In last week’s win over Boston College, second-ranked Clemson held the Eagles to 113 total yards, it marked the seventh time this season the Tigers have held the opposition to under 300 yards and its is the third time they failed to reach 200 yards.
The Eagles had just nine yards rushing, the sixth time a team failed to get over the century mark on the ground. Clemson also had 10 tackles for loss and four sacks in the 20-point win. It was another dominating performance by its defense.
Defense is one of the common denominators when analyzing the top teams in the country. Fourth-ranked Michigan (No. 1), Clemson (No. 2) and top-ranked Alabama (No. 8) all rank in the top 10 nationally in total defense.
“All good defenses have to be good tacklers, that’s for sure,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said to Mark Packer on ESPNU radio Thursday. “I would say all of those teams are pretty good in the trenches and have the ability to have tackles for loss and create pressure on the quarterback and those type of things.”
Clemson (No. 3) and Alabama (No. 7) do rank in the top 10 team at stopping the run, while they’re tied for third nationally in sacks, and are in the top 10 in tackles for loss. Clemson is ranked No. 2 and Alabama is ranked No. 8.
What does all this mean? It means Clemson is the most efficient defense in the country as well as one of the best tackling defenses.
“That is an area where we have gotten better and better as the year as gone, just wrapping up and finishing tackles and bringing our feet and proper technique,” Swinney said. “We have done a pretty good job with that and getting off of our blocks and just pursuit, too.
“The effort that you have to have to get yourself in position to make some tackles if a guy does miss one. To have that type of pursuit that can cover it up.”