By Heath Bradley.
By Heath Bradley
CLEMSON — The Clemson defense came out early and set the tone in the Tigers’ 52-27 victory Saturday, holding a high powered Ball State offense to only 10 points in the first half.
The Tigers held the Cardinals to 159 yards on 30 plays in the opening period, while also intercepting two passes in front of 78,000 in Death Valley.
Clemson was able to turn both Ball State turnovers into points, scoring two touchdowns in the second quarter following interceptions from Stephone Anthony and Darius Robinson.
Robinson felt the key for the Tigers defensive success was their ability to play fast, while still playing under control, and within the scheme.
“We just came out and tried to play with good energy,” the cornerback said. “We tried to play hard and fast. We were not thinking too much, just trying to react and make plays. I feel like sometimes we think too much, we just have to play with technique and be confident in what we do.”
Energy was easy to find for Robinson and the Tigers. For the first time in 301 days, the Tigers ran down the Hill and played in front of the fans in Death Valley. According to Robinson, there is nothing like playing in Death Valley. Which gives the Tigers a home field advantage like no other.
“It is always a good feeling to play at home. You have the crowd behind you and a lot of momentum. It is a great feeling.”
After facing an Auburn team that chose to run the ball the majority of the time, the high-paced Ball State passing attack was a different look for the Clemson defense, and eliminating the big play was a focus for the Tigers entering the game.
“Eliminating deep balls, anytime you can get rid of the deep balls and keep everything in front of you, you have a good chance of handling it,” he said.
The Clemson defense succeeded and the Tigers left Death Valley with a 25-point victory. The Clemson defense held the Ball State offense to 69 plays, 27 less than its total from week one. The Clemson victory gave the Tigers their eighth straight victory at Memorial Stadium.