After three seasons of sparse but impressive quarterback play, senior Cole Stoudt finally got his chance to begin the season as Clemson's starting signal-caller. Unfortunately, things didn't go as swimmingly as he would have wanted.
Stoudt finished the game completing 15 of his 28 passing attempts for 130 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception in a less-than-spectacular performance during the Tigers' 45-21 loss at the hands of the Georgia Bulldogs. He entered the game with lofty expectations surrounding him—much like this tweet from former Cleveland Browns general manager Phil Savage:
While Stoudt certainly didn't appear to live up to the hype, he didn't have much help from his supporting cast. Early in the game, the quarterback looked impressively accurate; however, his receivers simply couldn't seem to hang on to anything.
David Hale of ESPN.com tweeted his thoughts on the game's early action:
Cole Stoudt looking decent. Cole Stoudt's receivers, not so much.— David Hale (@DavidHaleESPN) August 30, 2014
Despite some mishaps from the receiving corps, Stoudt was erratic at times during the first quarter. This led head coach Dabo Swinney to bring freshman Deshaun Watson into the game—as expected—early in the second quarter.
Well, it didn't take long for Watson to cause some disruption by leading an immediate touchdown drive. Jon Solomon of CBS Sports tweeted a statistics comparison to that point in the game:
Deshaun Watson's 1st college drive: 2 of 3, 59 yards, 1 TD pass, 7-yard run. Yeah, he's good. Cole Stoudt is 3 of 10 for 39 yards.— Jon Solomon (@JonSolomonCBS) August 30, 2014
Travis Haney of ESPN.com weighed in as well:
Cole Stoudt's starting career may be short. That was throw of the day from Deshaun Watson.— Travis Haney (@TravHaneyESPN) August 30, 2014
Stoudt came back into the game later, but just couldn't get any kind of momentum going, as Georgia ran away with the game.
We'll see if Stoudt keeps a firm grip on the starting position going forward. While his performance wasn't stellar, it may not warrant a change just yet. Although, we can expect a forthcoming debate on the matter.
Clemson doesn't have much time to tinker around with its lineup, as tough contests against No. 1 Florida State and No. 23 North Carolina are on the horizon after the Tigers' home opener against South Carolina State next week.