Identity is everything in college football.
A team, more importantly, a side of the ball, needs to know what it does well, how it's defined and what it can rely on when things aren't going well in a game.
For the Clemson offense, identity has remained a bit of a mystery through the first five games of the 2021 season. The Tigers are hoping, though, that what occurred Oct. 2 in a 19-13 win over Boston College is the change of that.
"I think that we showed that we can run the ball," Clemson left tackle Jordan McFadden said Monday when asked about the offense's identity.
The Tigers racked up 231 yards on the ground against the Eagles, the most against an FBS team this season. McFadden said getting nearly six yards per carry gave a team desperately needing an identity a new mentality heading into last week's off week.
"I think it's just more fun. It brought a lot of momentum," McFadden said. "I think we were super confident in what we were doing and that was the biggest part of our success."
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For years, the Tigers have been known as an explosive offense, whether it was running back Travis Etienne hitting home runs on handoffs or Tee Higgins catching bombs down the field. This team, however, has yet to find the kind of plays that gave them that identity.
"I think Clemson has been an offense that's made big plays," McFadden. "We haven't necessarily done that this season but it's coming. Against Boston College, the only thing that we didn't do was score touchdowns.
"I think that's the next step for us, putting the ball in the end zone. We moved the ball down the field and we'd kick a field goal or stall out. Once we start putting the ball in the end zone I think we'll explode as an offense. I think we'll shock the country by what this offense can do."
Clemson heads to Syracuse on Friday at 7 p.m. looking for their first ACC road victory and building upon that identity McFadden believes formed against BC.
"I'm excited to see what we do Friday," McFadden said. "I'm expecting big things.
"To be the team we want to be, we've got to score points. That's the biggest thing for us. Our defense has done a great job having our back and I think it's time for us to have their back."
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