Three times this year Clemson has had a quick change of possession inside its 10-yard line and all three times its opponent has failed to score a single point.
“You got to have a blue collar (mentality) and just put your hands in the dirt and get after it,” Clemson safety Tanner Muse said. “There is no backing up, wherever your heels are as far as you go. You are always on your toes going forward.”
Last week, Syracuse went backwards as it started two drives inside the Clemson 10 and did not score a single point. Mario Goodrich intercepted a Tommy DeVito pass at the 4-yard line to stymie an Orange drive that started at the 9, while the Tigers had a goal line stand on another series after Syracuse started at the 3.
Syracuse advanced the football no further than the Clemson 2 before getting shut down.
“We were really pleased with the goal line stands we had,” Muse said. “It is really hard to keep someone out of the end zone when they start inside the ten. But we really pride ourselves on that and not giving people anything.
“We are always a little upset as well with field goals. We are trying to block those as well.”
The top-ranked Tigers, who host Charlotte on Saturday at Memorial Stadium, have allowed just four scores in nine trips for the opponent it its red zone (the 20-yard line and in). So far, they have given up just two touchdowns in those nine red zone opportunities.
“Just getting off the field and knowing what we did and accomplished, you are just kind of relieved because everything your worked for the whole week paid off,” Muse said. “You know you have to just get back to it and work as hard so you can do it again.”
Though stressful, Muse says getting stops down near the goal line is a lot of fun, too.
“You get your blood going because you don’t want them to score. But it is a lot of fun,” he said. “Being in those close quarters, there is a lot of hanging around and a lot of guys in the back seven don’t get to do that as much. So, getting in the box and banging around is a lot of fun.”
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