Those who watched Friday’s Orange Bowl between the Clemson Tigers and Tennessee Volunteers saw a lot of the Tigers offense. They didn’t, however, see much production from the unit.
After the game, Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports sent out a good news and bad news tweet. The good news? Clemson’s offense set a record for most offensive plays run in the near 90-year history of the Orange Bowl. And more than half of those plays came in plus territory. The bad news? The Tigers had very little to show for it.
“Clemson ran 101 plays on offense,” Fornelli tweeted. “56 in Tennessee territory. 14 points.”
Clemson ran 101 plays on offense. 56 in Tennessee territory. 14 points.
— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) December 31, 2022
The Tigers’ poor offensive showing was roundly criticized.
“Clemson truly innovating with the bend don’t break offense,” Clemson’s SB Nation page, Shakin the Southland, tweeted.
Jane Coaston of the New York Times also had a mocking response, tweeting “Majestic.”
Clemson truly innovating with the bend don’t break offense https://t.co/Ph11W0xeaC
— Shakin the Southland (@STSouthland) December 31, 2022
— Jane Coaston (@janecoaston) December 31, 2022
Tiger Commenter, a popular Clemson fan account, found a way to be impressed.
“Again, just amazing,” the tweet said. “Like impressively bad.”
Again, just amazing. Like impressively bad. https://t.co/hgPn1nztK9
— Tiger Commenter (@TigerCommenter) December 31, 2022
The Reddit CFB page, meanwhile, detailed the absolute oddity of the Orange Bowl’s results in another tweet.
“These stats are objectively bonkers:
- Clemson had 100+ more yards
- Tennessee converted on 3rd down just 3 times •
- Clemson had a lot fewer penalties
Tennessee won by 3 scores.”
These stats are objectively bonkers:
• Clemson had 100+ more yards
• Tennessee converted on 3rd down just 3 times
• Clemson had a lot fewer penalties
Tennessee won by 3 scores. 🙃 pic.twitter.com/pj7ijsyMYN
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) December 31, 2022
It was not Clemson’s night. B.T. Potter, Clemson’s normally reliable kicker, missed three field goals.
Early in the game, the Tigers did what so many teams do in bowl games and went into their bag of tricks, trying a fake field goal. It didn’t work.
Trailing 14-3 at the end of the first half, quarterback Cade Klubnik took off running for the end zone, even though just a few seconds remained on the clock and Clemson didn’t have a time-out. He was tackled.
In the third quarter, a promising Tigers drive was halted when Tennessee stopped a fourth down attempt.
Normally, it would be easy to attribute all of the points left on the field as just a part of a bad night — which happens to everyone from time to time. The problem for Clemson is that the offensive woes have been there throughout the season. So, the Tigers have a lot to build on in the offseason, but they also have a lot to improve if they want to get back into national championship contention in 2023.
[Tom Fornelli on Twitter]
Related: CFB world blasts Dabo Swinney after awful Orange Bowl loss