I don't even want to analyze this game. Did anything really happen that we didn't expect to happen? Clemson's offense was far too fast and too talented for our defense to shut down. Mind you, they did an admirable job for a while.
The offense was decent early on, but later on completely floundered, putting together 5 three-and-outs in the second half alone. This has been a running theme, the Hoos offense is OK early on, but fails to make any adjustments to opposing defenses and can't move the ball later in the game.
David Watford was terrible. As much as he showed improvement last week, he was right back to where he was in September this week. He missed receivers, he was late on throws and he made poor decisions. He completed just 45% of his passes for 3.7 ypa. That is an atrocious number. But, frankly, not nearly as atrocious as the 8.1 yards per completions. That is lower than Watford's worst-in-the-nation 8.9 ypc on the season.
It is pretty clear right now that Watford is not a DI caliber QB. At least not right now. And yet, that is not the biggest problem with this offense. The biggest problem with this offense is Steve Fairchild. Even when Watford is good, it's not good enough. Watford's best attributes are his speed and his arm strength. And we use neither of those attributes.
Until that changes, there isn't even anything else worth analyzing.
- On the opening drive of the 2nd half, the Hoos faced 2nd and 21 and picked up 9 yards. Clemson was called for offside, which would've given the Hoos a 2nd and 16. Instead, Mike London chose to decline the penalty and take the 3rd and 12. Never mind that a false start by Morgan Moses made it 3rd and 17 anyway.Somebody please explain this to me because I don't get it. Maybe London should keep a calculator on the sideline with him. If you take the penalty and run the exact same play and pick up 9 yards, you are now more than half-way towards reaching the first down (3rd and 7 in my hypothetical situation). It makes no sense. This wasn't a difficult decision. In fact, it's a no-brainer. And London got it wrong.
- Somehow Anthony Harris has 6 INTs on the season and just 10 return yards. And those 10 yards came in the BYU game on his game changing INT, before he pitched the ball to Henry Coley. Coley gained another 23 yards. Those 33 yards are the grand total of return yards by the Hoos on takeaways. The Hoos have forced 16 TOs and gained yards on just 1 of them. How is that even possible?
- Dominique Terrell was struggling on punt returns, so he was replaced by Tim Smith. Smith hasn't been any better. Terrell at least looked dangerous when he got the ball in his hands. Smith struggles with catching the ball, struggled with decision making, and yet doesn't look dangerous. At least Terrell will be here next year. Get him back there. Or give Smoke a chance.
- Early in the season, the Hoos defense was playing well. Then, for a while at least, the offense was picking up steam. The special teams have been up and down. Looking at the national rankings, there isn't a single unit on this team that is any good. Total defense (79th), total offense (91st), KO returns (108th), punt returns (70th), KO coverage (83rd), punt coverage (39th). Alec Vozenilek is the MVP of this team, and it isn't close. And that is sad.
- When you play defense as aggressively as the Hoos play, you're going to generate big plays. The problem is, you don't know whether the big play is going to come in your favor or your opponents' favor. Case in point: The Hoos are 6th in the nation in time of possession, and yet have lost 6 in a row. That is tough to do. The Hoos are the only team in the top 10 under .500, and only Mississippi State is close. The Bulldogs have one of the top defenses in the nation, and have 4 losses to ranked teams. The Hoos, on the other hand, are simply allowing teams to score far too quickly. This is Jon Tenuta's defense.
- I'm just disgusted with this team. Thankfully, I'll be in The Bahamas next Saturday, so I won't even be tempted to watch us play UNC.