CLEMSON—When the Clemson Tigers started this season, the offense was expected to be the best ever—at least, according to the players and the coaches.
But as is often the case, perception does not match the reality. And that perception has been that the offense in 2019 has taken a significant step back from where they were in 2018.
"We've been a really good offense. We're top four in the country," head coach Dabo Swinney said. "We had one average, bad game at North Carolina. Seven out of eight games we have been very consistent. It's just that Trevor throws a couple of picks and that's a story. And that's a shame. it should be what guys have done. We're the only team with seven power 5 wins out there. We're growing through mistakes and we're learning and we're improving. We're eager to improve every week."
While that may be Swinney's opinion, where do the Tigers really stack up offensively.
The answer, at least over the last three games, is at the top of the offensive categories.
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The Tigers have outscored their last three opponents by a combined score of 149-31.
The Tigers' offense is second in the nation in scoring over the last three weeks (averaging 49.7 points per game), first in the nation in yards per game (592.3 yards per game), third in rushing yards per game (306.7 yards per game), first in scoring margin (39.3 points per game) and second in touchdowns per game (six).
The reason for the Tigers recent run of success over the last three games can be boiled down to one simple fact: They are running the ball.
"We've run the ball better. Travis Etienne has been awesome," Swinney said. "Our offensive line has cut out some of the bad penalties and have gotten a good rhythm. Travis has been the spark. He has been awesome. He's almost unstoppable. The line has done a great job all year. Trevor has been amazing. People focus on bad plays but he has had a lot of great plays. That's a big reason why we're 8-0.
"We ran a million RPOs Saturday night and were productive. We want to make sure we get our playmakers involved. Coming off the North Carolina game, I really challenged Travis to play to his capabilities. We wanted to also make sure that he got touches. We're also best when we take what teams give us. We made great decisions in the run game last night. We want everyone showing up to play with great focus and great attention to detail. That's what you've seen."