Defensive end Xavier Thomas feels like Clemson’s defense is being a little disrespected as they get set for next Monday’s College Football Playoff National Championship against LSU.
Ever since the Tigers knocked off Ohio State to advance to the title game on Dec. 28, the talk amongst most of the national media is how unstoppable LSU’s offense is and some wonder if Clemson, who leads the nation in scoring defense and passing defense, can slow the Bayou Bengals down.
“We feel disrespected a little bit,” Thomas said Monday as Clemson hosted its own media day at the Poe Indoor Practice Facility in Clemson. “It is just the hype that their offense has. They have basically killed everybody but Auburn this whole year in regards to the defensive matchups.
“They have really just blown everybody out, so that is the credit they deserve, and we will have to try and stop them in the championship game.”
LSU is averaging 48.9 points per game and has scored at least 36 points on every team they have played with the exception of Auburn, who held them to 23 points. Led by Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, LSU scored 37 points and had over 500 yards of offense against Georgia and scored 42 points and had 500 more yards against Florida. They are both top 10 defenses and Georgia ranks second to Clemson in scoring defense.
“They have earned that as well with their play throughout the season. They have earned what everyone is talking about,” Clemson corner Derion Kendrick said. “We have something to prove, they have something to prove. We just have to wait until that moment.”
Like LSU, Clemson’s defense proved it deserves some respect, too. Clemson ranks second nationally in total defense and is ranked in the top 10 or top 15 in every major defensive category.
“It is just an opportunity to prove on the national scale again about who we are and what this team is about,” linebacker James Skalski said. “If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best and arguably they are the best right now. They are a phenomenal offense. Joe Burrow, that guys is unreal. Everyone of their skill guys are unreal from their wide receivers to their tight ends. They are so good. Their O-line won that award, everyone is good over there.”
However, Clemson is still a little surprised no one is giving them a chance to stop LSU’s offense.
“I like being the underdog,” defensive end Justin Foster said. “I am not really expecting anyone to give us any credit from everything that has been going on this year. I like being the underdog and playing our game.”
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!