Jordan Leggett

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VIDEO: Watch Clemson light offensive spark in three plays

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Down 14-0 in the second quarter and stuck starting an offensive series from their own 13-yard line, Clemson needed to make some big plays happen. They did just that. Three plays highlighted the much-needed seven-play drive that ended in the end zone with Deshaun Watson finding a path for a touchdown to cut into the Alabama lead in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

It began with a 44-yard catch-and-run  from Watson to Deon Cain

A few plays later, Watson connected over the middle of the field with Jordan Leggett for a 26-yard gain to move into the red zone for the first time in the game…

Watson would finish the drove off with an eight-yard touchdown run a couple of plays later…

Clemson really needed that score, and it helped to give the defense a little bit of a rest after having Bo Scarbrough break off a pair of long touchdown runs on them in the first half.

Alabama’s keys to national championship game include trying to solve Deshaun Watson (good luck!)

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The rematch is on in the College Football Playoff national championship game with Alabama and Clemson set to battle for the national championship for a second straight season. Both teams will have the benefit of having gone through this experience against each other last year, so there is a certain familiarity with what the other team is capable of doing. For Alabama, knowing just how dangerous Deshaun Watson can be leading the Tigers offense going in will lead Alabama to look for new ways to scheme against him.

In last year’s championship game, Watson put on a performance that drew comparisons to Vince Young in the Rose Bowl against USC, although Watson came up on the short end of the winning tally. In the epic 45-40 loss to the Tide, Watson scorched Alabama for 405 passing yards and four touchdowns and added 73 rushing yards. It was Watson’s best performance of the year, and it came against the best defense in the country. Guess what. Alabama once again has the best defense in the country, and Watson is fully capable of going off for a big game once again. You can make him make a mistake, as evidenced at times this season. Watson has been picked off 17 times this year, including twice last week by Ohio State. The key for Alabama will be converting points off turnovers. Ohio State, obviously, was unable to do that, but the only team to beat them this year managed to do that. Watson was intercepted three times against Pittsburgh in Clemson’s only loss of the season. The Panthers took advantage of two of those picks by scoring touchdowns on the ensuing possession (Pitt was forced to punt on the first, scored two touchdowns on the next two).

Disrupting Clemson’s momentum on offense will not be easy, even for a talented and stacked defense like Alabama’s, because Clemson does like to move the ball quickly. It’s not just the no-huddle style either. It is also how quickly Clemson releases the ball and gets it in movement. Take a look at how quickly Watson gets the play rolling after taking the snap. Unless he is looking to go downfield and has to wait for a man to get open, he is pulling a quick trigger on a screen pass or tossing to the running back and then Clemson is on the go. That caught up to Ohio State and wore down the defense. Wearing down Alabama’s defense should not be as easy, and if the Tide can get in the backfield on the snap to cause chaos before Clemson can get things rolling consistently, then it will apply pressure on Watson and Clemson to do something else.

When Watson does get rid of the ball, Alabama will have to find ways to cover wide receiver Mike Williams (1,297 receiving yards, 10 TDs) and tight end Jordan Leggett, who could be a wild card factor in this matchup. But Alabama’s biggest concern in this game (other than Watson) will be Clemson’s defensive line. The Tigers just pitched a shutout against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, allowing just 215 yards of offense to the Buckeyes and forcing three turnovers (including two interceptions of J.T. Barrett). Clemson’s defensive effort put everybody on notice that they are on a mission and primed to give Alabama all they can handle. The good news for Alabama is their offensive line is much better than Ohio State’s, so fending off the pressure should be more successful to the point where Jalen Hurts will get some time to think more often than not.

The biggest mystery for Alabama is what happens on offense. Giving the bizarre circumstances this week of showing Lane Kiffin on the door on his way to FAU and promoting Steve Sarkisian to offensive coordinator, where he will call plays for the first time in years, there is a bit of a question as to how much of Alabama’s offense may look different compared to under Kiffin. Will Sarkisian stick to what has been working or will he throw in some new wrinkles? That could be good or bad for Alabama, could catch Clemson off guard or completely blow up in Alabama’s face. Sarkisian is taking on a huge role in this championship game, and it will responsibility to find whatever cracks he can in Clemson’s defense and open them up.

Clemson destroying whatever is left of Miami, 42-0 at halftime

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Tempers were mildly flaring before Miami and Clemson even put on full pads. A pregame warm-up shouting match may have been the most fight we could see from Miami today. The Hurricanes are being dominated on their home field by the Tigers, who lead Miami 42-0 at the halftime break.

Clemson marched right down the field on the game’s opening possession. An eight-play, 82-yard drive was finished off with a 34-yard touchdown strike from DeShaun Watson to Jordan Leggett for a quick 7-0 lead. Miami looked to be ready to answer on the ensuing possession, but Brad Kaaya was picked off by Jadar Johnson just inside the Clemson 20-yard line. It took just five plays for Clemson to add a second touchdown with Wayne Gallman running for a five-yard score at the end of a quick 84-yard drive fueled by a 63-yard run by Watson to the Miami 8-yard line. It has not gotten any prettier for Miami.

Zac Brooks and Artavis Scott each pushed into the end zone in short-yardage situations for scores later in the first half, with the two goal-line runners combining for four yards and two touchdowns. At one point Clemson had three touchdown drives that covered more yardage than Miami’s total offensive yardage output, with the Tigers putting together three touchdown drives of at least 80 yards.

Clemson’s offense scored its fifth touchdown of the half with one more 80+ yard scoring drive when Watson ran in from six yards out. With time dwindling, Miami took to the air to try and move into any type of position for a field goal, but Malik Rosier was picked off by Cordrea Tankersley, who returned the interception 36 yards for one more crushing blow before halftime. Rosier replaced Kaaya after the Miami starting quarterback left the game for medical attention in the locker room after taking a big hit early in the second quarter.

This one is flat out ugly, and Al Golden is running out of time and excuses.

One-game suspension for Clemson TE Jordan Leggett

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Just as Jordan Leggett was becoming even more involved in Clemson’s offense, he’s gone and done, well, something.

The Tigers announced Wednesday that the true freshman has been suspended for tonight’s game against Georgia Tech.  “Unspecified violations of team rules,” of course, was the reason given for the punitive measure.

Orangeandwhite.com noted that, in the past two games, Leggett had played a season-high in snaps.  As it is, Leggett’s 10 receptions for 89 yards are second among Tiger tight ends, while his two receiving touchdowns are tied for third among all players.

A three-star member of Clemson’s 2013 recruiting class, Leggett was rated as the No. 13 tight end in the country coming out of Navarre, Fla.  He was an early enrollee and participated in spring practice.

Starting nickel back among those ruled out for Clemson Sat.

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Clemson released its injury report for Saturday’s game, and a key piece of its defensive puzzle will be missing.

Fortunately for the Tigers, though, the South Carolina school on the other sideline doesn’t come from the FBS level.

Korrin Wiggins, nursing a hamstring injury, has been ruled out of tomorrow’s game against FCS-level South Carolina State.  The safety (pictured, being hurdled over) serves as the Tigers’ starting nickel back.

The only other player listed on the two-deep portion of the depth chart listed as out is B.J. Goodson.  The backup middle linebacker is suffering from a concussion.

Tight ends Sam Cooper (knee) and Jordan Leggett (knee), along with backup cornerback Martin Jenkins (shoulder) are all listed as probable.