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Clemson Defense Beats Louisville

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Tyler Smith

Today we are going to return to two common themes we've seen all year. Our running game sucks and our defense is fantastic. I am probably going to be able to copy and paste that sentence into every review for the rest of the year and with Deshaun Watson out it is probably going to remain true. We got a brief respite during the NC State game,  but without him it isn't going to be pretty. As always the stat definitions are here.

Opponent Georgia FSU UNC NC State Louisville
Line Yards 117.8 91.4 101.6 87.3 67.6
Highlight Yards 29 25.5 19 36.5 18
Opportunity Rate 12/37 - 32% 10/37 - 27% 9/38 - 24% 12/20 - 60% 10/30 - 33%
Success Rate 26/69 - 38% 25/71 - 35% 31/80 - 39% 22/38 - 58% 23/73 - 32%
Power Success Rate 5/7 - 71% 2/5 - 40% 1/1 - 100% 1/1 - 100% 1/3 - 33%
Stuff Rate 4/37 - 11% 5/37 - 14% 8/38 - 21% 2/20 - 10% 8/30 - 27%
Sack Rate 2/32 - 6% 1/34 - 3% 3/42 - 7% 1/18 - 6% 3/43 - 7%
Explosive Drives 1 1 3 3 0
Methodical Drives 3 1 2 2 2
Value Drives 4 3 6 2 4
Total Drives 13 15 15 5 19

Once again we had a rather lackluster time trying to run the ball. We had a season low in both line and highlight yards. This isn't surprising since we have no depth, no talent, and no fire on our offensive line. No one can honestly say they are even average in the run game. The numbers are even more glaring when your remember that this game from a full game of running the ball, there was no garbage time in this one. Everything was terrible, the highlight yards, the line yards, the success rate, even the stuff rate. I would trade this OL for the 2008 one in a heartbeat and those guys were not good. Hopefully someone teaches Stoudt how to scramble before it gets too ugly in the coming weeks.

Opponent Georgia FSU UNC NC State Louisville
Line Yards 110.2 41.8 66.9 7 71
Highlight Yards 147 19 19.5 0 14.5
Opportunity Rate 15/32 - 47% 5/21 - 24% 6/23 - 26% 0/6 - 0% 11/35 - 31%
Success Rate 25/59 - 42% 22/66 - 33% 21/68 - 31% 0/12 - 0% 19/69 - 28%
Power Success Rate 1/3 - 33% 1/1 - 100% 2/3 - 67% 0/0 - 0% 1/3 - 33%
Stuff Rate 5/32 - 16% 7/21 - 33% 4/23 - 17% 3/6 - 50% 9/35 - 25%
Sack Rate 1/27 - 4% 5/45 - 11% 3/45 - 7% 1/6 - 17% 3/34 - 9%
Explosive Drives 4 2 1 0 2
Methodical Drives 1 0 2 0 0
Value Drives 4 2 3 0 1
Total Drives 14 15 12 4 19

But oh boy do I love our defense. All of the totals and averages for this game are inline with previous games during the season. Though Louisville did have some success moving the ball, they weren't able to do it with enough consistency for Clemson to feel threatened by the run. I was also pleased to see the stuff rate stay at a high level, we all know our DL will get after the QB, but it is also nice to see that aggressiveness continue in the running game.

Of course the big part of the defense that doesn't show up in these charts is the turnovers and points off turnovers. It is no exaggeration to say the defense won the game for Clemson because of those points, and I think the Tigers will have to win at least one more defense thanks to their ability to force a turnover and turn it into 6 points. Who needs an offense when your defense does both?