Senior defensive end Corey Crawford missed the first game of the 2014 season at Georgia, but he's really made his presence felt in the last two games - recording 2.5 tackles for loss, including 1 sack.
Crawford's ability to set the edge has been critical in running plays. He's also been a force getting to the quarterback.
The Georgia native admits the loss at No. 1 Florida State still hurts, but it also has helped this defense establish its identity.
"It still hurts but we have learned from. The thing we have to remember is to not let that one game beat us twice," he said. "But it's a boost for us knowing that we can play with the best in the business."
Clemson's defense limited the 'Noles to just 13 yards rushing through four quarters and overtime. It also routinely harassed quarterback Sean Macguire and set the tone that there wouldn't be a repeat of last year's game.
Looking ahead to tonight North Carolina, Crawford, like the rest of his teammates, respect the Tar Heels and what challenges they bring to the table.
"They go really fast like our offense does," he said. "So we know that's going to present some challenges. But we feel like we are ready. It's just a matter of us taking the same mentality we had last week into this week.
"And that's what we plan on doing."
For the record, Clemson ranks inside the top 12 nationally in a number of defensive categories. The Tigers are second in the nation in tackles for loss per game (9.7), sixth in fewest first downs allowed (45), 11th in third-down conversion percentage defense (.256), 11th in pass efficiency defense (97.81 rating) and 12th in total defense, allowing 273.7 yards per game.