On Tuesday during his interview with the media, Clemson linebacker Dorian O’Daniel said the goal in Blacksburg, Va., was the same as it was in Louisville — “to leave no doubt.” On Saturday night, the Tigers did just that as they became the first team to ever win three games over top-15 opponents before the month of October.
Second-ranked Clemson (5-0, 3-0) shut down No. 12 Virginia Tech (4-1, 0-1), winning 31-17 on Saturday night at Lane Stadium. The Clemson defense suffocated the Hokie offense all night.
Virginia Tech entered Saturday’s game with one of the most dangerous offenses in the ACC led by Cam Phillips and quarterback Josh Jackson. Jackson entered the game ranked first among ACC quarterbacks in passing efficiency.
The smothering Tiger defense held Jackson and company to a season-low 342 yards, allowing only two touchdowns and holding Phillips to less than 75 yards receiving.
Clemson’s defense also forced a season-high three turnovers. Jackson threw a pair of fourth-quarter interceptions and the Tigers forced a fumble in the opening quarter.
The catalyst for the Tiger defense, Dorian O’Daniel, had yet another stellar night at linebacker. O’Daniel racked up 10 tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss, a fumble recovery and an interception for a touchdown.
At the start of the fourth quarter the Hokies started to gain some momentum with a touchdown that cut the Clemson lead to 24-10, then came up with a big stop to get a shot at making it a one-score game with 11 minutes to play.
On second-and-10, Jackson attempted to complete a screen pass to the boundary. The ball was tipped up and intercepted by O’Daniel who returned the ball 22 yards for a touchdown.
It marked the graduate linebacker’s second interception and second touchdown of the season, and it gave Clemson a 31-10 lead while deflating the Hokie crowd and team. He became the first Tiger defender with two interceptions for touchdowns in the same season since Arlington Nunn had three in 1990.
On Saturday night O’Daniel further cemented himself as the leader of the Clemson defense and looks to continue his success next week at home against Wake Forest.