Beasley's big sack a game-changer for Clemson's defense


by - Senior Writer -
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Midway through the third quarter Thursday night in Raleigh, Clemson held a precarious 13-7 lead over N.C. State when tate’s Bryan Underwood sprinted up the right sideline for what appeared to be a touchdown.

That touchdown would have tied the game and an extra point would have given the Pack a 14-13 lead, but what transpired next would lead to a series of game-changing events.

An official ruled that Underwood had stepped out at the Clemson 47-yard line, giving the Tigers a brief reprieve. At that point, Vic BeasleyVic Beasley
RS Jr. Defensive End
#3 6-3, 225
Adairsville, GA

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’s teammates came over to the junior and begged him to make a game-changing play.

“The defensive players depend on me to make plays,” Beasley said after the game. .”They were coming to me and saying, ‘Come on Vic. We need a play.’ I took it on myself to make a play.”

Did he ever. Beasley sacked Pack quarterback Pete Thomas for a six-yard loss, jarring the ball loose in the process. The loose ball was recovered by Spencer ShueySpencer Shuey
Gr. Linebacker
#33 6-3, 230
Charlotte, NC

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, and five plays later quarterback Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Sr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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hit Martavis BryantMartavis Bryant
Jr. Wide Receiver
#1 6-5, 200
Calhoun Falls, SC

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for a 30-yard scoring toss that expanded the Tiger lead to 20-7.

Beasley said that he knew that with the offense struggling, someone on the defense needed to make a play.

“We came out slow at first, but I talked to my guys on the defensive line at the half, and I told them we needed some big plays to get momentum on our side. It is just about making plays. We needed someone to make a play,” Beasley said.

Beasley ended the evening with three sacks, giving him five on the season, and defensive coordinator Brent VenablesBrent Venables
Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers
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said that those sacks and the one that forced the fumble were a huge part of the win.

He also said that sometimes the good teams get the lucky breaks.

“Any time you get a sack in a tight ballgame and force a turnover, it’s always huge,” Venables said. “Those sacks and some of those tackles for loss are a huge part of it. You always have to have some luck. It’s just part of the game. We have to leverage those plays better. One, they caught us in a great call for them and the other one we just have to rotate better. But there are a lot of breaks in a game, a lot of them that you don’t see.”

Venables said that N.C. State was doing some things offensively in the first half that the Tigers had not seen on film.

“I am really proud of our guys for handling adversity. In the first half they threw the kitchen sink at us, and showed a lot of things we had never seen on video,” he said. “But our guys did a great job of adjusting on the fly.”

On the defensive line

“We’ve got good competition there with our young guys. They’re all just getting better and better and I’m proud of how those guys fought.”

On winning on the road in the conference

“If anything, it’s taking the mentality to go on the road. It’s hard to win anywhere on the road in college football and the NFL. It just is. They had some extra time and I was really proud of our guys and how they handled adversity. That first half they scored once, but they threw the kitchen sink at us. They had a lot of looks that our guys really hadn’t seen on video and did a great job of making some on the field adjustments and making some critical plays at the right time.”

On getting every team’s best shot

“I think it’s like anything – the No. 1 goal is to win in a tough environment on the road, but let’s face it, Clemson is going to get everybody’s best shot. That’s just what the facts are. Our guys showed the wherewithal and fortitude to win. It’s another great win as a team. I love it. I think back to the Georgia win and LSU – those are three really good wins because you won as a football team and fed off each other. We’ve got a ton of things to correct from it, but that’s the beauty of it – we got to 3-0. You hit your number one goal.”

On N.C. State’s 23-play drive

“That second-to-last drive about killed me. I’m really proud of our guys. We weren’t in a bend-but-don’t break – we were in a stop everything they do defense, but unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. There’s some fundamental and execution-wise things we need to get better at. They converted a lot of fourth downs on that drive. There’s a lot of disappointment for us as coaches. But that was a huge part of the game there, because they had to use so much of the clock.”

On room for improvement

“Our guys knew on the field, we made some fundamental mistakes, but this game was about us showing the courage and the toughness to win and fight for 60 minutes. We knew they would make some plays and have success and our guys kept fighting and that’s what you love about them.”

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