Program first: Clemson finishes No. 1 in scoring defense


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Trayvon Mullen got in on a sack while earning defensive MVP honors in Santa Clara. Clemson finished No. 1 in scoring defense and No. 2 in sacks.
Trayvon Mullen got in on a sack while earning defensive MVP honors in Santa Clara. Clemson finished No. 1 in scoring defense and No. 2 in sacks.

Clemson finished atop the nation in scoring defense for the first time in program history with a standout performance on Monday versus Alabama.

A year after finishing No. 2 in the stat, Brent Venables’ group allowed a half-point less per game this season (13.1), narrowly edging Mississippi State overall (13.2). That effort was aided all year by an elite red zone defense, which held Alabama to one touchdown in four opportunities to move into the top-5 nationally in red zone defense (4th; .722) and red zone defense TD percentage allowed (5th; .417).

Holding down a No. 1 spot individually is dynamic sophomore running back Travis Etienne, who led the nation in rushing touchdowns (24), total touchdowns (26; rushing/receiving) and total points scored (156). He also finished in the top-5 nationally in yards per carry (4th; 8.1), rushing yards (4th; 1,658) and scoring (5th; 10.4).

More top-5 finishes included the defense getting in the backfield (No. 2 in sacks and TFLs) and stopping the ball and run overall (No. 4 in rushing defense and No. 5 in total defense) and then top performances in a trio of offensive categories (No. 3 in total offense, No. 3 in TFLs allowed and No. 4 in scoring offense).

According to the NCAA, eight total Tigers logged top-30 statistical rankings (all listed below) with Justyn Ross joining Etienne in top-5 performances - steadily moving up the ranks in yards per reception this season (No. 4; 21.7).

Clemson Top 25 Stats

Scoring defense – 1 (13.1 PPG), sacks per game – 2 (3.6), TFL per game – 2 (9.1), total offense – 3 (527.2), TFL allowed - 3 (3.73 per game), rushing defense – 4 (96.3), red zone defense – 4 (.722), total defense – 5 (285.9 YPG), scoring offense – 4 (44.3), red zone defense TD percentage – 5 (41.7), third down defense - 6 (.285), red zone TD percentage – 6 (76), fourth down defense - 9 (.357), rushing offense - 10 (248.2), fumbles recovered - 12 (12), sacks allowed - 12 (1.13), passing efficiency – 13 (154.65), pass efficiency defense - 15 (110.92 rating), defensive TDs - 17 (3), third down offense – 20 (.460), passing offense - 23 (279), passing defense - 24 (189.6), fewest penalties per game - 24 (4.87).

Other key stats

Turnover margin – 29 (.47), red zone offense – 30 (.880), kickoff returns – 32 (22.7), punt returns – 84 (7.1).

Top individual national ranks

Travis Etienne – Total points scored - 1 (156), rushing touchdowns 1 (24), total touchdowns 1 (26), rushing yards per carry 4 (8.13), rushing yards 4 (1,658), scoring - 5 (10.4), rushing yards per game 15 (110.5).

Justyn Ross – Yards per reception 4 (21.7), receiving TDs - 29 (9).

Amari Rodgers - Punt return TDs - 6 (1).

Tee Higgins - Touchdown receptions 8 (12)

Clelin Ferrell – Sacks 17 (0.77 per game), tackles for loss 26 (1.3)

Trevor Lawrence – Passing touchdowns 10 (30), pass efficiency 12 (157.6), completion percentage 21 (.652), yards per pass attempt 21 (8.26), passing yards - 22 (3,280), points responsible for - 23 (186).

Greg Huegel - Total points scored - 19 (109).

Christian Wilkins - Fumbles recovered - 24 (2).

(Stats per the NCAA and CFBStats.com)




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Tags: Travis Etienne, Justyn Ross, Amari Rodgers, Clelin Ferrell, Tee Higgins, Trevor Lawrence, Greg Huegel, Christian Wilkins, Brent Venables

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