Clemson had been playing with fire all year. They could have lost at Auburn. Troy could have beat them. Louisville was 3 yards shorting of beating Clemson. NC State should have beat them. Florida State had them on the ropes. Today the Tigers got beat by an opportunistic Pittsburgh team, that finally took full advantage of the flaws this Tiger team has.
Clemson’s linebackers are very mediocre in pass coverage and pursuit. Once the Panthers got the Clemson LBs going in the wrong direction, they were hopelessly out of position. Pitt did this with alot of mis-direction, and player movement.
The Tigers have been turnover prone all season, and Deshaun Watson has forced several passes this season into momentum shifting interceptions. There were 3 more today, and two when the Tigers were in the redzone.
Clemson has struggled all season running the ball. The Tigers could have iced the game in the 4th quarter when all they needed was 1 yard on 3rd and then 4th down. They could not do it. The Tigers rushed for 50 yards today, for an average of 2 yards per carry. Pittsburgh was excellent upfront stopping the Clemson run game.
The linebackers, the turnovers, and the inability to run the ball have been flaws all season the Tigers have managed to hide. Today Pittsburgh took advantage, and defeated Clemson 43-42. When the college football rankings are released Tuesday Pitt will have 2 top 10 wins – Clemson and Penn State. That’s impressive for the Panters.
For Clemson what do they do now? Well Clemson was very fortunate today. With Washington and Michigan going down also, the Tigers probably will not fall out of the 4 when the playoff rankings are released Tuesday. That’s great, but the Tigers have gaping holes that need to be solved if they want to make sure they make the playoffs.
Clemson is lucky they got a mulligan Saturday, but another loss will leave them out of the playoffs.