Defense steps up for No. 3 Clemson vs. No. 13 Auburn
11 September, 2017, 00:18 | Author: Pamela Mathis
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn confirmed in his "Tiger Talk" weekly radio call-in show that Johnson hadn't practiced during the week.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney's team is defending a national championship in 2017, but Swinney felt like he traveled back in time Saturday night. Hats off to those guys - 11 sacks and 14 tackles for loss.
Clemson limited Auburn to 117 yards of total offense.
Stidham completed 13 of 24 passes for 79 yards and was sacked 11 times, finishing with 18 rushes for -42 yards (sacks count as rush attempts in college football).
Grading Auburn's performance and handing out game balls after a 14-6 loss at No. 3 Clemson. While the broadcasters spoke about Auburn throwing effectively on first down, when Clemson would be focused on the run, that didn't actually happen very often.
Auburn marched down to the 1-yard line in its opening drive behind new quarterback Jarrett Stidham, yet was stuffed at the goal line on third down and instead had to settle for a field goal. With him at the helm, the Tigers advanced 4 more yards before missing a 46-yard field goal.
Following the missed field goal, Auburn took over at their own 29-yard line - but the Tigers' defense held Auburn to only one first down before forcing a 43-yard punt.
Bryant returned to the game for Clemson football and led the offense to their first points with 48 seconds left in the first half. But it's just a whole different deal to do it under the lights.
We don't get a lot of those sacks without the back seven doing their job. They probably would have understood if he tried to minimize the number of hits he took from the Auburn defense, which were numerous.
Auburn outgained Clemson 74-6 in the first quarter and Clemson had only 40 yards of offense with four minutes left in the first half, but Clemson struck late to grab a 7-6 halftime lead.
So, what does this win mean for Clemson in the long run? All it took was a matchup with the Clemson defense to deflate the enthusiasm. "Defensively, there's nothing wrong with winning games on defense". From the trenches to the secondary, Clemson completely suffocated Auburn's offense on Saturday night.
Auburn didn't necessarily get off to a bad start on offense, either.
Lamar Jackson and the Louisville Cardinals will test this Tigers' defense. Before I could get the question out, Malzahn said, "We'll get better offensively". "It's a different animal next week going against the Heisman Trophy victor - it's like playing against 12".
While the defensive front got credit for the sacks, several of them were coverage sacks. Clemson put together a 12-play, 88-yard drive that ended in a Kelly Bryant 3-yard touchdown run. This defense is undoubtedly championship caliber.
The Clemson linebacker tied a career high in tackles in the first half with 10, and finished with career high 14 total tackles when the game was over. You have to find ways to win games, especially early in the season, and I'm just really proud of our guys, particularly on defense.
Neither Auburn or Clemson had a hard test in Week 1.
The Tigers' starting quarterback was on the ground for a little while before getting back up. Now a resident of Orangeburg County, he reports on Clemson sports as a correspondent for The Times and Democrat.
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