No. 3 Clemson (1-0) and No. 13 Auburn (1-0) dominated the lay-up line in their season-openers, throttling Kent State and Georgia Southern by a combined score of 97-10.
Now we get to see how they’ll fare against one another. Clemson hosts Auburn on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.
“In games like this, where both teams are going to put excellent defenses on the field, offenses now have a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of the quarterback,” former Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “The better you run the ball, the (more) burden you take off the quarterback. So I think in this game, whichever team can try to establish any kind of running game, is going to help the quarterback. I think it’ll eventually come down to the play of the quarterback, and both of them have inexperienced guys in Kelly Bryant and Jarrett Stidham.”
Bryant was 16-of-22 for 236 yards, one touchdown, and one interception against Kent State. He also ran seven times for 77 yards and a score and is already drawing comparisons to Deshaun Watson.
Bowden’s response? Slow down.
“No. 1, (Watson is) probably the best quarterback in Clemson history, but the level of competition that first week, for a lot of teams, you just can’t tell much,” Bowden said. “The only really pressure that Kelly Bryant had on him that first game was self-imposed pressure. He could have played average, he could have played poorly – and they still would have won the game. If he plays average or poorly in this game, they’ll probably lose the game.
“So the windows are going to be a little bit smaller, the reaction time by the secondary is going to be faster, the rush is going to be more in his face – there’s going to be a lot of things that will challenge him,” Bowden continued. “There will be additional pressure in this game that he has not faced yet. Now if he does well in this one and continues, then yeah, you might make some Deshaun Watson comparisons. But you really can’t off of the first week.”