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Analysis: Cheez-It Bowl halftime thoughts

Don Montague, Florida Citrus Sports

Iowa State won the coin toss and chose to defer to the second half, giving Clemson the ball to start the game.

At halftime of the Cheez-It Bowl, Clemson leads Iowa State 6-3. Clemson’s offense has been able to move the ball on the Cyclones, but like other games this season, drives have stalled.
Clemson’s offense had a third and goal on Iowa State’s seven-yard line on the Tigers’ opening drive, but a Hunter Rayburn false start penalty backed them up five yards. Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei rushed for five yards the next play, and the offense was forced to take a field goal.
Rayburn’s penalty embodies Clemson’s struggles on offense this season. The Tigers can move the ball, but fundamental mistakes have cost them points.
The Tigers’ offense ran 44 plays in the first half, but with only six points to show for it, the execution will need to be more precise in the second half.
Defensively, Clemson has been able to contain the Cyclones’ offense and has held them to 153 total yards and 3-7 on third downs. 
The defense has given up a few big plays, one of which was a 34-yard completion down the right sideline from Cyclones’ quarterback Brock Purdy to Xavier Hutchinson.
New defensive coordinator Wes Goodwin will need to prevent more of those big plays from happening, but only giving up three points should be looked at as a victory.
Iowa State will, however, receive the second-half kickoff.
Clemson has played in more close games this season than in recent years, and it appears the Cheez-It Bowl could come down to the wire. Check out The Tiger’s live feed to stay updated.

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