3 defensive keys to a Clemson win over Miami

No. 9 Clemson (9-1, 7-0 ACC) welcomes the Miami Hurricanes in its latest Week 12 matchup at Memorial Stadium.

The Tigers enter Saturday’s contest after a more-than-convincing 31-16 victory over Louisville last weekend. With a win over the Hurricanes, Clemson would remain in the mix for its seventh postseason appearance in eight seasons.

Despite being 5-5 and losing its starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke last week due to injury, Miami comes into Death Valley presenting a formidable challenge for the Tigers both on the ground and through the air.

Here are three defensive keys to a Clemson win at home versus Miami.

1. Contain the QB

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Despite Miami losing their starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke to injury in last weekends win at Georgia Tech, the Hurricanes now have talented true freshman Jacurri Brown at the helm. Though Miami’s offense has relied heavily on the pass game this season, Brown brings a level of speed in the run game that will likely be a big factor in Saturday’s matchup.

2. Begin and end with explosiveness

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A big part of the Tigers defensive success last weekend was their explosiveness. Wes Goodwin’s linebacker room had an impressive showing against a talented Cardinal offense led by veteran Malik Cunningham, garnering big performances from both Jeremiah Trotter Jr. and Barrett Carter, who was named ACC Linebacker of the Week following the win. If Clemson’s defense wants to see success against Miami’s offense, explosiveness needs to be present early and often.

3. Shut down the run game

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With a mobile quarterback in Jacurri Brown, the Hurricane’s will likely lean more on the run game versus the Tigers than in games past. In its win over Georgia Tech last weekend, Miami accrued 44 carries for 217 yards, 87 of which were recorded by Brown at the helm. Clemson will need to bring the pressure in the trenches from the get-go in order to keep Miami out of an offensive rhythm and shut down the run game.

Clemson defensive difference makers vs. Miami

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Difference Maker #1: Barrett Carter

Difference Maker #2: Myles Murphy

Difference Maker #3: Jeremiah Trotter Jr.

Difference Maker #4: Tyler Davis

Clemson defenders to watch

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Keep an eye on:

  • Safety Andrew Mukuba

  • Linebacker Wade Woodaz

Story originally appeared on Clemson Wire