A look at Clemson’s next opponent, Charleston Southern

While there is still much to say about the season-opening loss to Duke, it’s time for the Tigers to prepare for the next matchup, the Charleston Southern Buccaneers.

What usually would be a game to treat likely has become more critical for the Tigers with a 0-1 start. This will be the first meeting between the two schools, separated by a three-hour drive on Interstate 385.

Since 2002, the Buccaneers are 0-26 against FBS schools. During that span, their opponents averaged 53 points per game while averaging 9 points. Only twice did the Buccaneers come within one possession.

The Buccaneers haven’t had much success on the FCS level, with only two playoff appearances since 1991, when the program started.

Gabe Giardina won his first game as the new head coach, escaping an upset by D-II school North Greenville. This is Giardina’s third stint on the sidelines at Charles Southern, first as a head coach. His coaching career started in 2005 at Alabama as a Graduate Assistant, eventually landing his first head coaching job in 2017 with Albany State.

The team is young, with 27 first-year students on the roster. Girdina brought five transfers with him from Albany State, including his starting quarterback, Kaleb Jackson.

“It’s an inexperienced team overall. That’s been a big challenge,” Girdina said. “We have to learn how to overcome adversity. It’s different when you are a freshman and have never played and you make a mistake. How are you going to respond? With a lot of players, we just don’t know yet.”

This is a perfect tune-up game for Clemson to find a rhythm offensively. Monday night’s loss was filled with mistakes, and the offense didn’t look prepared. Garret Riley and Cade Klubnik from this game are playing against a defense with all new starters.

Nothing less than a blowout for the Tigers.

Story originally appeared on Clemson Wire