But that wasn’t the case in the Tigers’ Thursday night showdown, as the they came up strong on the defensive side of the ball, as they limited Tech’s big plays on offense to help guide the Tigers to a 55-31 victory.
With that being said, here’s a look at how the Tigers’ defense graded out against the Yellow Jackets:
Defensive line: A
The defensive line kept themselves cleaner in the trenches and were able to consistently overcome Tech’s vicious cut blocks, an essential element for option offense lines. Vic Beasley, Grady Jarrett and the rest of the Tigers’ defensive line was active all game long, with Tech only having one leading rusher over 100 yards, while the rest had 30 yards rushing or less.
Outside of several long runs, the linebackers played great textbook option defense, as Stephone Anthony, Spencer Shuey and Quandon Christian kept Tech from breaking too many long runs and got them off of the field on third down, something that’s always a concern when playing the Yellow Jackets. But Clemson’s linebackers answered the challenge of facing the option and kept it under wraps for most of the night.
Bashuad Breeland was the star of Clemson’s secondary, as he broke up two passes and intercepted one of them. Breeland was also physical when coming up in run support, and showed great tackling ability in the open field. While Clemson’s corners played well as a whole, Clemson’s safety play does remain a concern, however, as Travis Blanks continues to take bad angles in pass coverage and is late providing help over the top. Blanks’ play could continue to open the door for true freshmen Jayron Kearse and Korrin Wiggins.