10 September, 2017
Stidham, a highly-publicized transfer from Baylor brought in to revitalize one of the nation's worst pass offenses from a year ago, finished just 13 of 24 for 79 yards and was sacked 11 times by a dominating Clemson defensive front.
Any chance Auburn had to win the game probably went out the window in the first half. "What a tough, gritty game".
CLEMSON, S.C. - All preseason, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney told Kelly Bryant that the best version of Bryant would be good enough this season for the Tigers. "We felt like they were going to do a lot of blitzing, which they did".
Kelly Bryant: That 27-yard keeper early in the second half for a touchdown was - dare we say it - a bit Deshaun Watson-like from Clemson's new starting quarterback.
Bryant shrugged off a hard hit that knocked him out of the game for a series midway through the second quarter and guided Clemson 88 yards for the go-ahead score with 48 seconds left in the half, capping the 12-play drive by darting up the middle for a 3-yard touchdown.
"We're hungry", Renfrow said. "The last drive before the half was a thing of beauty". "They kept us in the game".
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Aside from Kam Pettway's 79 yards rushing, Auburn's running game was virtually nonexistent as he was the only Auburn player in double-digits rushing. CB Carlton Davis led Auburn with 11 tackles and also broke up two passes. Auburn settled for another Carlson field goal, this time from 28 yards out, after driving to the Clemson 6.
Auburn jumped out to a six-point lead, thanks to some Clemson penalties, a timid Tiger offense, and a turnover, but then was shut down the rest of the night.
Austin Bryant finished with four sacks. Auburn's 14-6 deficit certainly felt larger after the Tigers sacked Stidham on back-to-back dropbacks to force a three-and-out.
Bryant's playmaking ability with his feet opened up the passing game for Clemson, though not a strong one, as Byrant completed 19 of 29 passes for 181 yards. While Clemson outgained Auburn in yardage, Auburn continuously had an advantage in time of possession. The deep and talented Clemson defense spread the wealth, living in Auburn's backfield all night.
That Clemson defense has a big challenge Saturday, facing Lamar Jackson, Louisville's Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback.