There is a reason why Alabama has the top-ranked defense in the country. Its defensive line, which has national defensive player of the year Jonathan Allen up front, is arguably one of the country’s best and the statistics back that up.
The Crimson Tide is second in the country with 50 sacks and fifth in tackles for loss (112). But what college football fans realized in the Tigers’ 31-0 victory over Ohio State this past Saturday is that Clemson is pretty good, too.
Led by All-American defensive tackle Carlos Watkins, the Tigers rank second nationally in tackles for loss (123) and third in sacks (49).
Clemson’s front four suffocated the Buckeyes all night, limiting them to 88 rushing yards, while recording 11 tackles for loss and three sacks. It seemed as if Watkins, Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell, Scott Pagano and Dexter Lawrence lived in the Ohio State backfield all night.
“We come into every game with a chip on our shoulder,” said Fiesta Bowl defensive player of the game end Clelin Ferrell. “That is just how we are. We want to be known as a great defensive line. We want to be known as dominant.
“I don’t think any of us expected us to come in here and shut out The Ohio State. I’m not being funny or nothing, but that is just crazy. They are a great team, but we put the work in and we expected ourselves to play well.”
Ferrell played a big role in why the Tigers (13-1) played so well. He recorded four tackles, three tackles for loss and one sack. He also harassed Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett all night.
Now the question is can the Tigers play like this against Alabama?
“I don’t know,” Ferrell said with a smile. “Every team is different. I was happy we had the three weeks off for this team because they do a lot of stuff. We just have to come out there and play a good game. We don’t have to play perfect in the national championship, we just have to play at a high level so that is what we are going to try and do.”
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