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Clemson vs Miami: Position Grades (Defense & ST)

Complete Annihilation

NCAA Football: Miami at Clemson Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson wrecked Miami on defense this past weekend. The Hurricanes could do nothing in front of a focused and determined Tiger front 7 and the back 4 have come a long way since their struggles early in the year. It doesn’t matter who you play, when you hold an opponent to 8 yards in a half you’re doing something right. It never felt like Miami could in any way threaten the defense and them ending the game with only 98 yards of total offense exemplifies that. Now the defense is getting ready to try and replicate their performance against a South Carolina team that blew the doors off of Tennessee and actually had the fans chanting “We Want Clemson!”

Okay little brother. If you want the smoke, it’ll be a barbecue.

Let’s take a look at how the Defense and ST did against Miami.


While the DEs didn’t put up massive numbers, they affected the game in other ways. They were great in stopping the run, setting the edge and freeing up the LBs to wreak havoc. There were a number of times the DEs almost had sacks but the Miami QB either escaped only to get cleaned up by the LBs or the OL was holding them badly, Murphy was the victim of this more than once. They also got into the face of the QB and made them uncomfortable. They should be able to do more of the same against our next two opponents and we will need them to do so against UNC in particular to rattle Drake Maye.

Grade: A


Miami rushed the ball 24 times for only 30 yards! That’s due to the utter domination at the LOS and the DTs are responsible. They allowed nothing up front and while they didn’t make many tackles they re-established the LOS 3-4 yards backward seemingly every play. DT has been the most consistent position for the defense this year and even without Bryan Bresee due to illness, Clemson still rotated 5 players. This will pay dividends next year as the young players get more snaps and showing little drop off. The DTs will be asked to crush the interior SC OL this coming weekend and despite the Tenn win, that’s a matchup that the Tigers should be comfortable with.

Grade: A+


What a game for the LBs. The move to return Trenton Simpson to the SAM position and let Barrett Carter man the WILL spot has been a difference maker. It allows both of them to flourish and will be exciting to see against SC, UNC and whomever else we play this year. Simpson had 2 devastating sacks that I’m sure the Miami QB is still feeling today. He also forced a fumble that lead to Cade taking the team down the field for a final TD. Carter had 3 individual tackles and is excellent using his eyes and speed at the WILL position.

Jeremiah Trotter had the best game of the bunch and was the defensive MVP of the game. He lead the team with 9 total tackles including a sack and TFL. He also had a great pass breakup on what would have been a sure TD when he stuck to the TE leaving the backfield like glue. Trotter has been the best of the LB group this year from game to game and it’s a joy to watch him in the middle.

Grade: A+


While the front 7 had a monster game, there were times where Miami had time to throw. Fortunately the weak Clemson secondary from Wake Forest is a thing of the past. Nate Wiggins and Sheridan Jones have solidified the CB positions and we have 5 capable players at S to ensure noting will beat us over the top. Miami only had 68 total yards passing and that’s because even when given time the DBs gave them nowhere to go with the ball. They also tackled well this game with Mukuba, Jones and Phillips all tallying 3 tackles. The talented freshman Toriano Pride aided in the safety for the game.

This is a position group we can now have confidence will play at a high level and they will be tasked with ensuring that SC’s passing attack doesn’t have a repeat performance of what they did to Tennessee on Saturday.

Grade: A+


Miami is a limited team offensively who don’t have a set QB rotation. Despite that it’s impossible to ignore these stats. Holding them to only 8 yards in the first half and less than 100 yards for the game is masterclass. They only averaged 1.3 yards on the ground and 3.8 through the air. Nothing they tried worked and the staff has perfectly scouted every screen or trick Miami could come up with. This was domination that we haven’t seen for years and it couldn’t have come at a better time to put a exclamation mark on Clemson's 40th straight home victory. We’re all hoping for more of the same against SC.

Grade: A+


Potter missed a FG! To be fair it was over 50+ yards and just needed a little more leg. It felt like the staff was trying to showcase his leg strength for when we moves on to the NFL. He drilled the FG before half time and his kickoffs were again normally unreturnable. Aiden Swanson had a typical game that we’ve come to expect with averaging roughly 40 yards a punt. With the offense and defense playing as well as they did, ST didn’t have much to do but practice their craft in preparation for the Gamecocks and Tarheels.

Grade: B


What grade do you give the Clemson Defense and ST vs Miami?

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124 votes total Vote Now