Saturday, December 3, 2011
Halftime: Clemson 10, Virginia Tech 10
By Heather Dinich
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Hokies were favored to win this game, but Clemson has done a good job of getting the ball to Sammy Watkins in space, and DeAndre Hopkins was wide open on another big gain, as was tight end Dwayne Allen. Short passes have turned into some long gains for Clemson, and the Hokies have missed tackles and gotten beat on a few plays.
Meanwhile, the ACC's Player of the Year, David Wilson, hasn't been enough of a factor. His 11-yard gain late in the second quarter was the Hokies' longest run of the half. One thing that's similar to the first meeting between the two teams earlier this season, is that Logan Thomas has struggled to find guys open downfield, and there was also a turnover on the Hokies' first offensive play of the game. Both teams have made costly mistakes, in particular penalties. Here's a look back at the first half:
Turning point: Clemson defensive end Andre Branch was flagged for roughing the passer late in the first half, which gave Virginia Tech an automatic first down on Clemson's 48-yard line. It was a foolish, unnecessary hit and gave the Hokies new life. The penalty was followed by gains of 19 and 13 yards. The Hokies got as close as the 14-yard line, but Clemson got a break when Jaymes Brooks was called for holding, and the Hokies lost about 14 seconds off the clock because they seemed to be aware of it and were forced to kick a field goal. The penalty on Branch, though, gave them that opportunity.
Stat of the half: Wilson's 21 yards on six carries tied a season-low for rushing yards in a first half. He also was held to that many against Boston College, but finished with 134 yards.
Best player in the half: Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd. He's already had a much better game than what he did in last week's loss to South Carolina. Boyd has completed 14 of 21 passes for 118 yards and one touchdown. Chad Morris is putting him in positions to be successful, and he's only been sacked once after 11 sacks in the previous two games.