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Five takeaways from Clemson’s win over CSU

It was a tale of two halves for Dabo Swinney and the Clemson football program as the Tigers took down Charleston Southern 66-17 Saturday in Death Valley. 

It was a poor first half for the Tigers, looking like a lot rolled over from their poor showing in the Week 1 loss to Duke. Heading into the half with a 24-17 lead, Swinney’s squad came out red hot in the third quarter. 

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Scoring 28 points in the third quarter and another 14 in the fourth, Clemson looked like a completely different team in the second half. It was a great sign, and while we know there is still a lot to improve on, a response like that in the second half is what the team needed. 

With a win or a loss come five takeaways. Here are five takeaways from Clemson’s bounce-back win over Charleston Southern.

Mistakes and miscues still cost the Tigers, but this team has a high ceiling with cleaned-up play

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I get it. Clemson should have had no problems in this matchup, and the first half was not a fun experience like the Duke game. But let’s reflect on this performance and talk about how good this team can be. There was definitely some rollover from their performance at Duke into this first half, but the recovery we saw was excellent. They came out the gates hot and hungry in the second half, and I loved seeing that because there was no telling how that squad felt mentally heading into the locker room. These mistakes need to be cleaned up, but when they are, such as in the second half, you can see this team’s talent and the ceiling they posses. Garrett Riley seems to be settling in with the Tigers.

Cade Klubnik flashed but still needs to mature under center

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Watching Klubnik so far this season has been a rollercoaster. Still, like the team, Klubnik flashed his high ceiling against the Buccaneers. The mistakes were, well, bad. The 67-yard pick-six Klubnik threw was about as unnecessary as they come, but you have to love the energy this young quarterback plays with. The offense was moving nearly the entire game, and even with the bad turnovers, Klubnik willed his team to a solid win. There will be growing pains here and we’ve already seen them appear this season, but the Tigers’ starting quarterback looks like he’s only going to get better as the year goes on.

Clemson’s defense put together an excellent game from start to finish

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The Clemson defense allowed ten points, and if you take away that bad fumble on 4th and 1 on the Clemson 29, they likely would have only allowed three points. Heading into a matchup against Charleston Southern, this defense was expected to dominate, and they did just that. They allowed 61 passing yards and 12 rushing yards, limiting the Buccaneers offense to just 73 total yards. You can’t really ask for much more from your defense, can you? Wes Goodwin and the Clemson defense did their part.

Will Shipley’s usage is still confusing and frustrating

©Ken Ruinard / staff | 2023 Aug 31

Sure, Clemson won 66-17, and the offense had no trouble moving the ball downfield. Even so, I’m getting somewhat tired of watching the lack of touches the best player on the Tigers’ offense has been getting. I get it; when you have a Lamborghini, you don’t take it out of the garage all of the time, but 12 touches? After a loss where it felt like Shipley could have taken over the game, seeing the star running back get such little touches was incredibly underwhelming. He deserves more work like other star running backs around the country get. I’m not sure if this is a Riley or Swinney thing, but it needs to change.

Swinney and the Tigers can’t afford more poor starts to games

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The Tigers recovered in the second half of this one, but things won’t be as easy for the rest of the season. Clemson, especially the offense, cannot afford many more slow starts to games, or else they will find themselves in bad situations more often than not. You don’t want to look ahead, but Florida State is just two weeks away. If you have turnovers like they did against Charleston Southern in the first half, you are setting yourself up for failure. This has got to be the turning point for this team.

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