Clemson's 35-10 victory on Saturday was less than impressive for the most part. The Tigers' effort was filled with defensive struggles and offensive inconsistencies that the final score does not accurately depict. But there were a few bright spots that Clemson can hopefully build on:
Dawson Zimmerman was outstanding, averaging more than 50 yards per punt and knocking one nearly 80 yards. Walk on kicker Chanler Catanzaro did not get to attempt a field goal, but he made all five of his extra points. Marcus Gilchrist proved that there is life after C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford in the kick return game. Gilchrist lacks the breakaway speed of either of these guys, but he showed the ability to make people miss and consistently set Clemson up with good field position.
It was basically accepted that Clemson's passing game could struggle in this game, so they needed to be able to rely on a solid running game. Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper combined for 224 yards rushing and four touchdowns, proving the "New Storm" may be able to carry this offense. It was the first time Clemson had two players rush for 100 yards apiece since 2007, when James Davis and C.J. Spiller, or the "Old Storm", accomplished the feat.
Clemson's defense struggled mightily as a whole on Saturday, allowing a worrisome 462 yards of offense and watching North Texas total an impossible 41:52 time of possession mark. Most of the defensive problems, however, appeared to be tackling and coverage issues by the linebackers and secondary. The defensive line played well and notched four sacks and nine tackles for loss. Malliciah Goodman was especially noticeable and seemed to be all over the place.