Top-ranked Clemson smacked Southern Conference foe The Citadel 49-0 on Saturday afternoon at Death Valley in its home opener.
It was the first shutout by a Tiger defense since 2016 against Ohio State on the CFP, 31-0. They also shutout S.C. State 59-0 and Syracuse 54-0 that year. The Tigers have gotten close several times since 2016 but typically gave up a score late in the game with younger players in the game.
Clemson held the Bulldogs to 162 yards of total offense and recorded eight tackles for a loss. The Citadel rushed 48 times for 86 yards, an average of 1.8 yards per carry, and passed for 76 yards.
The Tigers’ shutout showed the resiliency of a host of young players on the defense.
The biggest play for the Tiger defense came with 2:00 to play in the first quarter. Freshman Myles Murphy met Bulldog back Cooper Wallace in the backfield and forced a fumble that was promptly recovered by James Skalski who returned it for a 17-yard touchdown.
Murphy followed up his first game with another outstanding game with two tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
Sophomore Jake Venables led Clemson defenders with five tackles, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry. Other notable performances included freshman Keith Maguire who racked up three tackles at linebacker.
The lone sack of the game belonged to freshman Trenton Simpson. Freshman Bryan Bresee finished the game with two tackles and a pass breakup.
If the way these young players have contributed in the opening weeks of the season continues then Clemson fans have a lot to look forward to in the coming years.
The Tigers benefit from a bye week next weekend before they return to action in two Saturdays when they host Virginia at Memorial Stadium.