Jacory Harris continues to chuck the ball aimlessly and have communication issues with every receiver not named Leonard Hankerson. Harris finished 13-for-33 with 205 yards passing. He tied a career high by throwing four touchdown passes but also had two interceptions raising his season total to eight. On Harris’s first pick he tossed the ball deep in double coverage but his second pick was more costly. It occurred in the red zone on a pass intended to Aldarius Johnson. Harris never checked down to any other receiver. The only receiver he consistently is on the same page with is Hankerson. Harris had an intentional grounding penalty and fumbled the ball but it was recovered by Seantrel Henderson. Harris looks like he doesn’t even practice some times. The throws he makes are puzzling.
Running Backs: A-
UM as a team ran the ball for 177 yards and averaged four yards a carry. Damien Berry ran for over 100 yards and had a career high 24 carries. Berry is a bruising back that is great after the initial contact. Lamar Miller runs effortlessly in the backfield and shows a lot of patience when finding the vacant hole. Mike James did a phenomenal job when his number was called. He had six carries for 34 yards plus he had an 18 yard touchdown reception. The o-line was not particularly stellar which makes all this even more impressive.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: B
Hankerson deserves an A+. The rest not so much. Hankerson was a complete stud grabbing seven balls for 147 yards and three touchdowns going for 22, 65 and seven yards respectively. Hankerson is so reliable and consistent. It’s mind boggling how LaRon Byrd didn’t have a catch. Johnson looks slow and dropped a sure first down. Benjamin continues to have route running problems.
Offensive Line: D
The line was porous. Yes, Seantrel Henderson got the start but Joel Figueroa was still playing way too much. While Clemson only had two sacks, Harris was hit seven times. It seemed like there wasn’t a particular rotation on the offensive line. It was good to see Brandon Linder see some meaningful action. There were four penalties for the offensive line and. Orlando Franklin, after being named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week, struggled mightily.
Defensive Line: B+
Marcus Forston recorded his first career interception on a batted ball by Allen Bailey. The defensive line continues to be a strength for UM. The line picked up three sacks and played assignment football. The line had six tackles for a loss. They proved the game against Pitt last week was not a fluke. The pursuit of the football is fantastic. Clemson had a couple of drives where they were dominant but other than that CU had no answer.
Five turnovers for this crew which had been a problem. And they were by five different players. Ryan Hill and Ray-Ray Armstrong each had an interception while Colin McCarthy, DeMarcus Van Dyke and Vaughn Telemaque each recovered fumbles. Kyle Parker threw for under 150 yards and he is a dynamic quarterback.
Special Teams: D
Three interference penalties are inexcusable. Two were on Tommy Streeter and one was on Cory Nelms. These players are not “young.” Matt Bosher finally missed an extra point after making 105 straight. Harland Gunn missed a block which led to the block. Benjamin and Storm Johnson did nothing special on returns and special teams kick coverage continues to be a problem. Bosher saved the game with ANOTHER tackle.
Winning on the road is always a good thing. Clemson is a hostile place. I was there for a women’s basketball game in February and the fans were rabid. But 12 penalties for 105 yards is a concern. Byrd needs to be used on out routes more. Figueroa needs to find the bench as soon as possible. Sure he’s not starting but he shouldn’t be playing either. Shannon’s challenge was not wise, it was clear Ray Buchanan did not recover the ball. Offensively television cameras showed visible frustration between Harris, his receivers and Whipple signifying they were not on the same page.
Justin Antweil may be contacted at email@example.com.