Clemson Football 2012 Bowl Capsule

Clemson Tigers


Dabo Swinney had to be thrilled at the start of the season that many of his key players were returning.  Just a year removed from their first ACC championship since the advent of the ACC Championship Game, Clemson is looking to build on their strong season from 2011. The 2012 season had a lot more in store for the Tigers and their opponents.  With another year of experience, Swinney’s team looks like a bunch of seasoned veterans out to take care of business.  They are one of the more potent teams in the country.  The pieces they have on the offensive side of the ball have complemented each other very nicely.  Almost quietly, Clemson battled Florida State neck-and-neck for the Atlantic crown for most of the season.  They just happened to drop the all-important head-to-head against the stingy Seminoles.  Clemson has been looking for consistency ever since Tommy Bowden got booted from the sidelines.  They seem to be trending in that direction.

2012 Record: 10-2, 7-1
Coach: Dabo Swinney
Coach Bowl Record: 1-3

Big Wins: 11/3 at Duke (56-20), 11/17 North Carolina State (62-48)
Bad Losses: 9/22 at Florida State (37-49), 11/24 South Carolina (17-27)

Unlike their division foes Florida State, Clemson’s strength lies in its offense.  They were top 10 in scoring and in total offense.  They averaged over 500 yards per game.  Tajh Boyd really stepped up his game this season.  He has 3,550 yards and has 34 touchdowns.  He has the ability to use his legs to make plays.  He is the second leading rusher on the team behind Andre Ellington.  Where Clemson really excels is in the passing game.  They have one of the best wide receiver tandems in the nation in DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins.  Hopkins will surely be considered for ACC offensive player of the year.  He consistently snags over 100 yards per game.  Between the receivers and tight end Brandon Ford, Boyd has plenty of options at his disposal.  They have dispatched teams with ease.  They have not been stopped and other squads have had a difficult time scoring on them.  An average defensive team, somehow they have done a great job preventing points against.  The Tigers average over 40 per game.  Opponents are scoring just over 20.

It is very difficult to pull any weaknesses off of a team that wins 10 games in a season.  As mentioned before, their defense is okay but they have some deficiencies that could catch up to them in the post-season.  They have not had the easiest time getting to the quarterback.  That tends to go hand-in-hand with the fact that their rush defense is among the worst in the conference.  They allow 161 yards per game.  Should they face a team with a supreme rushing attack, they might have a tough time getting the ball back into Boyd’s hands.  Time of possession will become a factor.  The other unit that seems to be a bit of an issue is the offensive line.  Boyd finds himself on the ground quite a bit.  Part of that is his fault since he tries to extend plays by running around in the pocket.  The offensive line deserves a little bit of blame as well.  If he did not have to scramble a bunch in the first place, then he would not get caught in the backfield.  All in all, these are things the Tigers can mask with a lot of points and solid execution.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Andre Ellington, RB, 1,031 yards
Passing: Tajh Boyd, QB, 3,550 yards
Receiving: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, 1,214 yards
Tackles: Jonathan Willard, LB, 82
Sacks: Vic Beasley, DE, 8.0
Interceptions: Rashard Hall, S, 4

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 198.75 (32nd in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 319.58 (13, 1)
Total Offense: 518.33 (8, 1)
Scoring Offense: 42.33 (6, 1)
Rushing Defense: 160.67 (62, 8)
Pass Defense: 250.33 (81, 8)
Total Defense: 411.00 (75, 7)
Scoring Defense: 24.92 (49, 4)
Turnover Margin: 0.25 (47, 5)
Sacks: 2.33 (38, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 2.17 (78, 8)

Recent Bowl Appearances:
2011    Orange Bowl                   West Virginia (33-70)
2010    Car Care of Texas Bowl    USF (26-31)
2009    Music City Bowl               Kentucky (21-13)
2008    Gator Bowl                     Nebraska (21-26)
2007    Chick-fil-A Bowl              Auburn (20-23)

*all team stats through 11/24


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