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Clemson Defense Bends Against Boston College

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Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Once again we had a close win again a team we should have beaten by more. A big part of this is because of our inept offense, but against Boston College we saw a few cracks show in the defense. I'm had hoped this was a function of selling out to try and stop the run, but after looking at the stats BC has been the second most effective running game against our defense this year. While some of that is a tribute to BC's talented OL and running game, it still worries me with Cole Stoudt unable to get our offense clicking. Speaking of which, it is time for our weekly game of, "How terrible is the offense?"

Opponent Georgia FSU UNC NC State Louisville Boston College
Line Yards 117.8 91.4 101.6 87.3 67.6 66.9
Highlight Yards 29 25.5 19 36.5 18 48
Opportunity Rate 12/37 - 32% 10/37 - 27% 9/38 - 24% 12/20 - 60% 10/30 - 33% 7/31 - 23%
Success Rate 26/69 - 38% 25/71 - 35% 31/80 - 39% 22/38 - 58% 23/73 - 32% 22/77 - 29%
Power Success Rate 5/7 - 71% 2/5 - 40% 1/1 - 100% 1/1 - 100% 1/3 - 33% 0/0 - 0%
Stuff Rate 4/37 - 11% 5/37 - 14% 8/38 - 21% 2/20 - 10% 8/30 - 27% 12/31 - 39%
Sack Rate 2/32 - 6% 1/34 - 3% 3/42 - 7% 1/18 - 6% 3/43 - 7% 1/46 - 2%
Explosive Drives 1 1 3 3 0 2
Methodical Drives 3 1 2 2 2 2
Value Drives 4 3 6 2 4 2
Total Drives 13 15 15 5 19 13

Advanced stats definitions.

The answer is not good.As usual our running game wasn't great. Yes, we had a season high in highlight yards, but that increase came from a 32-yard run that got Clemson 25 highlight yards. Without that it was 23 highlight yards which isn't anything special for this team. The running game is also pretty terrible when you look at the stuff rate. 12/31 is by far the worst rate we've had all year. Boston College has a decent defense, worse than ours but somewhat comparable. It still doesn't make that stuff rate ok. Maybe Tyshon Dye really is healthy. Maybe he can do something about this terrible running game, but you'll forgive me if I'm not optimistic about that. It means we have to hope Cole does enough to get us through at least Syracuse and Wake Forest.

Opponent Georgia FSU UNC NC State Louisville Boston College
Line Yards 110.2 41.8 66.9 7 71 68.2
Highlight Yards 147 19 19.5 0 14.5 70
Opportunity Rate 15/32 - 47% 5/21 - 24% 6/23 - 26% 0/6 - 0% 11/35 - 31% 8/33 - 24%
Success Rate 25/59 - 42% 22/66 - 33% 21/68 - 31% 0/12 - 0% 19/69 - 28% 13/56 - 23%
Power Success Rate 1/3 - 33% 1/1 - 100% 2/3 - 67% 0/0 - 0% 1/3 - 33% 0/0 - 0%
Stuff Rate 5/32 - 16% 7/21 - 33% 4/23 - 17% 3/6 - 50% 9/35 - 25% 10/33 - 30%
Sack Rate 1/27 - 4% 5/45 - 11% 3/45 - 7% 1/6 - 17% 3/34 - 9% 3/23 - 13%
Explosive Drives 4 2 1 0 2 1
Methodical Drives 1 0 2 0 0 2
Value Drives 4 2 3 0 1 2
Total Drives 14 15 12 4 19 13

For the defense, it was a bit of a letdown in the running game. The line yards were in line with what we've seen this season, but I was disappointed by the highlight yards. The defense got gashed several times for long runs, though the 43-yard run for BC late did skew the stats a bit. Even without that run the highlight yards would be higher than normal for this defense. I'm just going to stick my head in the sand on that and pretend it was just an abnormality. The good news is that we don't face a rushing game as good as this one for the rest of the year. Georgia Tech doesn't count because the triple option isn't rushing, it is cut-block crap.

It was good to see the defense continue to get penetration and stop runs behind the LOS. Even after allowing several big gains the defense remained aggressive which is fantastic. Too often a defense will get cautious when they give up a big play or two and that didn't happen here.