Dominant Defense Leads #3 Clemson To 14-6 Win Over #13 Auburn

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Auburn ran Georgia Southern ragged to start its season 1-0, and a win in SC would send a message not just to the SEC, but to the college football world as a whole. "I always had confidence in myself and to be able to do it with the other 10 guys on the defense, there's no greater feeling". "We got in a rhythm and got some tempo going". Clemson, which has led the nation in total tackles for loss each of the past four seasons, had 14 tackles for loss, including 11 sacks - one shy of the school record. Although Auburn's defense carried it throughout the night-much like in last season's meeting between the two teams - it wasn't enough as the offense that was supposed to be buoyed by the returns of running back Kamryn Pettway and wide receiver Kyle Davis mustered just 117 yards of total offense and allowed 11 sacks on the night. We played with a lot of guys going to the ball every single play.

The former Prattville High School star didn't touch the football a single time in last year's 19-13 loss to Clemson at Jordan-Hare Stadium despite being on the field as a blocking H-back and eventually leading the Southeastern Conference with 122.4 yards per game in the 2016 season. It tied for the most sacks in a game for Clemson since 2004 and was one shy of a program record. Our defensive line controlled the game.

Not everyone can display that level of toughness in the face of adversity.

Stidham said it was "probably the best" defensive line he's faced, with Oklahoma's 2015 line also particularly good. The deep and talented Clemson defense spread the wealth, living in Auburn's backfield all night. "For the most part we were on top of things and everyone knew their assignments". Bryant appeared to be just fine.

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Stidham was unsure if he'd ever taken as many hits as he did on Saturday, but couldn't recall statistics either.

The same can be said about Clemson. How do they become really good? "We had numerous chances before the end and we just didn't respond".

It's the second straight season Auburn has opened the season with massive struggles in defending its quarterback.

The arrival of transfer quarterback Jarrett Stidham brought renewed optimism to the Auburn offense all offseason. The Kerryon Johnson injury didn't help matters either, but Malzahn said the team hopes to have him back "in the near future". Or when you're down in third and fourth quarter and there's some passing situations.

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