Brent Venables recaps impressive performance by defense
Clemson’s defensive front
The Tigers had 11 sacks with Austin Bryant leading the way with four. Bryant, Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell and Dexter Lawrence, Clemson’s starting front four, had 25 tackles and 6.5 sacks.
While the defensive front got credit for the sacks, several of them were coverage sacks. Clemson’s secondary blanketed Auburn’s receivers, even without starting safety Van Smith.
As coach Dabo Swinney said, the Clemson receiver saves his best games for the biggest stage. Renfrow had nine catches, including a third-down grab late in the fourth quarter to help clinch the victory.
Clemson’s defensive coordinator had an answer for everything Auburn coach Gus Malzahn and his offense offense threw his way. Auburn crossed the 50 once in its final nine drives and finished with 20 total yards in the second half.
Clemson’s right tackle
Tremayne Anchrum and Sean Pollard rotated at right tackle and were inconsistent as Auburn Buck Jeff Holland was in the backfield on several occasions. Auburn finished with eight tackles for loss.
Clemson’s starting running back had four carries for nine yards and fumbled early in the third quarter in Auburn territory with Clemson driving and set to take control.
The offensive line appeared overwhelmed, quarterback Jarrett Stidham never found a rhythm and the receivers had no luck gaining separation from Clemson’s cornerbacks.
First quarter penalties
Clemson had a pair of defensive pass interference calls in the first quarter that helped Auburn’s offense stay on the field. Clemson spent time this offseason trying to avoid pass interference calls but struggled doing so early on in Saturday’s game.