As Dabo Swinney surveyed the defensive side of the stat sheet after Clemson's 25-24 victory over LSU on Monday, several numbers stood out.
"Defensively, the huge stat was three of 13 on third down," Swinney said. "They only had nine first downs the whole game, 219 total yards, only 99 yards rushing. Their backs are as good as there are in the country. We set a season high of six sacks. Malliciah (Goodman) set a school record for bowl sacks."
Swinney said the Tigers won despite having played directly into some of LSU's strengths.
"LSU wins a lot of games by playing on a short field," said Swinney. "That's who they are, that's what they do. They create field position and turnovers, play on a short field, and they get points. We kind of played right into that formula. They got 10 points out of turnovers.
"On the second one, we put them in a bad situation. To hold them to a field goal changed the game and gave us a chance to win the game."
Swinney said Clemson won its share of match-ups at the line of scrimmage.
"We won some matchups - it was as simple as that," he said. "We felt like we had good matchups with our ends on their tackles. Those guys played relentlessly - Corey (Crawford) and Malliciah - Grady Jarrett was a road grater in there, and Josh (Watson). Our depth showed up. They just won the matchups."
Swinney said the Tigers' defensive improvement over the course of the season is striking.
"Here is what was evident: those of you who saw our defense play against Auburn many moons ago to open this season, that was a different group out there tonight," said Swinney. "Those young bucks have grown up and played extremely well. Our depth showed up.
"I'm really proud of how they physically fought at the line of scrimmage, at the point of attack. Again, when we had some adversity, we just kept playing and kept believing."