Thanks to Jeff Davis

CLEMSON - Brandon Maye and his teammates on the Clemson defense hear plenty of stories about defenses of Tiger past.

"We have to play with that swagger of the old Clemson defenses," Maye said of Saturday's win against Boston College. "We have to continue to play like that. We knew coming into the (Boston College) game that if we get out to a fast start that these guys wouldn't want anymore of us."

Jeff Davis, former consensus All-American and co-captain of the 1981 National Championship team, is to thank for helping to instill that mentality of paying homage to the past.

"He's always throwing out how good their defense was and how we can be as good as they were," Maye said. "He's always throwing that challenge out there for us to be a dominant defense."

The 54 yards and seven points given up to Boston College was the most dominant performance versus an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent in over 40 years.

"We knew if we won upfront, then they were going to fold," Maye said.

And fold they did. Most of the yards gained by Boston College came on two scrambles in the second half by Eagle quarterback Justin Tuggle.

Clemson's rushing defense is ranked 68th in the country, giving up an average of 141 yards a game. in the 30-27 loss at Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets rushed for 301 yards, 82 of which coming on Anthony Allen's touchdown. Take away that one carry and Georgia Tech's numbers drop to 48 carries for 219 yards. The actual 6.1 yards per carry average drops to 4.6. Clemson allowed 92 and 29 yards rushing to Middle Tennessee and Boston College, respectively.

Clemson's front four, whoever it is of the nine that have seen the field this year, has proven that it can be as good as any in the country.

The interior portion of Clemson's defensive line is a five-headed monster that includes Miguel Chavis Jamie Cumbie, Jarvis Jenkins, Rennie Moore and Brandon Thompson. All of whom have had considerable playing time.

Chavis has played 80 snaps and had six tackles. Cumbie has played 70 snaps, made six tackles, one tackle for loss and a sack. Jenkins has started all three games and played 97 snaps, making 12 tackles and one tackle for loss. Moore has played 45 snaps and made six tackles. Thompson has started all three games, playing 99 snaps with 12 tackles and one for loss.

Thompson believes he's been getting better game by game.

"I feel that right now I'm better than I was during the Middle Tennessee game and over the summer," he said. "I feel that I'm getting better every week. Hopefully, I can be that player I want to be at the end."

At defensive end, there's a four-headed monster. Between starters Ricky Sapp and Da'Quan Bowers, Andre Branch and Malliciah Goodman have also made impacts during playing time.

Bowers has played 122 snaps, registered 16 tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack. Branch has played 59 snaps, made 11 tackles and had one tackle for loss. Goodman has played 56 snaps, been in on six tackles and two tackles for loss. Sapp has played 123 snaps, made 18 tackles, six for loss and two sacks.

"Nobody complains about playing time," Sapp said. "We just go out there and have fun."

Clemson will have a true test in stopping the run against Texas Christian, which ranks 15th in rushing offense with 245 yards a game. If defensive coordinator Kevin Steele has anything to say about it, he's going to throw everything he can at the Horned Frogs.

"When he came here and saw what he had and the kind of players he's got, it kind of fits his defense," Sapp said. "I think he really knows how to use us to (the best) of our ability and use us in different situations."


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