger uniform and I am thrilled to see Spiller and Watkins as teammates next season.

“Clemson North” is what they are calling it, as the Bills now have five former Clemson Tigers on their roster. Running back, CJ Spiller, offensive linemen, Chris Hairston and Antoine McClain, safety, Jonathan Meeks, and now wide receiver, Sammy Watkins.

Sammy Watkins is a player so outstanding that he makes others around him better. To get EJ Manuel healthy and prepped for the 2014 season, there is no doubt Sammy is going to shine. He is on his way to scoring touchdowns on Sundays and I can’t wait to watch. He has been compared to Detroit Lions wide receiver, Calvin Johnson, but next fall Sammy Watkins will begin his professional legacy and players to come will be compared to him.

To all Bills fans out there, rejoice. Clemson Nation gives you Sammy Watkins and we only hope you grow to love him as much as we did (and still do).

The fun is not over for the Clemson faithful. Still left to be drafted are QB Tajh Boyd, WR Martavis Bryant, CB Brashad Breeland, and OL Brandon Thomas.

You can catch night two of the 2014 NFL Draft tonight on ESPN.

The Tigers Aren’t Finished Yet

Picked to finish 14th in the ACC, Coach Brad Brownell’s Clemson Tigers surprised everyone when they ended the regular season 6th in the conference. Not to mention a season long, star performance by junior forward, K.J. McDaniels who was voted an ACC first team All-American and defensive player of the year.

The Tigers take on Georgia State in Littlejohn Coliseum tonight at 9pm on ESPNU in the first round of the NIT, a postseason honor not all ACC schools can boast about. The ACC is one of the toughest basketball conferences in the nation and you must give credit where credit is due to Brad Brownell. He took the underdogs and made them into competitors that demanded to be taken seriously.

With a heartbreaking overtime loss to Pitt at the end of the regular season, Clemson started the ACC Tournament right with a thrilling overtime win against Georgia Tech, just to be fortunate enough to move on to play Duke in the quarterfinals. What at one point looked like it would be a Blue Devils blowout, the Tigers fought back to bring the game back to within a few points, only to lose by 1 on a controversial call that sent Duke to the next round.

While Clemson won’t be entering “The Big Dance” this March Madness season, they do have a lot to be proud of. Players like Landry Nnoko, Demarcus Harrison, and Jaron Blossomgame improved to become vital assets to the team. Consistent players like K.J. McDaniels and Rod Hall gave another tremendous effort to show that at least one school in South Carolina knows how to play basketball.

This young team should be coming back in full force next season, but might be one short. K.J. McDaniels, while only a junior, is likely to enter the NBA Draft after this season concludes. While I can’t say I blame him, I do hope he’ll consider finishing out his career as a Clemson Tiger and seeing how far he can lead this team next season.

If you haven’t had the chance to watch the Tigers play this season, catch them on ESPNU tonight at 9pm in the first round of the NIT!

clemson

The Streak Prevails

Clemson Men’s Basketball starts the week after an ugly loss to UNC last night, improving their record to 57-0. That record of course being the Tarheels have won 57 times against the Tigers while in the Dean Dome, the Tigers never seeing a victory.

UNC is off to a slow start in ACC play but now improves to 12-7 overall and 2-4 in the ACC. Clemson started off hot, being 4-1 in the conference just last week, now drops to 13-6, 4-3 after two consecutive losses to Pitt and Carolina. The Tigers have a tough conference schedule coming up, facing FSU, Syracuse, and Notre Dame on the road.

To note any highlights from last night’s game from a Clemson standpoint, would be a disservice to our readers. The Tigers played flat on defense and hesitant on offense. Seeing it first hand in the Dean Dome was taxing. Stops on defense were rare and the Tigers shot 34% from the field. That’s 18 field goals made out of 53 attempts. It was not a great night for the Tiger offense, to say the least.

Leading scorer, KJ McDaniels, came up with 13 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. He was the game leader across the board for the Tigers. McDaniels has proven to be an offensive leader this season, but he can’t do it on his own. Adonis Filer came up with 12 points of his own, as did Landry Nnoko. Nnoko is improving but between him and Sidy Djitte at center, too many passes slipped through their hands down low in the paint for would be easy points.

To end on a high note, the Tigers finished the night 19-25 at the line, giving them a 76% free throw percentage for the night.

Clemson at UNC

This Clemson team is young, consisting of four freshman, four sophomores, and five juniors to make up the Tiger squad. Playing on the road, especially in Chapel Hill, is tough and the Tigers have their work cut out for them in the coming weeks.

In other Clemson news, a non-basketball related highlight of the evening was having Clemson football coach, Dabo Swinney, in the Dean Dome last night. Sitting a few rows behind the Clemson bench, the dynamite coach just signed a new 8-year contract with Clemson, keeping him a Tiger through the 2021 season. At halftime, Clemson fans throughout the dome stopped by to take pictures with the Orange Bowl Champion, including yours truly. It’s a check off my bucket list and as much as it pains me to say, I guess I have Chapel Hill to thank for that.

