Four games into the season and Dabo Swinney's Tigers find themselves in a very unfamiliar situation.
After Clemson's 27-21 double-overtime loss to NC State on Saturday, the Tigers find themselves sitting at 2-2, having lost multiple games in the month of September, and almost assuredly eliminating themselves from the College Football Playoff discussion.
While Swinney readily admitted the Tigers are currently in unchartered waters, he maintained that it's far too early to throw the towel in on his program.
"It's been a long time since we've been in a situation like this, that's for sure," Swinney said after the loss. "We've had a lot of great moments, lot of great times and there's gonna be a lot more to come. But this is where we are right now."
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For the fourth straight game, the Tigers struggled on offense, failing to gain 300 yards for the third time this season. That, combined with the Clemson defense's inability to get off the field on third down, was just too much for the Tigers to overcome.
"In the end, just to many mistakes," Swinney said. "So many critical penalties. Jumping offsides. Just some really critical penalties that killed us. Time of possession. They just got worn down with the time of possession and number of plays. Bunch of guys hurt. and the heart just breaks for those guys. You gotta physically hurt team and we've got a mentally hurt team right now. And staff."
The Tigers also saw multiple key players go down with injuries. James Skalski, Bryan Bresee and Will Shipley all left the game injured. Swinney said he has a team that is hurting both physically and mentally after the heartbreaking loss.
"Just a really hurting, hurting locker room and hurting coaches and staff," Swinney said. "We put a lot into this. This is certainly not what we intended. You know, we just got to regroup. That's all I can say."
The head coach said all his team can do now is go back to work, and focus on getting better and trying to get a win over Boston College next Saturday in Death Valley.
"But at the end of the day, you know, I love these guys, love this team, and I'm proud of their effort tonight," Swinney said. "I've gotten help them be better and more disciplined. But I'm super proud of their effort and their heart and their fight the last second. They made one more critical play than we did. But we'll regroup, show up on Monday and get back to work."