Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables knew he had talented players, even if they hadn't always shown that early on. Now, the Tigers are showing they can play a little defense, too.
No. 11 Clemson put on its best defensive showing of the season, holding Maryland to 180 yards in a 45-10 victory on Saturday. The Tigers (9-1, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) have been fueled all season by a record-setting offense that's scored 45 points a game during its six-game win streak. These days, the high-flying offense is backed up by a defense that seemed a lost cause earlier in the year.
Venables is the first year coordinator brought in to tighten and toughen a group that gave up a bowl-record 70 points in losing to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl. Venables understands the Terrapins (4-6, 2-4) are in an injury-induced free-fall, using linebacker Shawn Petty at quarterback and without star receiver Stefon Diggs because of ankle problems.
Still, there's no hiding that Clemson's finding ...