Clemson's defensive improvement showing up on the stats sheet

Tigers 4th in ACC in scoring defense, 1st in red-zone defense, opponent 4th-down conversions

Duke's Sean Renfree attempts a pass as Clemson defenders pressure the pocket at Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday.

Photo by Sefton Ipock

Duke's Sean Renfree attempts a pass as Clemson defenders pressure the pocket at Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday.

Clemson's defense is improving.

But you don't have to take Dabo Swinney's word for it.

The Tigers have moved up into the ACC's lead group in numerous defensive statistical areas in the last month, led by their standing in the all-important scoring defense category.

Going into their game Saturday against Maryland, the Tigers rank fourth in the ACC in scoring defense, allowing 23.8 points per game.

Clemson continues to rank first in the ACC in red-zone defense (72.4 percent) and is second to Miami in red-zone takeaways.

The Tigers also leads the conference in opponent fourth-down conversion percentage and interception return yardage.

Clemson ranks fifth in the league in pass defense (240.0), seventh in total defense (412.3), seventh in passing efficiency defense, and sixth in opponent third downs.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Tigers have the ACC's top marks in passing (324.4), first downs per game, third-down conversion (54.2), fourth-down conversion (80.0) and red-zone offense (95.2 percent).

Nationally, the Tigers rank seventh in scoring (42.7), ninth in total offense, 10th in passing, second in red-zone offense, fourth in third-down conversions, and second in fewest lost fumbles.

Individually, Tajh Boyd leads the conference in total offense (338.7) by 48 yards per game. He's also first in passing (297.8) and touchdown passes (25). His 170.2 passing efficiency mark ranks second in the ACC to FSU's EJ Manuel and is fourth in the nation.

DeAndre Hopkins ranks second in the ACC and sixth in the nation in reception yards per game (115.2), while Chandler Catanzaro leads the league in field goal percentage.

Spencer Benton ranks 10th in the ACC in punting average (38.7), but the Tigers are third in the league in net punting (37.4). For the season, opponents are averaging just 1.4 return yards per punt.

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