Struggling on the margins: Key stats show why Clemson is failing to meet expectations in 2021
Clemson has already lost three games in 2021, putting its streak of 10 consecutive double-digit win seasons in jeopardy.
The Tigers’ issues are visible from the surface, and they’re mostly on the offensive side of the ball. Clemson averages just 4.96 yards per play, which is dead last in the ACC going into Week 9.
But Clemson’s problems are also highly-specific. Picking up yards on key plays — an area where the Tigers have thrived in recent years — has been a major issue this season.
Clemson ranks No. 11 in the ACC in third down conversion percentage at 37.89 percent. The Tigers haven’t been outside the top three in the ACC in that statistic since 2014. Fourth down hasn’t been easy either — Clemson has an ACC-worst one fourth down conversion this year on five attempts.
Similarly, the Tigers are tied for No. 7 in the ACC in red zone conversion this year. However, they’re at the bottom of the conference in terms of red zone attempts with only 21 on the season.
Explosive plays have also been tough to come by for Clemson. Tony Elliott’s offense ranks dead last in the ACC in volume of plays of 10+ yards with just 79 through seven games. The next-worst team in the ACC has 92 such plays. Clemson’s offense is also last in the ACC in plays of 20+, 30+ and 40+ yards from scrimmage.
In the past, Clemson has excelled at both creating big plays and picking up clutch yardage on third and fourth down. This year? The Tigers have been amongst the ACC’s worst.
The result is an offense that ranks No. 111 in yards per play nationally and is scoring just 20 points per game.
Clemson’s offense will try to get back on track vs. Florida State at home on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET.