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The Tigers' two best playmakers played a limited role against USC.
First of all, credit is due to USC kicker Adam Yates, who was a touchback machine against Clemson, not allowing a single return.
He was one part of the equation in terms of taking the ball out of WR/KR Sammy Watkins' hands. The other? A combination of a USC defense that got consistent pressure and covered well, and a Clemson team that didn't do enough to get its best players the ball.
In fact, Watkins and Hopkins combined for just five touches in a crucial game.
Outside of one electrifying 43-yard TD, Hopkins was invisible. He had no other catches in the game and had a big, wide-open third-down drop.
Watkins didn't fare much better, making four catches but racking up just 37 yards. He didn't factor much in the passing game and did nothing with the ball in space.
Clemson should have done a better job involving both players in the short passing game with screens, outs and slants.
Instead, their two best playmakers totaled fewer receiving yards than USC's Nick Jones and Kenny Miles.