Kelly Bryant broke himself in as the new starting quarterback quite well as No. 5 Clemson (1-0) opened up the new season with a dominating performance against Kent State (0-1). The defending champs took a 49-3 victory at home as Bryant took control filling the shoes of Deshaun Watson with 236 passing yards, one touchdown pass, 77 rushing yards and another score on the ground.
Clemson opened the season with 21 points in the first and third quarters, showing quick bursts at the start of each half. As expected in a blowout like this, there were many contributors to the Clemson offense today. Four different running backs scored a touchdown, with C.J. Fuller picking up two scores before getting the afternoon off. A total of 13 different Tigers recorded at least one reception in the game as well, with the bulk of those passes coming from Bryant (16-22-1 for 236 yards, 1 TD).
Clemson’s defense was also locked in, tying down Kent State for just 110 yards of offense and allowing just five first downs. Clemson out-gained the Golden Flashes by roughly 545 yards. It was just a total mismatch from start to finish, and it wasn’t just because Kent State was without their head coach. This was a battle between a program that has built a rock-solid foundation through top-shelf recruiting and player development and, well, Kent State.
Clemson will kick it up a notch next week in terms of difficulty. The Tigers welcome the Auburn Tigers to Death Valley for a fun ACC vs. SEC battle. Auburn is starting the season ranked No. 12 in the preseason AP poll and will be hosting Georgia Southern later tonight in their season opener. Clemson opened the 2016 season with a 19-13 victory at Auburn last season and will take a three-game winning streak in the series into next week’s game, with the first two games in that winning streak occurring in 2011 and 2012.
Kent State will look to put a win in the books next week at home against Howard.