Clemson played fast, strong and smart, and the Tigers didn’t make many mistakes in Lane Stadium in a 31-17 victory over Virginia Tech on Saturday. The Hokies, who suffered their first loss, had chances but couldn’t put a complete football game together.
“It was just our night tonight,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said.
Swinney was right. The Tigers played well, and there is a lot to take away from the top-15 matchup.
Here are five:
1. Clemson is not good, but great
The Tigers, last night, looked almost unbeatable. Even if Tech had converted on every chance it looked like an impossible feat to score on Clemson, and the Tigers seemed to score at their own will.
It seems inevitable that Alabama-Clemson Round 3 is coming our way in January. Alabama has been taking care of business, and Clemson is too. The Tigers are the first team in the history of the NCAA to win three games over top-15 opponents before October. That’s really, really impressive.
2. Clemson Quarterback Kelly Bryant has emerged as a star.
No one could stop the 6-foot-4, 220-pound junior quarterback, especially on the ground. Kelly finished with 94 yards rushing and 186 more through the air, but more importantly, he made the big plays when it mattered.
3. It’s not time for Tech fans to flip out.
I saw plenty of anger and frustration on Twitter among the Hokie faithful. While a loss is never fun, there are some things you have to keep in mind. First, Clemson is great, and it’s coming off of a national championship win. Two, Tech has its first full recruiting class under head coach Justin Fuente. These things take time, but Fuente has Tech on the right track. Dabo Swinney had some praise for the sophomore head coach after Saturday’s game.
“I almost hired Justin,” Swinney said. “I’m glad I didn’t because he would have only been here for a year and he would’ve been gone. He’s a heck of a coach and a good guy. He’s good for the business.”
4. Freshman wide receiver Sean Savoy has become a great second option.
With Cam Phillips locking down his spot, there wasn’t much depth after the senior wideout, which was a huge point of emphasis for the Tech coaching staff this season. Luckily for Tech, Savoy has looked great.
The freshman has 18 catches for nearly 200 yards and two touchdowns this year, as well as one on the ground. Savoy had his first two-touchdown game against the Tigers, and was a bright spot for Tech.
5. Virginia Tech will have another chance at Clemson.
If I had to guess, I’d say that Tech will have a shot to repeat as ACC Coastal champions, and get another whack at Clemson in December. The Hokies have a while to go, and quite a few more games before it can focus on a rematch, though.
Virginia Tech travels to Boston College next week. The kick is at 7:15 p.m. Saturday on ESPN2.