Seven times during Dabo Swinney’s 12 years at Clemson, the Tigers have pitched a shutout. One of those came this past Saturday in their 49-0 victory over The Citadel.
No one of course was surprised to the see the top-ranked team in the country dominate an FCS foe. However, the way in which the Clemson defense dominated the Bulldogs needs to be taken seriously.
The Citadel is a proud football program, one that has defeated South Carolina and Georgia Tech in recent years and gave Alabama fits as well. But they had no success against Clemson at Death Valley.
The Tigers’ defense shut down the Bulldogs’ triple option attack, limiting it to 86 rushing yards on 48 carries. They had no run longer than 17 yards and averaged just 1.8 yards per carry.
“The Citadel is a team that prides themselves in running the football and holding them to 1.8 yards per carry is quite an accomplishment,” Swinney said. “Two weeks in a row we have done a great job on third down defense, continue to pressure the quarterback with four sacks and was able to get a score.
“There were a lot of good things.”
Currently the Tigers’ defense ranks 12th nationally in third down defense.
“That was just a dominant game for four quarters. We played a ton of guys,” Swinney said. “I think we played thirteen linebackers and about very D-Lineman we had. It was really good to see those guys continue to play well.”
The Tigers (2-0) are playing defense like they always do under defensive coordinator Brent Venables. They are tough, aggressive and get after their opponents.
“We got some guys flying to the football,” Swinney said.
Once again, Clemson ranks in the top 10 nationally in most defensive categories. The Tigers are ninth in scoring defense (6.5 pts), ninth in total defense (246.0 yds.), sixth in rushing defense (61.5 yds.), tied for first in sacks (10) and second in tackles-for-loss (23).
“Again, I am just really, really pleased with what I have been able to see,” Swinney said. “I think we have been very disruptive up front. We got some good players that have been out, so to see these guys really develop right before our eyes is very encouraging.”
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