Many believe Clemson’s defense has no shot at stopping LSU

Many believe Clemson’s defense has no shot at stopping LSU

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Many believe Clemson’s defense has no shot at stopping LSU

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Tale of the tape: Clemson’s defense vs. LSU’s offense

If you watch ESPN, listen to ESPNU Radio or maybe read some of the national websites, most believe Clemson’s defense has no shot at stopping quarterback Joe Burrow and LSU’s offense in the College Football Playoff National Championship on Jan. 13.

The Bayou Bengals are the hot pick after scoring 63 points on Oklahoma in last week’s national semifinals at the Peach Bowl. Burrow threw seven touchdown passes, ran for another and tossed the ball around the yard for 493 yards in less than three quarters. Wide receiver Justin Jefferson caught 14 passes for 227 yards and four touchdowns.

Las Vegas opened the line at 3.5 points and it quickly moved up to 5.5 as everyone jumped on the LSU bandwagon.

However, let’s not underestimate Clemson and defensive coordinator Brent Venables. He has two weeks to figure out a way to stop Burrow and LSU’s high-flying offense, or at least slow it down, and if there is anyone who can do it, it’s Venables. Ask Alabama. No one gave the Tigers much of a shot last year to slow down Tua Tagovailoa and the Crimson Tide with all of their great receivers, either.

Even with Clemson’s great defensive front last season, the Tigers were a 6.5-point underdog to Alabama. I think we all know the final results of that matchup.

If you are still not convinced, ask Ohio State. The Buckeyes, before last week’s Fiesta Bowl, were the nation’s No. 1 scoring offense. Clemson held Ohio State to a season-low 23 points.

The Buckeyes still lead the nation in red zone touchdowns. They were 0-3 against the Tigers.

Ohio State was converting a nation’s best 56.8 percent on third down prior to the Fiesta Bowl, and the Tigers held them to 38.9 percent. The Buckeyes still lead the nation in third down offense at 55.2 percent.

Though it might be the best, LSU is not the first high-powered offense Clemson has seen this year or any year during the Tigers’ run to national prominence. They stifled Oklahoma and Baker Mayfield in the 2016 Orange Bowl when no one else could. The Sooners scored a season-low 17 points in that game.

When playing these unworldly offenses the last five seasons, the Tigers have given up 16 (2018 Alabama), 17 (2015 Oklahoma) and 23 points (2019 Ohio State).

Here is a breakdown, from a statistical standpoint, when LSU has the football:

LSU’s scoring offense: 48.9 points (1st nationally)

Clemson’s scoring defense: 11.5 points (1st nationally)

LSU’s total offense per game:  564.1 (1st nationally)

Clemson’s total defense per game: 264. 1 (2nd nationally)

LSU’s rushing offense per game: 166.9 (60th nationally)

Clemson’s rushing defense per game: 112.6 (16th nationally)

LSU’s passing offense per game: 397.2 (2nd nationally)

Clemson’s passing defense per game: 151.5 (1st nationally)

LSU’s yards per rush: 4.86 (32nd nationally)

Clemson’s yards per rush allowed: 3.1 (9th nationally)

LSU’s yards per attempt: 10.7 (5th nationally)

Clemson’s yards per attempt allowed: 5.5 (1st nationally)

LSU’s yards per play: 7.91 (2nd nationally)

Clemson’s yards per play allowed: 4.16 (2nd nationally)

LSU’s completion percentage offense: 76.3 percent (1st nationally)

Clemson’s completion percentage defense: 52.1 percent (8th nationally)

LSU’s sacks allowed: 30 (95th nationally)

Clemson’s sacks: 42 (12th nationally)

LSU’s rushing TDs: 31 (23rd nationally)

Clemson’s rushing TDs allowed: 9 (tied for 5th nationally)

LSU’s passing touchdowns: 56 (1st nationally)

Clemson’s passing TDs allowed: 9 (tied for 1st nationally)

LSU’s interceptions thrown: 7 (tied for 25th nationally)

Clemson’s interceptions: 19 (3rd nationally)

LSU’s lost Turnovers: 12 (tied for 8th nationally)

Clemson’s forced turnovers: 30 (2nd nationally)

LSU’s third down offense: 50.9 percent (5th nationally)

Clemson’s third down defense: 31.5 percent (12th nationally)

LSU’s red zone TDs: 55 (2nd nationally)

Clemson’s red zone TDs allowed: 10 (1st nationally)

LSU’s red zone TD percentage offense: 78.6 (5th nationally)

Clemson’s red zone TD percentage defense: 35.7 (2nd nationally)

Clemson is going back to the national championship game after once again winning the Fiesta Bowl over Ohio State. Get your official national championship and Fiesta Bowl champs gear right here!

Shop for 2019 Clemson Tigers Fiesta Bowl Champs Fan Gear at Fanatics

Shop for 2019 Clemson Tigers Fiesta Bowl Champs Fan Gear at Fanatics

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