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Paws up, paws down: Clemson blows out Charleston Southern

Micahlyn Grist // Contributor
Clemson wide receiver Beaux Collins and quarterback Cade Klubnik celebrate after Collins gets into the end zone against Charleston Southern on Sept. 9, 2023.

The Clemson Tigers defeated the Charleston Southern Buccaneers in Death Valley by a score of 66-17 on Saturday, Sept. 9. Here are some takeaways from the game:

Paws up: Defense

Clemson’s defense looked resilient as ever against the Buccaneers, as it only allowed 74 total yards and four first downs. The Tigers also shut out Charleston Southern in the second half in the dominant win.

Clemson’s defense was unstoppable, with 10 tackles for loss and two sacks. The Tigers didn’t allow Charleston Southern many big plays on the ground either, holding the Buccaneers to 13 total rushing yards. Clemson linebacker Wade Woodaz also recorded a 35-yard pick-six in the third quarter.

Paws down: Early struggles

In the first half, Clemson looked similar to the team that lost to Duke just five days earlier. The Tigers couldn’t seem to get a comfortable lead early on against the Buccaneers, as they went into halftime up 24-17.

While the Tigers’ offense was able to put points on the board, it also made many costly mistakes. A bobbled snap by Cade Klubnik in the first quarter led to a fumble, recovered by Charleston Southern for 25 yards to the Clemson one-yard line. On the next drive, Klubnik threw a 67-yard pick-six, which gave the Buccaneers an early 14-7 lead in Death Valley.

Paws up: Second-half team

After a lackluster first half, Clemson came out of the tunnel firing on all cylinders, scoring a touchdown with 10:51 left in the third quarter. The Tigers then scored five more touchdowns in the half and ultimately outscored Charleston Southern 42-0 in the second half.

Jay Haynes, a freshman running back, scored the final two touchdowns of the game for Clemson with an eight-yard rushing touchdown and a six-yard receiving touchdown from graduate transfer quarterback Paul Tyson.

Paws up: The offense

Clemson’s offense rolled in the game, recording 679 total yards on the game, with 274 coming on the ground and 405 through the air. The Tigers also scored eight offensive touchdowns.

Although Klubnik had some early struggles, he and the entire quarterback room combined for an 80% completion rate and 405 passing yards, 315 yards of which came from Klubnik.

Meanwhile, the wide receiver group was led by Beaux Collins, who tallied 137 receiving yards and one touchdown. Antonio Williams also made his mark, catching five passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns.

The running game for Clemson didn’t disappoint either, as the Tigers had 10 rushers combine for 274 yards. This performance was headlined by Will Shipley’s 73-yard game and Phil Mafah’s 59 yards and two touchdowns.

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