The magic number? 17

The magic number against Gary Patterson's defense is 17 and the odds are against Clemson if the Tigers score less than 17 points on Saturday against Texas Christian.

During Patterson's nine years head coach, he's amassed a 75-27 record and is 53-1 when allowing 17 points or less. The only loss was came against Utah lost year when the Utes won 13-10 in Salt Lake City.

Along with solid coaching, key to the success of the Texas Christian defense is speed. Consensus All-American defensive end Jerry Hughes was a two-star rated running back out of Sugarland Stephen F Austin HS prior to being moved to the defensive side of the football upon his arrival to Fort Worth.

Converting high school running backs to defensive lineman has proven to be a solid practice by Patterson.

"The last three defensive ends (from TCU) that have gone on to the NFL were all tailbacks or wide receivers in high school," he said.

Though Hughes has contended that he didn't know he was being recruited as a defensive end until he showed up and saw a No. 98 jersey hanging in his locker. Patterson said otherwise in Tuesday's teleconference. Nonetheless, Patterson said, "We're glad he's here."

He hopes that Horned Frog speed will help counter the Clemson offense he'll be coaching against on Saturday. Patterson hopes it's good enough to catch up to and slow down C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford, both of whom he mentioned.

"It's as athletic a group that we've played since Oklahoma a year ago," Patterson said.

Complimentary of the Tiger defense, he believes anywhere from five to seven NFL-caliber players on the starting unit.

In what could be a defensive-oriented game, Patterson is pretty basic in his assessment of what Texas Christian needs to do to grab its third win.

"You can't allow big plays, neither team can't. You have to stop the run," he said. "Offensively, who controls the ball and doesn't turn the ball over, giving short fields, especially this week the way Clemson plays on special teams.

Patterson is well aware of the challenge that comes while playing Death Valley and how it could swing things.

"The advantage goes to them with home field advantage and the way they play at home," he said.

Complimentary of the Tiger faithful, Patterson looks forward to the challenge Texas Christian faces on the road at Clemson.

"Clemson football is what you like," he said. "You go into a stadium and people hate you for three hours. They love the game and they're radical about it. I like Clemson football fans because of the way they get after it and the way they like their Tigers."

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