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Clemson Secures Win Against Auburn in 4th Quarter

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Auburn v Clemson Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images

Enjoy the conclusion to the best defensive performance of the Venables era, and just enough offense to successfully run out the clock for the win.

Auburn ball, 15:00, Auburn 13, 14-6 Clemson lead

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
2nd & 9 10 shotgun vs nickel 3 step drop vs cover 3, quick hitch to Hastings quickly swarmed by O'Daniel, the dude is everywhere Hastings is going to have O'Daniel nightmares. Similar to how Jordan Leggett's versatility allowed Clemson to run so many different formations from the same personnel, OD does the same for Venables. He's on the field even in nickel, he's that good.
3rd & 7 10 shotgun vs 3-3-5 LB jailbreak in front of man cover 1, Stidham drops and rolls right, for some reason tries to look downfield and run instead of throwing it away, big sack from JD Davis Stidham has no clue what he's doing. How do you not know to throw the ball away by now? Especially when none of your receivers can get open? Props to Davis on another big TFL

Clemson ball, 13:42, Clemson 41, 14-6 Clemson lead

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 11 shotgun vs nickel Speed option pitch to Choice is immediately blown up for a loss of 4, good of Choice not to fumble Cain completely missed his block on the corner and it but Clemson behind the sticks, ultimately squandering one of many chances to put the game away.
2nd & 14 11 shotgun vs nickel Dropback vs zone, crossing routes covered so Bryant tucks and gains 10 up the sideline I thought Bryant would get the 1st on a cutback along the sideline but a big hit took him down, gotta be careful
3rd & 4 11 shotgun vs nickel PA rollout with pulling guard vs man cover 1 robber, Bryant looks downfield to push the robber downfield and then tucks, easy 6 yards This is some of Bryant at his most efficient. He's looking to pass first which pushes spies into coverage, then he plays them. Masterful situational awareness.

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 11 shotgun vs nickel QB sweep, Feaster's lead block gives Bryant a cutback lane on the edge and he knives through for 13 more, shifty and strong Back to back solid play calls and running from Bryant. Feaster blocking! I want more snaps for him moving forward.
1st & 10 11 shotgun vs nickel Dropback vs cover 0 jailbreak blitz, thrown away for a really bad grounding penalty, drive killer Bryant has to use that speed to get out of the pocket before the throwaway...
2nd & 20 11 shotgun vs nickel Delayed handoff to Feaster vs soft cover 4, hole up the middle, spin around Falcinelli engaged at the second level for a gain of 9 Another good call and a solid run by Feaster. The upside is evident. Falcinelli climbed well and made an effective second level seal for Feaster to spin around.
3rd & 11 10 shotgun vs dime Dropback, double slant/wheel combos vs man cover 2, pressure gets around Pollard immediately but there would've been nowhere for Bryant to throw anyway, scrambles for a gain of 2, big tackle from Carlton Davis Clemson ultimately takes the delay of game and decides to punt, netting only 17 yards. I'd rather take the field goal attempt but it's more about faith in the defense than an indictment in Huegel.

Auburn ball, 10:07, Auburn 14, 14-6 Clemson lead

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 20 shotgun vs 4-3 IZ to Pettway, who lowers his head straight into his own blocker and bounces off, Muse is there to wrap up at the line, help arrives, no gain Bryant threw the H back straight into Pettway, but how was this the SEC's leading rusher last year even at full health? Muse is nasty.
2nd & 10 20 shotgun vs 4-3 PA jet sweep slant thrown into cover 3, complete but Carter is there for the hard tackle Even on Auburn's positive plays, they get next to nothing. The secondary was lockdown all night.
3rd & 2 20 shotgun vs 4-3 Rollout pick play with stacked receivers; front receiver actually blocked and underneath receiver ran to the sideline, gain of 6. Imagine the Bama-beating pass put if Scott had blocked the corner out the back of the endzone and you have this play.
1st & 10 20 shotgun vs 4-3 IZ to Pettway, bounces outside but is forced laterally instead of upfield, tackled by Muse and Terrell after a gain of 3. Look at AJ Terrell earning meaningful snaps in the 4th!
2nd & 7 30 shotgun vs 4-3 Dropback with max protect vs cover 4, looking Terrell's way but Stidham finds nothing, eventually scrambles and wisely throws away Terrell played soft technique but snuck a late jam in, could've been flagged. Locked down the route and comeback for the entire play though.
3rd & 7 21 shotgun vs 3-3-5 Immediate roll left and Ferrell beats a double team to force a throwaway, nevermind the coverage Malzahn can't catch a break. He rolled his QB in the unexpected direction with a double team on that side and Ferrell still blew it up.