Clemson takes on Florida State this Saturday in Tallahassee. Catch the ACC matchup at 3pm on ESPN2.

Highlights of the 2014 BCS Discover Orange Bowl

 

1.       Winning the 2014 BCS Orange Bowl—Awwwww yeah! It literally came down to the last minute when Ohio State was down 40-35 with the ball at the 50 yard line. Braxton Miller threw a beautiful interception, caught by Clemson’s own Stephone Anthony. This sealed the deal for the Tigers and bonus points: Urban Meyer didn’t react by punching Anthony in the throat.

2.       Tajh Boyd—In his final game as a Clemson Tiger, Tajh went out with a bang. As Dabo Swinney said, “He put an exclamation point on his legacy.” Tajh finished the game with five touchdowns and 505 all-purpose yards, 78 more yards than the Ohio State Buckeyes. We’re really going to miss his leadership and I can’t wait to see him play on Sunday’s.

3.       Dabo Swinney—You could probably make a highlight reel of just Dabo after the game, he was animated to say the least. Personally, his best moment was this magnificent sound bite, “we are the first team from the state of South Carolina to ever win a BCS game”. Ah yes, not only did we get the sweet victory but getting to rub it in Steve Spurrier’s face doesn’t hurt either. For whatever reason, if any Gamecocks are reading this, I say, suck it up. Spurrier is no angel in this fight. You’re mad because Dabo’s comment was the truth and it was said on a bigger national stage. You know, seeing as it was the stage of a BCS Bowl. BOOM, roasted.*

4. Sammy Watkins—Saving the best for last. Sammy set an Orange Bowl record with 16 receptions and a Clemson and Orange Bowl record with 227 receiving yards. He was unbelievable. With an average of 14.2 yards per catch, he was Tajh Boyd’s go to receiver and his talent is going to be greatly missed. As a true junior, Sammy has declared for the NFL Draft. While we’ll miss his lightning speed and magnetic hands, he’ll represent Clemson well in the NFL next season.

Honorable Mentions:

  • The Clemson Defense—While the score might reflect a shootout, it was truly entertaining watching the Tigers contain Ohio State QB, Braxton Miller, to a mere 35 yards rushing. They completely shut him down on the ground. With 18 carries, he rushed an average 1.9 yards per carry, his lowest of the season.
  • Santa Claus—if you read my last article, the only thing on my Christmas list was a Clemson win. Ole’ Saint Nick pulled through. Thanks big guy.
  • The Referee’s—One song comes to mind when trying to describe the officiating from Friday night, “these boys can’t hold us back, these boys can’t hold us back, we too deep (ay, ay)”. The anthem of a generation Clemson Football. Good try ref’s, you’ll need some more flags to stop this excessive celebration.

Check out the video here:

 

 

*Let the record show I have a much deeper opinion on this matter but for lack of reader attention span will not disclose it here.

A Letter To Santa

Dear Santa,

As much as it pains me to say, please disregard my previous letter asking for $1,000,000 and Luke Kuechly to be my boyfriend; instead I’d like to make a more selfless request.

This Christmas, I’d like it if you and your elves could conjure up a Clemson win this post season. It would really mean a lot to me, my family, and the rest of the Clemson faithful. I’m sure you’ve gotten plenty of letters from Buckeye fans, Gamecock fans, and Jesse Palmer, asking for a Clemson loss, but I really hope you’ll consider my request. Here are some cold hard facts as to why you should give me what I want grant my wish:

1. I’ve been good this year—I graduated and became a proud Clemson alumni, joined IPTAY to show my support for Clemson athletes, and I continue to pay my student loans on time (Joy to the World!)

2. It’s Tajh Boyd’s last game—Tajh has been a true blessing to the Clemson program and I’d really hate to see him go out on a sour note. Breaking all kinds of ACC and school records, he will go down as one of, if not the best quarterback in Clemson history. This win could be the cherry on top to an already outstanding career.

3. You look really good in Orange—Look! Seriously, you’re killin’ it.

Clemson Santa

4.  Last time Clemson played Ohio State we didn’t punch anyone—this is a no brainer. Last time we played the Buckeyes it was 1978. Their coach literally grabbed Clemson middle linebacker, Charlie Bauman, and punched him through the facemask after he caught an interception. Shouldn’t they be punished? 36 years later. Sure the coach was fired, but I still feel like the whole team hasn’t fully felt those repercussions.

5.  Finally, Clemson doesn’t just need this win, the entire ACC needs it—please consider this selfless request not only on the behalf of my Clemson Tigers, but on the rest of the ACC as well. Try as we might to become a strong football conference, it just hasn’t happened yet. With a Clemson win, you’d be showing the nation that the ACC can produce teams that win…even without that SEC speed.

Merry Christmas and I’ll be looking for you on Santa tracker.

Sincerely,

Mary Stewart Bailey

P.S. If you’re feeling extra jolly, I won’t turn away a million dollar stocking stuffer.

