'Validation victory'

MIAMI GARDENS - In this day and age of football, just about every offense with a pulse is going to rack up yards and score points in bunches.

Triggered by Braxton Miller, the Ohio State offense racked up 427 yards and was responsible for 33 of the Buckeyes' 35 points in the Orange Bowl on Friday night.

But there were stretches when Clemson defense bottled up Carlos Hyde, forced Miller to run for his life and kicked the Ohio State offensive unit off the field.

Brent Venables' crew forced Ohio State into 13 third-downs. They had more sacks [five] and as many interceptions [two] as the Buckeyes had third-down conversions.

"I just felt like we got turnovers and got stops when we needed them, and got huge plays in the game that turned it around for us and sealed it up," said Stephone Anthony, whose fourth quarter interception sealed the Tigers' 40-35 win.

There may not be a bigger play by the Clemson defense since Venables' tenure began in 2012.

"Responding to adversity, you can't coach that," he said. "You try to foster and nourish that whole tough mind -- hey, whatever it takes, no matter what, what the circumstances [are], worry about us. We do that a lot, but our guys had the willingness to go out and do it, the attitude, the toughness that it takes.

"They played great together. It showed tonight. The sideline was awesome all night, facing some adversity, self-inflicted, some of it was them. But our guys never flinched, stuck together, believed they were going to win, believed they were going to make the plays to win, and they did."

And they beat up Miller with body punch after body punch. He was feeling the pain after the game, and just about the entire way through it.

"On a scale of one to 10, about like a nine and a half," Miller said, when asked about his level of pain. "I think it affected my running, planting off my back foot, but throwing-wise it was cool."

It was caused by the first quarter sack by Vic Beasley.

"I injured my shoulder," Miller said. "I know I landed on my elbow, but it shot right up my shoulder, and it was hurting real bad. You fight through it because you're a competitor."

Venables lauded his group for their willingness to compete.

"They've got a lot of pride. They've worked incredibly hard," he said. "I feel like they've been a pretty solid unit all year. They've gotten better. Certainly haven't been perfect, but at the right time, they make the perfect plays at the end of the game, just so happy for those guys, and certainly for our whole team.

"It's a validation victory. That's a good football team we just beat, a very experienced football team, a very good coaching staff. But we are, too. We belong. We've earned that right. We're still working. We're a work in progress, but we're pretty good, too."

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