Clemson ball, 7:31, Clemson 35, 14-6 Clemson lead

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 11 shotgun vs nickel Fake jet IZ to Choice, Richard gets a good kickout to free Choice through the line, tough 4 yards Richard was shut out through the air but he had a mostly solid night blocking, which was about all we could ask for tonight.
2nd & 6 11 shotgun vs nickel QB draw completely snuffed out, loss of 2 Hearn got beaten inside and Bryant had no chance to find anything.
3rd & 8 11 shotgun vs 3-2-6 Dropback vs zone, out route to Richard thrown late and low, otherwise would've been picked Late throw, Bryant would've been better served to check off or tuck. He had time with only a 3 man rush.

Auburn ball, 6:05, Auburn 45, 14-6 Clemson lead

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 21 vs 4-3 under Jet sweep, edge set by O'Daniel who trips him up, gain of 6 Usually when Auburn goes under center on standard downs it involves this reverse. It was blocked well but OD was ready.
2nd & 4 21 shotgun vs 4-3 Dropback vs cover 4 Sam fire, Stidham steps up and finds the interior pressure sealed off, big hole, gains the needed 4 yards OD has a great punch to swipe a block away on the rush, but the interior DL got caught in the wash; no interior pressure.
1st & 10 10 shotgun vs nickel Stidham wants to throw a RB screen but Ferrell reads it and eliminates it, so naturally Stidham eats it; sack. Ferrell is too athletic to be this smart too, it's unfair.
2nd & 13 10 shotgun vs nickel Dropback vs man cover 1 double LB bullets (Ferrell spy), OD makes it through untouched to start the sack before Bryant cleans up. This is one of my favorite blitzes; pressure up the middle makes quarterbacks panic immediately and makes man coverage outside safer, and there's an athletic DE dropping to defend anything spilling out (plus confuse protection along the way). Venables is the master.

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
3rd & 20 20 shotgun vs nickel Dropback vs man cover 2, interior pressure from Lawrence flushes Stidham right, Bryant maintains a good angle and trips him up for the 11th sack. Never had a chance. Nothing eases the nerves of an uncomfortably close game quite like laughter, and this was beyond comical by now.

Clemson ball, 3:15, Clemson 18, 14-6 Clemson lead

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 11 shotgun vs 4-3 ZR to Choice and he carries a DT for an extra 2 yards. I'm the least high on Choice of all Clemson's backs but this is where he excels: churning to make something out of nothing in an obvious run situation.
2nd & 8 12 shotgun vs 4-3 QB power stopped behind the line, loss of 1 Auburn loaded everyone on the line, Maverick Morris and Hearn were beaten leaving Bryant no chance to follow Choice through the hole.
3rd & 9 11 shotgun vs 4-3 PA QB rollout (pulling guard), Bryant deftly avoids the outside rush and throws on the run to Renfrow along the sideline, beautiful, 1st down Another example of Bryant at his most lethally efficient. I would've been fine with a run call to force Auburn's hapless offense to try and tie the game with no timeouts, but this is a good call and better execution. Bryant played it perfectly and got the ball to who else but Renfrow.

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 12 shotgun vs 4-3 Counter to Fuller, Hearn gets a great pull and cut to seal a lane for Feaster, follows Richard for 4 How far has Hearn come since the Troy game a year ago when I had essentially given up on him.
2nd & 6 12 shotgun vs 4-3 QB power, Morris is beaten on the backside but Bryant stretches and turns the corner, outrunning pursuit before wisely sliding in bounds Bryant has been so so steady so far this season. We all knew what he brought with his feet, but he's hitting the throws many never expected and showing poise/awareness above his experience level.
3rd & 2 11 shotgun vs 4-3 QB sweep, Richard loses his block on the edge but Feaster seals it, Bryant cuts in and breaks a tackle at the line, ultimately gaining 4 to ice the game. The game was rightfully in Bryant's hands and he delivered. Ball game.