ORANGE You Glad We’re Not Playing Alabama

As this college football season comes to a close, so does the Bowl Championship Series (thank goodness, bring on the playoffs). In the final season of BCS bowl games, the Clemson Tigers will make the trek down to Miami to play in the Discover Orange Bowl, their second trip in three years.  The Tigers are looking to prove the naysayer’s wrong with a win against the Ohio State Buckeyes on January 3, 2014. The theme of this year’s Orange Bowl is one of redemption.

Read more…

Clemson Fans, Be Thankful

Thanksgiving is almost here and most people are busy thinking about the massive amounts of turkey they will be eating come Thursday. Clemson fans on the other hand, have one thing on the mind. Chicken. Garnet and Black chicken. Every year with Thanksgiving comes the Clemson Tigers vs. South Carolina Gamecocks* rivalry game, and every year, we are thankful.

Read more…

Clemson and FSU will set Reputation of ACC for 2013

I can hear the comments now from the four letter network’s talking heads: “The ACC loses more BCS conference match ups….”  The presumption is that the ACC is a weak football conference if they lose lopsided match ups like unranked Virginia Tech vs. #1 Alabama.  I’m not convinced.  Conferences should not be judged by the performance of middle or bottom tier teams.  Would an Illinois victory over Kentucky indicate that the Big 10 is a better conference than the SEC?  No way.

The biggest game this weekend for the ACC is Clemson vs. Georgia.  As a matter of fact, it is the only game that really matters on the national front.

A Clemson victory would likely catapult them into the Top 5, put them in the national title conversation, and set up a nationally relevant game against Florida State on October 18th.  Florida State, the other ranked ACC team, has it’s own responsibility for carrying the ACC flag.  The Noles need to win their games against inferior competition and continue their presence near the Top 10 for a majority of the season.

How many years has it been since an ACC football team has been in the national title conversation in November?  It’s up to you Clemson and Florida State to buck the trend.

Non-Conference Schedule

How many non-conference ranked opponents will be played by conferences this year?

ACC:  11

Big 12: 2

Big 10: 4

Pac 12:  8

SEC:  who cares

Winston Debut

As Florida State finishes up preparations for the Pittsburgh Panthers, most fans are eagerly anticipating the debut of freshman QB Jameis Winston.  Winston has generated a significant amount of hype since his MVP winning Elite 11 camp in 2011.  The hype reached epic proportions after Winston’s spring game performance highlighted by a 58 yd strike against All-ACC conference corner Lamarcus Joyner.

Signing Day, One Week Away… Predictions

We’re getting so close to “the big day”. If you’re a true college football fan, you know exactly what I’m talking about. That’s right, the day your team signs its new recruiting class and fills team needs is approaching. Most of these high school signees, recruits, or soon to be local campus celebrities (whatever you want to call them) will represent your school on and off the football field for the next several years, so pay attention. As we head into next Wednesday, February 6th, also known to many as National Signing Day, we’ll peak at an early prediction to see how the current ACC’s top classes should stack up. Loads of blue-chip recruits are making final decisions next Wednesday. Let’s shake the magic eight ball and see what happens…

2013 ACC Recruiting Class Predictions:

1. Clemson (Currently 18 verbals, should make major noise on NSD. 3 of the top 5 recruiting battles left include the Tigers. Still in the running for blue chippers in DT Adams, DE Lawson, OT Crowder, and CB Alexander. Dabo has aces in the hole as usual; I’m calling it a top 10 class when the smoke clears. The Tigers like it near the top, may stay for a while with this class.)

2. Florida State (Currently 18 verbals, with stellar recruits on the line. While the Noles had a few recruits part ways over the last few days, they should easily make up ground with blue chip OLB Thomas, WR Cunningham, and possibly DT Bryant among others. Jimbo will make it happen once again, bank on a top 10 class.)

3. Miami (Currently 13 verbals, also in the running with many studs. While the class is currently small, they pack a nasty punch. Still in it until the end for OLB Thomas, DT Bryant, RB Collins, and WR Coley all from the South FL football hotbed. Despite rough times with the NCAA, they’re making it happen. We’ll call it a U top 20-15 class)

4. North Carolina (Currently 18 verbals, looking to throw more on the pile. While most of their guys are already locked in, the biggest battle will be against Tennessee for WR North. North stays close to home, and UNC lands the big fish. They also have a shot at TE McNeil and ATH Summers to name a few. We’ll see Tarheel blue in the top 25 next Wed.)

5. Virginia Tech (Currently 22 verbals, already almost close to a full signing class before the fax flood gates open up. All of the current commits are 3 and 4 stars. Still heavy favorites for ATH Parker and possibly DE Bellamy. The Hokies will be on the cusp of reeling in a top 25 class).

Best of the rest:

6. Pitt
7. UVA
8. NC State
9. Syracuse
10. GT
11. Wake
12. Maryland
13. BC
14. Duke

If your personal rankings stack up a little different, leave a comment below and tell us why.

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