Clemson’s Defense Shuts Down NC State
The NC State-Clemson showdown Saturday night looked to be a measuring stick game for both teams. The defenses both faced would be the best so far this season. The Tigers secondary still has injury issues. The Wolfpack’s defense, like the entire team, returned the majority of its starters from last season.
The Tigers completely stifled NC State’s running game, holding the Wolfpack to just 21-34 rushing. KJ Henry pressured Dennis Leary all night, batting away passes. With a secondary that covered up its issues by playing off coverage, Clemson still allowed just 245 yards passing on 47 attempts. It raises the question as to how good the defense can be if it is fully healthy.
Mixed News On Injuries For Clemson’s Defense
Clemson taking control of the ACC Atlantic division shows the teams depth. The team’s victories separated the Tigers from the rest of the conference over the last two weeks. Still the defense vaults to championship level with the return of Brian Bressee and Xavier Thomas on the defensive line.
RJ Mickens left the NC State game with an injury, but should be fine for Saturday against Boston College. Andrew Mukuba misses the first half against the Eagles due to a targeting call. Corners Sheridan Jones and Malcolm Greene status remains uncertain.
The reason health questions surrounding the secondary matter is the Tigers again face an excellent quarterback Saturday, the Eagles Phil Jukovec. Jukovec’s season has not been at the level of of Devin Leary or Sam Hartman but he still is capable of big games passing. His connection with Zay Flowers makes pressuring him vital.
Offensive Improvement Best News For Tigers Defense
With the offense’s injuries, drops, and poor play be DJ Uigalelei the defense carried Clemson to a 10 win season. The offensive improvement, in particular Uigalelei’s play, has taken pressure off the defense. His game versus the Wake Forest Demon Deacons lifted the Tigers to the win. His ability to run the ball helps the offense be more balanced.
Clemson making the College Football Playoff and having any chance at a national championship depends on the continued growth of the offense. Other than Notre Dame the Tigers do not face a defense as good as NC State’s the rest of the season. The offense, receivers and running backs especially, has a chance to grow into a unit that can make Clemson a much more well rounded team.
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