Venables mixes things up as defense stifles Miami in first half

Venables mixes things up as defense stifles Miami in first half


Venables mixes things up as defense stifles Miami in first half


There was a lot of hype surrounding D’Eriq King entering No. 7 Miami’s game against top-ranked Clemson on Saturday night, and rightfully so as the transfer quarterback from Houston came into the contest having completed 67 percent of his passes for 736 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions through the Hurricanes’ first three games of the season.

But with the exception of one big play on the ground, Clemson’s defense dominated King and the rest of Miami’s offense in the first two quarters while the Tigers’ attack built a 21-10 lead in the first half of the primetime matchup at Death Valley.

Defensive coordinator Brent Venables mixed things up, going with a 3-2-6 defense featuring three down defensive linemen and an extra safety, and it worked as Clemson limited Miami to just 79 yards of total offense and three first downs in the opening half. The Hurricanes’ offense had a hard time staying on the field, possessing the ball for only 8 minutes and 17 seconds, and did not have much success when they were on the field, running only 21 plays while averaging a meager 3.8 yards per play.

Venables was very aggressive as he dialed up blitzes early and often, and the Tigers were able to pressure King on a consistent basis in the first half, notching three sacks – the same number Miami had allowed in its first three games.

Linebacker Baylon Spector paced the defense with 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss, while defensive ends Justin Mascoll and Myles Murphy posted a sack and a half sack, respectively.

The lone points Miami scored on offense in the first half came via a Jose Borregales 42-yard field goal, which was set up by a 56-yard rush by King late in the second quarter. Prior to that play, the Hurricanes had only 18 yards of total offense. Otherwise, the Tigers did a great job of bottling up and containing King, who went 4-for-12 passing for 37 yards in the first half.

— Photo courtesy USA Today Sports Network

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