On a day when the Clemson offense wasn’t so high powered against the Eagles, the defense stepped to the plate and brought the heat to keep the Eagles from getting into the end zone. The defense even put the nail in the coffin with a score of its own in the fourth quarter to seal the Tigers’ victory against Boston College. This Clemson defense has exceeded the expectations it was given before the start of 2013, and it’s gradually making a name for itself, especially along its front seven.
Here are the grades for the Tigers’ defensive performance against the Eagles:
Defensive Line: A
Defensive end Vic Beasley, or should we say “Beastley,” continues to assert himself along the defensive line, coming up with yet another sack to increase his sack total to nine on the season. The nation’s sack leader also returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown thanks to a strip sack by linebacker Tony Steward in the fourth quarter, a move that clipped the wings of the BC Eagles. Grady Jarrett and Deshawn Williams asserted themselves in the middle of the line, helping limit the nation’s leading rusher in Eagles running back Andre Williams to 70 yards on 24 carries. Corey Crawford manned the other side at defensive end opposite Beasley and came up with one of the Tigers’ sacks on the day. The fact that Clemson is managing to get pressure with its front four alone should heed caution for opposing offenses down the line.
The biggest improvement by far for this defense has to be the play at linebacker. Stephone Anthony and Spencer Shuey continue to show a nose for the football, as the pair combined for 14 total tackles on the day, with Anthony coming up with a sack on a well timed blitz. Their communication and adjustments at the line also played an invaluable role in limiting Williams to just 70 rushing yards on 24 carries and only allowing 92 yards on the ground against the Eagles. Quandon Christian also came up with five tackles on the day.
The secondary continued to have a solid performance and didn’t give up too many chunk plays in the passing game, holding BC quarterback Chase Rettig to just 192 yards and a touchdown. Freshman Jayron Kearse got the start at safety, and while he looked good and showed flashes, he gave up two long touchdowns and was relieved by starter Travis Blanks, who was battling a PCL going into the game. Afterwards, the secondary didn’t give up anymore touchdown passes or deep balls. Freshman nickelback Korrin Wiggins had his best game yet, recording his first career interception. Safety Robert Smith also played in the box for much of the game, recording nine tackles in run support to shut down BC’s running attack. While Eagles receiver Alex Amidon had six catches for 121 yards and a touchdown, he was the only receiver that made any kind of impact. No other player for Boston College had more than 20 receiving yards.