Clemson football opened the 2017 season with one of the best offensive performances in America. The Tigers may not have competed against the 1985 Bears — sources: they didn’t! — but in the program’s first game sans Deshaun Watson in several years, Clemson dominated.
Before Clemson moves on to a far more challenging opponent in week two — the Auburn Tigers — let’s take a quick look at how the Tigers ran wild in a 56-3 win against Kent State.
One for the record books
Led by Travis Etienne (eight carries, 81 yards), Clemson’s balanced ground attack combined for 353 yards on 43 carries (8.2 yards) and six touchdowns. Dating back to the 2000 season, the Tigers became just the 13th team to rush for six touchdowns on 45 or fewer carries.
Seven different players recorded at least four carries and 20 yards rushing.
If that wasn’t enough, three quarterbacks combined to pass for 312 yards, too. This marks just the third time in program history that Clemson has thrown and run for 300-plus yards in the same game.
In total, Clemson’s 665 yards were good for 5th most in program history.
Clemson averaged 8.53 yards per play; Kent State, on the other hand, mustered just 2.45 yards per play against Dexter Lawrence and Christian Wilkins. That’s a difference of roughly 6.1 yards per play. According to the wonderful Football Study Hall, only one other team — Penn State — outgained its opponent by a higher per play margin. The Nittany Lions averaged 6.2 yards more per play than Akron.
The first day is the hardest (well, probably not here)
Deshaun Watson, who was in attendance on Saturday, is quite possibly the greatest player in the history of Clemson football; his accomplishments, which are extensive, will never be forgotten in Death Valley. Although if Kelly Bryant continues to play like this, Tigers fans can certainly embrace the program’s newest signal caller.
Bryant completed 16-of-22 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown — a 61-yard bomb to rising star Deon Cain.
The junior quarterback also tossed one interception, which occurred in Kent State’s end zone.
Before getting pulled in relief for Hunter Johnson and Zerrick Cooper, Bryant collected 313 total yards, officially. That bested Tajh Boyd’s previous record for total yards in an opener, per the school: 312 in a 38-35 win over Georgia.