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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Clemson Tigers edition

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Miami wanted to see if they were ready for primetime. They were not.

NCAA Football: Miami at Clemson Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Miami traveled to Clemson, SC to test themselves against the best.

The Canes failed that test and dropped their first game of the season, falling 42-17 to the #1 Clemson Tigers.

Losing sucks, but we’re here, week in and week out. So we’re not running, we’re here to figure out what happened. So, let’s start by digging into The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly after the first loss of the season.

The Good

  • With Miami’s offense STRUGGLING, QB D’Eriq King rushes for 56 yards to give Miami some life.
  • Up 21-3 with seconds left in the first half, Clemson lined up to try a 61 yard FG. That went poorly for them, but great for Miami! DT Jared Harrison-Hunte blocked the kick, CB DJ Ivey recovered it and ran it back 48 yards for a touchdown, making the score 21-10 at half.
  • Speaking of blocking FGs, Miami tied an FBS record by blocking 3 Clemson FG attempts today. The only other time that’s happened: South Alabama at FAU in 2012.
  • An effort play by Jaelan Phillips to chase down Trevor Lawrence, and Bubba Bolden bolstering his case for All-American honors by forcing a fumble, which game Miami the ball on the Clemson 40.
  • True Freshman WR Keyshawn Smith came in the game in the 4th quarter and had his first catch: a 42 yard bomb on a flea flicker.
  • S Bubba Bolden. He continues to add pages of narrative to his All-American campaign. 10 tackles, 1 forced fumble, and 2 blocked field goals. He was one of precious few bright spots for Miami tonight.
  • Striker Gilbert Frierson. 6 tackles, 3 TFLs, a PBU, and a fumble recovery. VERY nice game by Gil.
  • P Louis Hedley. He got more work than he’d probably like, but 7 punts with a 46.4 yard average is good.
  • 8 TFLs
  • 1 sack
  • 7 chunk plays — 3 passes (15+), 4 runs (10+)
  • Held Clemson to 3-6 red zone scoring. The Tigers had been perfect in the red zone heading into today’s game.

The Bad

  • Losing. It sucks. Period. I don’t care that we lost to the best team in the country. I HATE losing with every fiber of my being. Absolutely abhor it.
  • On the first drive of the game, Miami got a stop on 4th and 4 with an ingenious zone-blitz pressure that cause an incompletion. It was negated, however, because DE Quincy Roche lined up offsides before having the drive-ending PBU. Instead of getting off the field, Miami’s defense stayed out there, and saw Clemson score their first TD 2 plays later. SMH.
  • TE Brevin Jordan left the game with a shoulder injury.
  • 15 chunk plays — 7 passes (15+), 8 runs (10+)
  • It’s nitpicking, but Al Blades Jr. diagnosed a quick screen, jumped the route, and had nothing but green grass in front of him.....and dropped the sure-fire pick-6. The game was in hand by this point of the 4th quarter, but that’s a play that should have been made.
  • All the paper cuts. Miami got Clemson into 3rd and medium/long all night. And Clemson converted time after time.
  • Allowed 88 plays at 6.2 yards per play. Not a HUGE average but the cumulative effects......yikes.
  • Ran 34 fewer plays than Clemson.
  • Downfield passes consistently underthrown. There were plays to be made down the field, but the throws didn’t allow that.
  • Drops. Yeah, those were there tonight as well.
  • ZERO separation by the WRs. Clemson dared Miami to beat them down the field, and the Canes couldn’t do it.

The Ugly

  • Lack of discipline in general. Pick your evidence. There’s plenty of it.
  • Penalties. 15 penalties for 135 yards. Worst penalty game of the year BY FAR. Disgusting.
  • QB D’Eriq King. 12-28 passing for 121 yards, no TDs and 2 INTs passing. 14 carries for 84 yards and TD rushing. There were missed run reads. Missed throws. And the turnovers were killer. Gotta be honest in good times and bad. That wasn’t near the kind of performance we need to see from QB1.
  • The Offensive Line. Clemson’s defensive front isn’t as loaded with current-year NFL draft picks this year as they’ve been in the past, but you wouldn’t know it from watching the way they DOMINATED Miami’s OL. 11 TFLs and 5 sacks and plenty more pressures. Great for them. Ugly for us.
  • Miami’s trio of running backs — Cam’Ron Harris, Donald Chaney Jr., and Jaylan Knighton — ran for 11 yards on 10 carries. COMBINED.
  • A BULLSHIT targeting penalty on Keontra Smith, for hitting Trevor Lawrence in the midsection. Clemson did similarly (worse actually) to King earlier in the game, but it went uncalled. Unacceptable.
  • 3 interceptions thrown — 2 by King, 1 by Perry.
  • 210 yards of offense.
  • 121 yards passing.
  • 89 yards rushing (of which, King had 84).
  • Allowed 550 yards of offense. And the balance — 292 passing, 258 rushing.
  • Allowed 34 (!!!!!!) first downs.
  • Allowed 8/17 on 3rd down and 1/1 on 4th down.
  • Converted 4/15 on 3rd down.
  • Only 3.9 yards per play
  • Allowed 38:31 time of possession for Clemson

Team Grades

Offense: F

It just wasn’t good enough. RBs had no room because Clemson blitzes LBs to crash to the run all day. The receivers didn’t get any separation and also dropped several catchable passes. The offensive line took SEVERAL steps back. As good as the other games had been, this was equally as bad.

Defense: D+

It wasn’t GREAT, but there were things to like. Got a turnovers. Limited their YPP. Stopped them in the red zone for the first time this year. But missed tackles, and all. the. conversions. were real problem areas. This was a crockpotting, where things took a while to boil over in Clemson’s favor.

Special Teams: A+

Made FG. 2 made PATs. Great punting. Tied an FBS record with 3 blocked FGs!!!! Solid coverage. Even with the....mishaps on punt return, this was still yeoman’s work from the specials.

Coaching: F

Failed this test badly. Head Coach is now 0-4 after bye weeks in his tenure here, and none of the games have been particularly close. Offense looked Enos-like. Defense was alright but not great. There was no discipline, as evidenced by the myriad penalties, several of which were after the whistle personal fouls. Not. Good. Enough.


Miami is good, but there’s LIGHTYEARS of distance between good and great. And that’s what we saw tonight.

That’s it for this installment of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Go Canes