In a game where second-ranked Clemson had little trouble, defensive end Clelin Ferrell and the defensive line put together another dominant performance as the second-ranked Tigers rolled to a 38-7 victory over Georgia Southern Saturday at Death Valley.
Ferrell, a star among stars on the defensive line, has made his impact felt in his return to Clemson this season. Working along with Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence and Austin Bryant, Ferrell and the defensive line proved again why they are the most feared defensive front in the game of college football.
Ferrell led Clemson with 2.5 tackles for loss, including two sacks, to go along with five sacks for the Tigers’ defense as a unit.
“Anytime you can get five sacks on a triple-option team that’s huge,” Ferrell said after the game. “We had some good hits on the quarterback. Obviously, we were in kind of a bind with that, the trick play that was tough and even though they got into the red zone on that big play I feel we need to stop them, but being able to get five sacks on the offense that’s huge.”
Although the stars up front were a pivotal part of the game, the defense as a whole performed well. As a team, the defense held Georgia Southern to just 140 yards in the game. The triple-option offense of the Eagles had 60 yards through the air and were held to only 80 yards on 43 attempts on the ground. The Clemson defense held the Eagles to just 1.9 yards a carry.
“It was definitely nice to go out there and be successful against a triple-option team,” Ferrell said. “Obviously, that’s our second time playing that style offense and I feel like that’s going to give us momentum against a team who I think runs the offense the best in Georgia Tech.”
This Clemson defense is undoubtedly a tough one, but no team is perfect, as Ferrell believes the defense has had some faults along the 3-0 start of the year. One of which was a 40-yard pass from Georgia Southern’s Obe Fortune on a trick play which put the Eagles in the red zone. Even with these faults, the team’s talent level has prevailed.
“It just shows that we’re talented. It just shows the potential of a team,” Ferrell said. “It shows that even though we have good stretches of play and we’ve had success, but have still made many mistakes, it shows that we are talented enough to overcome those mistakes.
“Coach Swinney is getting us prepared for when we reach the top of the mountain and as you go on the room for error gets smaller and smaller.”
With this game in the rearview mirror, Ferrell and the rest of the Tigers can move on to ACC play which will open up next week. They will see a familiar offensive style in their next game as Georgia Tech runs the triple-option as well.
“We’re done with the first part of the season, now onto ACC play,” he said. “We’re onto our next goal which is to win the division. It’s going to be big to go in and hopefully get a head start in that against Georgia Tech.”
Clemson visits Georgia Tech next Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.