It was a dominant performance for No. 2 Clemson Saturday as the Tigers put up 77 points in a 77-16 rout of Louisville at Death Valley. While the offensive efficiency was impressive, Clemson’s defensive performance was just as impressive, allowing only 16 points in fifteen Louisville possessions.
As a team, the defense allowed 312 yards, while also sacking the quarterback six times as part of nine tackles for loss and causing three turnovers. One of the three turnovers was a pick-six by linebacker Isiah Simmons.
“I’ve been thinking about this since I dropped my first opportunity,” said the redshirt sophomore. “I was thinking ‘I gotta make up for one, I gotta make up for one’ and when this time came, I felt like I was due for one. It was a really good feeling.”
Simmons found his opportunity early in the second quarter when he jumped a quick out and made a play on the ball. He found daylight in front of him and was able to return the ball 27-yards untouched for the touchdown.
“In certain situations they’re really big on number two running a quick out and they hit him a lot, so I kind of anticipated it coming,” said Simmons. “I thought the guy was going to catch the ball, the ball came really fast at me. I just took advantage of my opportunity to the fullest.”
Simmons’ touchdown was the first of his career and his first interception. While the team’s second leading tackler on the season had a strong day, the defense as a whole performed well.
“It looked like the defensive line had a lot of fun today,” Simmons said. “It’s always a goal of ours week by week to get the game started at the line of scrimmage and in the trenches as we say. We always want to be physical and disrupt the quarterbacks timing as much as we can.
“Whether it’s coming from a safety blitz, corner blitz, some type of way we want to show a lot of pressure and make sure we can try and disrupt things because then it throws off either their run game or pass game. You can’t do one without the other.”
Clemson remains undefeated after the Louisville game and the defense has been hot of late. While the group is performing well on a weekly basis, the effort put forth remains the same.
“It doesn’t seem like people are getting complacent with what’s going on,” said Simmons. “I think everyone is still hungry for more and I think that’s what’s keeping the team as a whole going.”
Clemson’s defense will try to keep it going next week against Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass., as the Tigers have an opportunity to clinch the ACC’s Atlantic Division with a win.