|by Nikki Steele|
Whether it was an interception or a third down sack, the Clemson defense kept Syracuse’s offense at bay and gave the offense opportunities to put points on the board.
Clemson’s defense came up huge in the Tigers’ 49-14 win over Syracuse in the Carrier Dome Saturday night, with four interceptions and three sacks.
The Tigers were up 35-7 at halftime, but the Orange were energized in the second half – scoring on their first possession and stalling Clemson’s offense, but the defense came thru with three third quarter sacks and an interception.
Defensive coordinator Brent Venables told the media after the game that he is proud of his unit for responding when the pressure is on.
“That's not an easy position to be in and to respond,” Venables said. “We put ourselves in that position. You hate that we got there in the first place but I love the way we responded and got tested. That'll help us down the road. It'll create a sense of belief. We're hard to beat when we don't beat ourselves.”
Although the game appeared to be over at intermission, Venables said that the defense needed to play much better than it did to begin the third quarter.
"I'm so proud of the way they responded under some adversity,” Venables said. “Going into halftime, you think we've got this one sealed and sure enough they had us on our heels coming out of the half. We didn't play very well and coach very well on that first drive. We got settled back down and made some huge plays there in the third quarter to keep things under wraps."
“I just put it on myself this week,” Beasley said. “I know we have a lot of playmakers on defense and I just feel like I’m one of them. I just try to be the one to make the play.”
The Clemson secondary was a big question mark coming into the season, but the silenced the critics for at least one game as they picked of four Terrel Hunt passes.
"Yeah, some great plays,” Venables said. “D-Rob [Darius Robinson] had a couple of really nice plays on the football. Great technique and was very aggressive. It was great to see Jayron Kearse get one of those Ben Boulware picks. It's good to finish the play and he did. We'll take them any way we can get them."
Nikki Steele can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org