Defense keeps Clemson 2-0, with 14-6 victory over Auburn

Sunday, 10 Sep, 2017

No. 3 Clemson got an enormous early-season home win as it mounts a national title defense, topping No. 13 Auburn 14-6 on Saturday night at Death Valley. It allowed those 11 sacks in one game after allowing a total of 19 sacks in 13 games last season. After a 2016 season with multiple quarterbacks, Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham is the new Auburn quarterback.

The 38 rushing yards were also a low mark in the Malzahn era. "They're defending national champions for a reason". Brent Venables' defense limited Auburn to just 117 total yards and collected 11 sacks. "But offensively, we just didn't get it done". But the Tigers' defense held Auburn to only a field goal - capping a 15-play, 69-yard drive that put Auburn ahead 3-0. Both of visitors' scoring drives did.

Daniel Carlson gave Auburn its six points off a pair of field goals - 24 and 28 yard attempts.

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 game turned on one key sequence near the end of the first half, in which Bryant headed to the sideline with an apparent shoulder injury and was replaced by redshirt freshman Zerrick Cooper.

The visitors, who never trailed by more than a score, did reach the Clemson 45-yard line with a little more than three minutes remaining on what proved to be its final drive of the game.

"We've got really great players on the offensive side of the ball and I've seen that in camp".

"They have a great defense", Stidham said.

We don't get a lot of those sacks without the back seven doing their job. "I mean Auburn was making good plays, but our defense was making the tough plays, guarding the perimeter and disrupting the pass". Our defensive line controlled the game. The defense racked up 14 tackles for loss. Bryant appeared to be just fine. "Having them is a game changer - it was evident tonight".

Kelly's play after the injury wasn't just a good response. With 11:47 left in the third quarter, Clemson had all the points it would need. He also again brought up Stidham's lack of experience.

Perhaps the shining moment of the night for this secondary came toward the end of the second quarter, when Stidham let one fly to streaking wide receiver Eli Stove.

Aside from Kam Pettway's 79 yards rushing, Auburn's running game was virtually nonexistent as he was the only Auburn player in double-digits rushing.

Bryant returned on the Tigers' next series, and the Clemson offense finally found their rhythm as Bryant led the Clemson offense on a 12-play, 88-yard drive that capped off with a 2-yard touchdown run, giving Clemson their first lead of the night, 7-6.

Gus Malzahn, on the other hand, looked defeated - and sounded even worse - after Auburn's worst offensive performance ever under him.

"This has nothing to do with me or coach Steele, " Swinney said of the matchup.