Like several other top 10 teams, the Clemson Tigers had no trouble this week with their foes. In this case, the Tigers rolled out to a 35-7 lead on the Virginia Cavaliers by halftime, and they were so thoroughly in control that quarterback Tajh Boyd didn't have to play much over the final two quarters.
Boyd was fantastic on the afternoon, piliing up 377 yards passing while completing 24-of-29 attempts. He has now accounted for 116 touchdowns in his career, which is an ACC record. Clemson's defense was also solid, limiting Virginia to 277 total yards and just 13 first downs.
Clemson's defense was shaky at the start of the game until the great play by Jayron Kearse on the INT. UVA spread us out to run the ball and they did it. The DL was getting penetration vs the run, but they were leaving their gaps. LBs were not filling them properly either, and the starting RB for UVA ended up with 5.1 ypc (16 car, 82 yd). Of course the game stats will say we were lights out vs the run, and we have tackled well the last two weeks, but we did not do a great job at gap control while UVA was trying to run it.
On the flip side I thought we were outstanding at CB and the safeties did not give up a long TD. The LBs were good over the middle against the pass as well. I was a little disappointed in the pass rush against what had been a weak OL. I thought both Crawford and Beasley would end up with at least 2 sacks and I didn't notice either.
Of course, the defense didn't need to be anything close to perfect with the offense churning out touchdowns like it was. Things are about to get more difficult for Clemson, though -- the Tigers have a bye week and then host Georgia Tech and its option attack. Every game is critical for the Tigers and their at-large BCS bowl hopes at this point.
It was a dreary day in a rough season for the Cavaliers, who fell to 2-7 on the season. The fact that Boyd's early exit might be termed a "bright spot" for Virginia says plenty; sometimes it's just not your day, and the Cavs simply don't have the personnel to keep up with Clemson right now.
Anthony Harris's first quarter interception was a rare bright spot for the defensive unit; the other bright spot was that Boyd was removed so early. Otherwise, Clemson could've made the score even uglier if that's even possible.
Virginia's offense simply isn't built to win any type of high-scoring game. The unit took a step back after last week's performance. David Watford followed up the best game of his career with an inefficient one, as he threw 16 for 35 for 130 yards, and an interception. Kevin Parks had another strong performance, finishing with 82 yards on 16 carries, but the team was forced to abandon the run early as the deficit widened.
UVA's offense is averaging 4.4 yards per play this season, which is an ugly figure. Against the Tigers, Virginia managed just 3.3 yards per snap. Those numbers illustrate why the Cavs are now out of contention for a bowl game, and why they've yet to win a conference game. With road trips to UNC and Miami as well as a home game against Virginia Tech rounding out the schedule, an 0-8 ACC record is looking more likely.
Here are the highlights from Clemson's win:
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