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Clemson dodged upset scare and pulled away to beat Georgia Tech 41-10

If you were expecting a drastic change from the No. 4 Clemson offense compared to last season, Monday night was a bit of a disappointment.

Sure, Clemson pulled away and started the season 1-0 with a 41-10 win over Georgia Tech, but many of the same issues that plagued the Tigers in 2021 will reappear this season. I was.

Play calls were unimaginable, the offensive line was leaky, receivers struggled to separate (sometimes just catching the ball), and quarterback DJ Wiagara Ray’s play had its ups and downs. Without the play and a few blocked punts, this game would have been much closer than the final score indicated.

And it was already pretty close. Georgia Tech, a team with nine combined wins over the last three seasons, cut Clemson’s lead to his 14-10 midway through the third quarter.

The Tigers extended a more comfortable lead with a field goal and a 74-yard touchdown drive on the next two possessions, then continued their tackles in garbage time, but it seemed they still had some time in the second half. It looked like Due to one of the worst programs in the ACC, he can falter in the air.

If you believe Clemson will return to national championship contention form, that’s not the best sign.

Clemson’s DJ Uiagalelei, 5, passes the ball during the first half of the NCAA football game against Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Monday, Sept. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)

To his credit, Uiagalalei looked much better than last year when he was one of the worst starters in the ACC. He made several plays in the second half to help Clemson pull away. He also made several on-the-money throws downfield that could not be corralled by receivers.

Overall, Wiagalerai finished 19/32 for 209 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 28 yards to clinch the win. Running his game inefficiency was evident as the Tigers finished with just 127 yards on his 40 carries, averaging 3.2 yards per rush. Dubbo Swinney says his offensive line will improve significantly throughout the offseason. In week 1, it was less obvious.

The defense was good as usual, though. The defensive line cornered Georgia Tech quarterback Jeff his Sims all night, with Yellow limiting his Jackets offense to just 237 yards and third his downs to his 2/16. Perhaps most impressively, Georgia Tech rushing for his yards in his 30th try, he gained only 73 yards.

As long as the defense plays this way, Clemson will be in every game played. However, the offense must improve for the Tigers to return to national title contender territory.

The Tigers had 10 wins a year ago, but it was a significant setback for a longtime CFP contender under Swinney. In 2021, Clemson won his first seven games in which he went 4-3, averaging just 15 points per game in his matches against FBS during that time.

Monday night’s performance was clearly an improvement compared to that level of play, but it still left a lot to be desired. Clemson’s five-star freshman quarterback Cade Krabnik led the Tigers onto the field for the final touchdown of the night. Along the way, Klubnik completed his 4-of-6 passes for his 50 yards and a TD, looking very comfortable in the process.

With FCS program Furman on deck next week, Klubnik will definitely find a way back on the field again. It remains to be seen if he’ll be good enough to pass Wiagalerei on the depth chart at some point this season.