Notre Dame Opponent Preview: Clemson Tigers Offense

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Sep 12, 2015; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) passes the ball during the first half against the Appalachian State Mountaineers at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports


Deshaun Watson was a sensation last season before his injury, and going into this year, he was hyped as one of the most explosive quarterbacks in the country second to the preseason Heisman favorite, TCU’s Trevone Boykin. However, he hasn’t had the start many expected for him to have this season. He’s completed 74% of his passes for 641 yards and seven touchdowns to just three interceptions. That looks like a pretty good stat line right? Well, take away Clemson’s games against Wofford and Appalachian State and Watson has only completed 21 passes for 199 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Louisville was the only real test he’s had this year, and it was a tough start for Watson. So, what’s to say this Heisman candidate won’t have another poor performance against Notre Dame’s stout defense? If the Irish can contain Watson in the pocket and force him to make throws into coverage, there’s a chance this offense struggles again. The key with Watson is that he can make plays with his legs as well as he can with his arm. Last season, he scored five touchdowns on the ground in the eight games he played in, so its evident that he can hurt defenses even if he’s flushed out of the pocket.

This Clemson offense has a ton of talent across the board, so it makes it all the more difficult for Notre Dame to focus on just one position group. All it takes is for Watson to have an off day, and Notre Dame will be able to contain the offense long enough for the Irish offense to get into a rhythm and light up the score board as well as the did against Georgia Tech.

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