Clemson Defense Pounces on Auburn

TALL TASK

Clemson also did not seem to respect Stidham as a run threat, which, to some extent, hurt Auburn's running game.

Defensive end Austin Bryant contributed four of Clemson's 11 sacks.

"Welcome to 1988 - that's what it felt like tonight", head coach Dabo Swinney said. Tigers coach Gus Malzahn was "hopeful" that Johnson would be able to play against Clemson.

"It's been a long time since we've played that dominant on defense in a long time".

Quarterback Jarrett Stidham completed 13 of 24 passes for just 79 yards and took 11 sacks - one shy of the Clemson school record for a single game. He faked a handoff and sprinted 55 yards for a touchdown on the second offensive play, stepping out of a last-gasp tackle attempt at the 15.

Clemson limited Auburn to 117 yards of total offense. He also had 132 rushing yards and three more scores.

Here's what I saw as Clemson won, 14-6.

Clemson fans probably breathed a sigh of relief, then, when Bryant came back out with the first-team offense. His first-down passes went for -1, 9, 6, and 5 yards, plus 3 incompletions. After a huge hit knocked him out of the game in the second quarter, he returned to lead the Tigers to back-to-back touchdown drives, which ultimately decided the contest.

"They just brought some people we couldn't get to", senior right guard Braden Smith said. "That's what he's (Bryant) been in practice". They did a lot of good things on defense. "We thought he'd do that - it's one thing to think it, it's another to see it". Those drives ended with punt, punt, half, punt, downs, punt, punt, punt and punt.

Clemson forced Auburn backward on their opening drive, allowing minus 8 yards on their opening drive of the second half. But that drive stalled inside the 10-yard line.

Auburn relied nearly exclusively on a less than fully healthy Kamryn Pettway and the bulky running back put forth a yeoman's effort in his return to the field. While Clemson outgained Auburn in yardage, Auburn continuously had an advantage in time of possession.

Clemson would beat the Virginia Tech Hokies in the 2016 ACC Championship Game. Here are three takeaways from Clemson football's 14-6 victory over Auburn.

"This game's all about momentum", said linebacker Dorian O'Daniel, who led Clemson with 14 tackles.

Jackson continued his torrid start to the 2017 season by torching North Carolina for 525 total yards and six touchdowns on Saturday afternoon. The Tigers take to the road for the first time this season against defending Heisman Trophy victor Lamar Jackson and the No. 17 Louisville Cardinals (2-0, 1-0 ACC).

"There's nothing wrong with winning games on defense, and we've demonstrated that", Swinney said. "It's a different animal next week going against the Heisman Trophy victor - it's like playing against 12". "All that matters is we get the win". Late in the second quarter, quarterback Kelly Bryant went down with an injury and Memorial Stadium went to a hush.

"They have a great defense", Stidham said.

It wasn't easy for the defending national champions, but the Clemson Tigers did manage to hold off the visiting Auburn Tigers on Saturday night at Death Valley.

Auburn's defensive front will force Bryant into a couple of game-changing mistakes, set up the offense in good field position and the SEC variety of Tigers will spring the upset. Roof was a bright spot for the defense, as he recorded two tackles (both for a loss) and two sacks.

Auburn was without junior tailback Kerryon Johnson on Saturday as he continues to suffer from a hamstring injury suffered last weekend in the season opener. Clemson is 1-and-1 in those two games, their only loss coming against Pittsburgh.

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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