Sunday, September 02, 2012

New At Rivals: Clemson Postgame Column

Here's a preview of my column for on Auburn's opener against Clemson:
Stated bluntly, for the second year in a row Cousin Clem brought more to the fight. Taj Boyd is an outstanding player at quarterback: strong, fast, experienced and accurate. Clemson has a ton of team speed on offense, particularly including Andre Ellington, who's obviously something special at running back. A rebuilt Clemson defense had a lot of bend but very little break, holding Auburn to field goals on three trips to the red zone and closing with a ferocious shutdown of the new AU offense on its last few possessions.
Defensively, Auburn played respectable football for the first 45 minutes, but ran out of gas in the final period. Clemson converted nearly 50% of their third downs (which while still bad, was from Auburn's perspective an improvement on 2011's 78% conversion rate) and had the horses to put the game away after trailing early in the fourth quarter. The real killer was in the play totals: Clemson snapped the ball a remarkable 87 times to Auburn's 64, in a textbook example of how the hurry-up game can wear out an opponent through sheer repetitive attacks.
The rest is on the subscription side, but Rivals is offering a free first month to new subscribers coming over from FTB.

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