It was another rainy Saturday in Clemson, S.C. There also was another wet, raucous celebration.
The week after speeding out to a 14-0 lead over Notre Dame on the way to a 24-22 victory, Clemson jumped all over Georgia Tech shortly after running down the hill and cruised to a 43-24 win. Clemson is now 5-0 on the season and looks like a more complete team than chief ACC Atlantic Division rival, Florida State.
College Football Podcast: Week 6 Recap
Here are my five thoughts on Clemson, who is now clearly established as a national championship contender.
1. The Tigers Were Ready to Play
After the emotional win against Notre Dame, Saturday was a prime letdown situation. Georgia Tech was not playing well but was more than capable of exploding and Clemson fans had been celebrating the ND victory all week. But right off, Clemson was ready to go. Clemsoning be darned, the Tigers showed that they will be a handful for anyone, anytime.
2. Stopping the Georgia Tech Running Game
To clarify, the Tigers did not slow down the Georgia Tech option. They stuffed it. The Yellow Jackets' 71 yards rushing were the lowest total for a Paul Johnson-coached Geaorgia Tech team. And the entire defense pitched in. Ben Boulware led the way with nine tackles and fellow linebacker Dorian O’Daniel had seven stops with three resulting in lost yardage. Linemen Shaq Lawson and Kevin Dodd each got to Tech quarterback Justin Thomas when the Jackets tried to throw. Finally, safety play is key in defending the option and Jayron Kearse had another strong game for the Tigers.
3. Deshaun Watson
The sophomore signal-caller was not as effective running the ball as he had been against Louisville and Notre Dame. But he had a much better day throwing the ball. No. 4 was 20-of-31 for 265 yards with a couple of scores. The one interception was not a good throw, but the rest of his day was outstanding. Plus, he was instrumental in...
4. Getting More Receivers Involved
In preseason camp there were rave reviews on freshman wide receiver Deon Cain. When Mike Williams was injured, the hope was that Cain would slide into that spot. Cain had been solid early in the season, but on Saturday he busted out with five catches for 96 yards. Tight end Jordan Leggett doubled his touchdown total when he caught two scoring passes against the Jackets. Eight different players hauled in passes on Saturday, easing the pressure on star Artavis Scott.
5. The Offensive Line Keeps Getting Better
Part of Watson’s success came from the protection allowed by the offensive line. In the running game, the big guys opened up room for 201 yards rushing; 115 of which belonged to Wayne Gallman. The same group that had troubles with Louisville has had two solid showings in a row. There will be an even bigger test next week when Boston College – who is No. 1 in passing, rushing, and total defense – comes to Death Valley.
— Written by Jon Kinne, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a college football fanatic. Kinne has been writing about recruiting for the Irish Sports Daily for 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.