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Hot Read: Clemson Cruises

By Matt Osborne
SouthernPigskin.com
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Five takeaways from Clemson's 56-7 win over South Carolina.

Clemson made quick of South Carolina on Saturday evening, jumping all over the Gamecocks early on their way to a 56-7 win.

Here are five quick thoughts from the Tigers’ victory.

1. There was going to be no slowing down Deshaun Watson in his final regular season game as a Clemson Tiger. Last season’s Heisman Finalist had one of the better games of his illustrious college career, completing 26 of his 32 passing attempts for 347 yards and six touchdowns. He absolutely picked apart a vulnerable South Carolina defense, spreading the football all over the field as the Clemson offense scored 35 first half points. With another strong performance, Watson very well may have earned himself another trip to the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

2. Ben Boulware continues to make his presence felt in Clemson’s biggest games, leading the Tigers with seven tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and two sacks on the evening. Boulware is at his best when he is attacking and playing near the line of scrimmage, which he did with tremendous frequency on Saturday night. The unquestioned leader of the Clemson defense, the Tigers seemed to rally behind the inspired play of their star veteran.

3. As many experts projected would happen, Clemson’s defensive line absolutely manhandled South Carolina’s offensive front. The Tigers finished the contest with three sacks, but the pass rush ever allowed Jake Bentley to get comfortable and set his feet when he dropped back to pass. When the Gamecocks attempted to run the football, the Tigers almost always had multiple defenders in the backfield to either make a tackle for loss or force the running back to change his course. Clemson finished the game with eight stops behind the line of scrimmage.

4. Any concerns that fans may have had about Clemson looking past South Carolina to the upcoming showdown with Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game were put to bed early, as the Tigers jumped on the Gamecocks out of the gate and never looked back. After being upset at home by Pittsburgh a few weeks ago, Clemson has now put together back-to-back outstanding performances against Wake Forest and South Carolina. It has yet to be seen where the Tigers will rank in the upcoming Playoff rankings, but it is safe to say that Clemson remains the biggest threat to Alabama at this point.

5. It was a disappointing performance for South Carolina tonight, but this loss does not take away from what has been a tremendous season for the Gamecocks in the first year for head coach Will Muschamp. South Carolina has one of the youngest teams in the nation, and showed great fight throughout the campaign. There is still plenty of room for improvement, but the Gamecocks appear to have a bright future with the young talent on the roster.

Matt Osborne - Matt Osborne currently serves as the director of recruiting and lead editor for Southern Pigskin. His work has been published in a number of national publications, including USA Today. Although he loves all levels of football, Matt's number one joy in his life is his relationship with Jesus Christ. Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattOsborne200. For media requests, please email Matt at matt@southernpigskin.com.