Clemson's 2021 season by the numbers: Stingy Tigers defense leads the way


by - Staff Writer -
Xavier Thomas aided in a number of defensive plays with a team-best 18 QB pressures.
Xavier Thomas aided in a number of defensive plays with a team-best 18 QB pressures.

Clemson's defense finished in the top-10 of a number of statistical categories after the 2021 season wrapped up Monday in Indianapolis.

That effort was led by a stingy group in points allowed, ranking second in scoring defense (14.8 PPG; only topped by national champ Georgia's 10.2 PPG), red zone defense (.645) and red zone TD percentage allowed (.323).

Also in the top-10 were the Tigers' spot in pass efficiency defense (5th; 110.07), rushing defense (7th; 96.3 YPG), total defense (8th; 305.5) and sacks per game (10th; 3.23).

The rest of Clemson's top-25 rankings were almost exclusively on the defensive side as well with tackles for loss per game (15th; 7.1), third-down defense (21st; 34.1%), fumbles recovered (25th; 9) and defensive touchdowns (25th; 2).

Coming on down the stretch, the top major offensive category was rushing offense, at 58th nationally (168 YPG).

Hit by attrition and roster turnover in particular, Clemson's offense slipped 90 spots year to year in total offense (10th to 100th; 502.3 YPG to 359.2) and 79 spots in scoring offense (3rd to 82nd; 43.5 PPG to 26.3). On defense, Clemson improved 16 spots in points allowed (18th to 2nd; 20.2 PPG to 14.8) and seven spots in yards allowed (15th to 8th; 326.8 YPG to 305.5).

In ESPN's Football Power Index efficiencies, Clemson finished 78th on offense, fourth on defense and 18th on special teams.

Individually, BT Potter holds the most top national stats with top-50 marks in field goals per game, field goal percentage, total points scored and scoring, while freshman Will Shipley impressed as well with top-25 marks in kickoff returns (18th) and all-purpose yards (25th).

No. 1 overall draft pick Trevor Lawrence finished in the top-15 last season in total offense (7th), passing yards per game (8th), completion percentage (9th), yards per pass (11th), passing efficiency (12th) and passing TDs (12th). 2021 QB starter DJ Uiagalelei's best finish in any of those categories was 84th in total offense. He finished 97th in ESPN's QBR rankings (Lawrence was 8th in 2020).

Clemson's final stat profile (13 games)

Team

Top-10 ranks: Red zone defense - 2 (.645; No. 2 in red zone TD percentage - .323), scoring defense - 2 (14.8), pass efficiency defense - 5 (110.07), rushing defense - 7 (96.3), total defense - 8 (305.5), team sacks - 10 (3.23).

Top-25 ranks: Tackles for loss - 15 (7.1 PG), punt return defense - 16 (3.7), kickoff returns - 20 (24.86), third down defense - 21 (.341), fumbles recovered - 25 (9), defensive TDs - 25 (2).

Top-50 ranks: Sacks allowed - 27 (1.62), fourth down defense - 30 (.417), blocked kicks allowed - 30 (1), turnovers gained - 30 (21), passing yards allowed - 34 (209.2), tackles for loss allowed 37 (4.92), turnover margin - 45 (0.23).

75th or worse: Time of possession - 79 (29:25), scoring offense - 82 (26.3), net punting - 82 (38.4), third down offense - 87 (.371), red zone offense - 90 (.804; No. 51 in red zone TD percentage - 63.04), total offense - 100 (359.2), passing offense - 103 (191.2), passing yards per completion - 111 (10.9), completion percentage - 112 (.551), punt returns - 117 (4.43), passing efficiency - 120 (109.74), kickoff return defense - 126 (26.94).

Individual

Top-25 ranks: BT Potter - field goals per game (16th; 1.62); Will Shipley - kickoff returns (18th; 27.1), all purpose yards (25th; 123.5).

Top-50 ranks: Potter - field goal percentage (39th/.808), total points scored (45th; 101), scoring (46th; 7.8); Andrew Booth - interceptions per game (37th (0.3); Shipley - rushing TDs (46th (11).

(Stats per the NCAA and CFBstats.com)

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