Instant Analysis: Miami never stood a chance against top-ranked Clemson


by - Staff Writer -
Clemson's defense throttled Miami all night (Photo courtesy of ACC).
Clemson's defense throttled Miami all night (Photo courtesy of ACC).

CLEMSON – As the remnants of Hurricane Delta made for wet and sloppy conditions in Death Valley Saturday night, the Canes of Miami never stood a chance.

Top-ranked Clemson (4-0 overall, 3-0 ACC) took the opening kickoff right down the field and never looked back en route to a 42-17 win over No. 7 Miami (3-1, 2-1).

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: On a wet, sloppy field, Clemson turned to its superstar running back, Travis Etienne. Early in the game, the senior made the Canes pay catching the ball out of the backfield as on of Trevor Lawrence’s top targets, but once conditions began to deteriorate, Etienne’s ground game sparked the offense. Etienne finished the game with 17 carries for 149 yards and two touchdowns and added eight catches for 73 yards.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: There were so many outstanding players on defense Saturday night. Linebacker Baylon Spector will show up on the stat sheet with five tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Clemson’s secondary neutralized any passing game Miami thought they would have coming into the game Saturday night. In all, there were six pass breakups and Sheridan Jones and Derion Kendrick both had interceptions. Linebacker Kane Patterson added a pick of his own late in the fourth quarter. The player who won’t show up on the stat sheet but was a difference maker was defensive tackle Tyler Davis, who missed the last two games due to injury. Miami had run the ball well in its first three games but with Davis manning the middle of Clemson’s defensive line, there was no chance for the Canes’ backs up the middle.

STAT OF THE GAME: Miami finished the game with 15 penalties for 135 yards. The Canes only had 210 total yards of offense.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED:

*Tigers score on opening drive - Miami won the toss and deferred and the Tigers marched methodically down the field. Facing a 4th-and-4 at the Miami 38, the Tigers went for it and the ball appeared to be intercepted. However, the Canes were ruled offsides for a Tiger first down. Two plays later Lawrence rolled right and with the Miami defense following, threw back across the field to tight end Braden Galloway, who rumbled 25 yards for the score and a 7-0 Clemson lead.

*Field goal disaster - The Tigers pushed the ball past midfield and with just four seconds left on the clock, head coach Dabo Swinney sent Potter out to attempt a 61-yard field goal. The attempt was blocked and picked up by DJ Ivey, who returned it 48 yards for the touchdown. The extra point was good and Clemson led 21-10 at intermission.

*Jones' first pick - Miami punted on the first drive of the second half, but Lawrence fumbled the ball away on a third down scramble and the Canes took over at the Tiger 39. Miami picked up a first down on a King third-down scramble, but Sheridan Jones intercepted King in the end zone on the next play to give the ball back to the Tigers.

*Trevor’s statement – After Derion Kendrick’s interception, Trevor Lawrence put the nail in the coffin with his three-yard scoring run, putting the Tigers ahead 35-10 with 2:31 to play in the third quarter. Lawrence, knocked out for one play earlier in the drive, turned around and spiked the football at the feet of a Miami defender and drew an immediate flag.

UP NEXT: Clemson travels down I-85 to Atlanta for a high-noon matchup with Georgia Tech at Bobby Dodd Stadium. The Yellow Jackets defeated Louisville 46-27 Friday night.

Miami returns home to take on Pittsburgh, who fell 31-30 to Boston College in overtime.

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