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Jadeveon Clowney’s 2013 debut wasn’t a four-star thriller

Nick Bromberg
Dr. Saturday

Short of a six sack evening, Jadeveon Clowney's first game of the season was going to be a letdown after all of the hype surrounding him this summer.

It certainly wasn't a six sack game and it wasn't an auspicious debut, either. Clowney spent much of the game shuttling back and forth between the line of scrimmage and the sideline, seeming to never be able to catch his breath between plays, hands at times cemented to his hips between plays.

After the game, Clowney knew what would be the topic of discussion, and said he had struggled Wednesday night through Thursday morning with a stomach virus.

In the third quarter, the Heisman hopeful accelerated the frequency of those trips to and from the sideline and in the fourth quarter before lightning caused a delay at Williams-Brice Stadium, Clowney briefly limped off with a cramp.

When he was on the field, Clowney flushed North Carolina quarterback Brynn Renner on occasion but also overpursued at times and looked gassed at others.. When he was matched up with North Carolina's All-ACC tackle James Hurst, Hurst more than held his own.

On one play in the fourth quarter, Clowney was matched up with North Carolina backup right tackle Kiaro Holts. Clowney moved to the inside and Holts pushed him there as Renner moved out to the right. As Clowney trailed Renner after the pass was thrown, Holts (unnecessarily) went to the ground to block Clowney low from behind and Clowney tumbled over him. The play resulted in a 15 yard penalty for clipping.

Yes, it was a very hot evening in Columbia, and North Carolina likely schemed around Clowney as much as they could. Stomach bug or not, the kneejerk reactions shouldn't commence. One game -- especially one in August -- shouldn't derail much, except maybe show just how unrealistic thoughts of a 20 sack season are.

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