Saturday, August 4, 2012

Clemson Football: Tigers With Sammy Watkins vs Without

The Tigers (of Clemson) will be without their best player against Auburn after head coach Dabo Swinney suspended Sammy Watkins for an off season arrest.

The true freshman burst onto the national scene last year as Clemson was riding an 8-0 start to the season. This preseason Watkins was voted ACC Player of the Year by the media.

Now the Tigers have to face an SEC team in Auburn, who thrashed a solid Virginia team in the same building eight months ago, without their biggest play maker.

“I told Sammy this past May that there would be a high end [number of games] and a low end, and it would be up to him as to the length of his suspension,” coach Dabo Swinney said in a prepared statement. “He has done everything we have asked and then some, so the two-game suspension is the low end."

Here is what Watkins did on average in Clemson wins vs losses:

Wins: 117 yds total offense, 1 TD per game
Losses: 92 yds total offense, 0.67 TD per game

Watkins had 160 yards in a losing effort at Georgia Tech driving the average of the three losses he played in way up. The other two losses he had 48 and 68 total yards.

His best game of the year came against?

Auburn. 155 yards receiving, 44 yards rushing, and 2 touchdowns.

The sophomore's stats last season don't bear a huge difference in Clemson winning or losing, but defenses must know where he is at all times on the field and Auburn was likely to provide a second defender to his side of the field after getting torched a year ago.

Auburn DC Brian Van Gorder can now devote another player to stopping Andre Ellington on the ground where this game will truly be won or lost.

Clemson averaged 183 yards per game on the ground in 10 wins, including 238 vs Auburn to just 98 in four losses.

While Clemson has a solid receiving corps without Watkins, I think their chances of beating Auburn just took a big hit.

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