Clemson hasn't lost a football game in the past two seasons, and this year, the only team to really even challenge them was UNC. I just rewatched that game to get an idea of what they did to slow down Clemson's offense and stay in the game. Here's what I saw:
- Showed blitz presnap on a lot of plays, and brought a lot of pressure from LB's and even CB's a few times. Chaz Surrat, a QB converted to LB, was an absolute beast. He got to TL several times, although he only sacked him once, he caused 3 hurries and 2 other TFL's. Clemson's blitz pickup struggled with Surratt's speed. I could see Baron Browning causing similar problems rushing from the LB spot.
- UNC held Ettienne to 67 yards and made them pretty one dimensional, although Lawrence also ran for 45 yards.
- These blitzes seemed to get into the Clemson OL's heads. They had 4 false starts that I counted in the first half. Jackson Carmen was actually benched due to 2 false starts. Credit to the UNC fans too, as they got pretty loud, especially considering there were a ton of Clemson fans. If the Fiesta is 75-80% OSU fans, I hope they GET LOUD.
- Not surprisingly, UNC's offense did their defense a huge favor by taking the air out of the ball and using just about every second on the play clock even early in the game. They also made several timely 3rd down conversions to keep the Clemson offense off the field. They only had a few big chunk plays, but seemed to want to attack AJ Terrell when they did go downfield. This clock eating approach also appeared to wear down the Clemson D by the 4th quarter.
- Despite slowing the game down, Mack Brown was aggressive, going for it on 4th down several times. They converted 2/3 fourth downs which were crucial. Also, as we know, he went for the 2pt conversion at the end.
I think if OSU can run the ball and control the clock, and stay solid on 3rd down conversions like they've been all year, they'll be in good shape. On defense, they need to