Watson becoming a favorite

CLEMSON - Josh Watson has emerged as one of the favorite interviews for the Clemson media contingent.

His play on the field has been pretty good, too.

In 244 snaps this season, Watson has 30 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and a sack [if you want to call it that]. He's also started four of the seven games this season, including the 38-17 win over Virginia Tech.

Part of what's made Watson a go-to for quotes is his honest and sometimes witty assessments. The redshirt sophomore is picking right where former defensive tackle Rennie Moore left off.

So, when Watson was asked about his sack of Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas, he didn't pull any punches.

Thomas completed a third-down pass with Watson hanging on to him for dear life. Just as Thomas released the throw, referees blew the play dead with an in-the-grasp call.

"I didn't know what happened," Watson said. "I was hanging on around his legs for dear life.

"That guy is huge. Tackling his legs, they always say tackle legs and he'll go down. His legs are like tree trunks, so I don't even think he felt me on him. They blew the whistle. I don't know what happened.

"It counts as a sack. There's no video in the stat book that goes along with the sack, so I got it."

All joking aside, the key to another improved performance by the Clemson defense was a solid second half.

"We came up with some key turnovers and got some key stops," Watson said. "Our third-down got back up to a good percentage, where we were stopping them on third-down, especially in the second half.

"Pretty much, our first half was kind of shaky, here and there, but our second half we kind of locked them down and held them to about 60 yards rushing in the second half."

He added, "It's a good win for us, a good confidence booster going into the short week against Wake Forest. We can build on that, hopefully."

Even though Wake Forest enters the game at 4-3, there is nothing about this meeting with the Demon Deacons to take lightly.

"They're a dangerous team. They always have something up their sleeve," Watson said. "Whether it be trick plays -- I think, last year, coach [Dan Brooks was saying they ran 15 trick plays in the game, so you've always got to be aware for that and be on your toes for them."

Given where Clemson is in the chase for a second consecutive trip to the ACC title game, plenty is at stake. But they're playing for a little more than the Atlantic Division title.

There's plenty of pride is on the line.

"We've been in some big games this year, if you look back at Auburn, Florida State. I think Wake Forest is just another big night game where we need to step up our game and play well, maybe a statement game if we can pull it out, defensively, and get it together. The whole country is going to be watching -- show the Clemson defense is making improvements and we're going to get back to where we should be."

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