Here’s a quick recap of South Florida’s 31-26 win against Clemson:
How the game was won: Clemson's final attempt at a comeback fell short when the Tigers touched the onside kick before it went 10 yards, sealing the win for South Florida. Clemson’s inability to run the ball, get anything going on offense and convert third downs ended any hopes the Tigers had at a winning season. Quarterback Kyle Parker left the game early with broken ribs, but even when he was in the game he made poor decisions, including an interception that landed the Bulls on Clemson’s 10-yard line. The turnover led to a field goal and 10-3 lead for South Florida that it never relinquished.
Turning point: Clemson was penalized 11 yards for pass interference in the third quarter, moving South Florida to the Tigers’ 2-yard line. The Bulls scored on the next play, and had all the momentum with a 24-13 lead.
Stat of the game: Clemson converted just 5-of-16 third down conversions.
Player of the game: South Florida quarterback B.J. Daniels. He completed 19 of 26 passes for 188 yards, two touchdowns passing, one rushing, and an interception. In a game in which Clemson’s quarterbacks struggled through both injuries and rookie mistakes, Daniels was the difference with both accuracy and timing.
What Clemson learned: The Tigers have a lot of work to do offensively this offseason, starting with some growing pains at quarterback, where the Tajh Boyd era has already begun. Clemson lacks an offensive identity, and needs to find one before the 2011 season begins.
What it means: Clemson’s streak of 10 straight winning seasons came to an end, and the coaching staff will face even more scrutiny heading into an offseason which could bid farewell to some of the top players on the team. Clemson also now has a losing record in bowl games, as the Tigers dropped to 16-17.