January 21, 2019

Tigers Takin’ Care of Business

It seems as if this is becoming the norm if it hasn’t already. Hype surrounds a massive game that pits Clemson against a ranked opponent. Some analysts and experts doubt Clemson and pick the other team. The game starts, and Clemson begins a dominating performance to silence any critics. It wasn’t too long ago, that a massive game for Clemson was getting past Georgia Tech on a sunny afternoon in Death Valley. Now, dominating ranked teams and playing in title games is a norm.

Clemson running back Tavien Feaster (28) scores.  Photo by GWINN DAVIS

This past week vs Virginia Tech was no different. College Gameday had announced that it would be coming to Blacksburg, VA only to create a more intense atmosphere. It marks the second game of the year that Gameday and its crew had been to a game Clemson has played in.

Enter Sandman blasted out of the PA system, and every one of the fans of the sellout crowd was on their feet. Even with all of the noise, chaos, and energy, the Tigers dominated in a way a defending national champion would. Kelly Bryant threw for 186 yards and a touchdown. That lone touchdown pass came midway through the first quarter. The Hokie defense made a critical error in coverage and Tavien Feaster punished them for it. Bryant hit a wide open Feaster for 60 yards and the games first touchdown. Bryant also led the team in rushing yards with 94 on 19 carries. Just before halftime came the Tigers capped off a 6 play 75-yard drive with a touchdown. CJ Fuller punched it in for the Tigers, and just like that the Tigers are up 17-3 at the half.

Clemson defensive back Ryan Carter (31) Photo: Gwinn Davis

The Tigers offense went a quick three and out to start the second half which allowed the Hokies to remain within striking distance. On the Hokies following drive Dexter Lawrence forces Tech running back Travon McMillian to fumble and O’Daniel recovered for the Tigers. On third and one Kelly Bryant rushed 34 yards to the Hokie 6 yard line and a first down for the Tigers. Three plays later, Feaster walked it in for the Tigers second rushing touchdown of the night. Virginia Tech’s first touchdown of the night came early in the fourth quarter as Sean Savoy punched it in from two yards out.

Clemson defensive lineman Clelin Ferrell (99) and defensive lineman Christian Wilkins (42) Gwinn Davis

The Tigers were up 24-10, but a punt early in the fourth by the Tigers put a little life back into the crowd at Lane Stadium. That life seemed to disappear just a few seconds later when Dorian O’Daniel intercepted a pass from freshman quarterback Josh Jackson and took it 22 yards to the house. The interception return is O-Daniel’s second on the season. The Tigers were out of reach, up 31-10 and fans began to file out. Clemson improved to 5-0 and 3-0 in ACC play.

Shortly after the game had ended Dabo and the team was dancing in an opponents locker room yet again. The toughest remaining game on the Tigers schedule this year will be in Raleigh, NC as the Tigers take on the N.C. State Wolfpack. Although, for now, the Tigers take put their focus on a one-loss Wake Forest team who feels as though they can upset a Tiger team fresh off a huge win in Blacksburg.

But, if there is one thing we know about this Tigers team, its that no one takes them by surprise.

3rd Down Defense – The numbers and the players

Through 2 games here’s what the 3rd down looks like numerically:

and here are the players making the stops when the opponents are not successful on 3rd downs:

The average drive against Clemson defense

I realize it’s only 2 games in, Kent State is a pseudo FBS team that played four corners and Auburn doesn’t light up the scoreboard.  That said, the numbers below are impressive.

Huge challenge this week with Lamar Jackson and Louisville.

Here is what the average drive for opponents have looked like in the first two games (24 drives):

Featured image courtesy gwinndavisphotos.com

All 11 sacks from Saturday

Couldn’t fit them all in on Twitter, but there is all 11 sacks from Saturday.

FYI – 2nd clip where intentional grounding was called is officially listed as sack.

Featured image courtesy gwinndavisphotos.com

3rd Down Defense – The numbers & players

As with everything we thrown out this week, there should be a competition disclaimer on the information below.

That said, the numbers are not out of line with what the Tigers typically have done in the last several seasons.


Below are the players that made plays on failed third down attempts.


Featured image courtesy gwinndavisphotos.com


Metrics for Returning Defenders

Here’s a look at the 2016 raw numbers for returning defensive players.  I’ve got some ideas on enhancing these for the coming season so stay tuned.

Featured image courtesy gwinndavisphotos.com

90 Days (Video)

Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman (4) fires a pass as Clemson defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence (90) defends. The Clemson Tigers played host to the Pittsburgh Panthers at Memorial Stadium, Saturday, November 12, 2016. Gwinn Davis

90 days until Clemson begins defense of the National Championship.

Before the Trophy Episode 6

“Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) signals touchdown.

In the ACC Championship Game Leggett waltzes, Big Dex swarms, Renfrow and Cain make beautiful catches and pressure allows Cordrea to end it.

Back and Gone – Sacks & Passes Defensed

Clemson defensive lineman Clelin Ferrell (99) makes the play. The Clemson Tigers played host to the Pittsburgh Panthers at Memorial Stadium, Saturday, November 12, 2016. Gwinn Davis / The Post and Courier

An interactive infogrpahic looking at the production returning and lost for the Clemson Tigers.

A few plays from the 2016 defensive backfield:

Back and Gone – Tackles & Tackles for Loss

Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman (4) fires a pass as Clemson defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence (90) defends. The Clemson Tigers played host to the Pittsburgh Panthers at Memorial Stadium, Saturday, November 12, 2016. Gwinn Davis / The Post and Courier.

An interactive infographic on the tackles and tackles for loss production that is back and gone for Clemson.

Here are a few plays from the defensive line in 2016