Depth driving nation's top sack attack

Clemson's Vic Beasley tackles Syracuse's Prince-Tyson Gulley during the third quarter at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson's Vic Beasley tackles Syracuse's Prince-Tyson Gulley during the third quarter at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York.

CLEMSON – Junior end Vic Beasley has been instrumental in a highly-disruptive Clemson d-line.

So have junior defensive tackles Grady Jarrett, DeShawn Williams and Josh Watson.

And junior Corey Crawford and freshman end Shaq Lawson – the point being, offenses have had a lot to process when in protection versus both the nation’s top sack (19) and tackles for loss attack (50).

The difference a year makes in year two under Brent Venables has been a go-to topic this season, but it’s for a very good reason.

Kearse embracing opportunities to play early

At this point last year (five games), the Tigers had seven sacks total.

By himself, Beasley leads the nation with eight sacks this season, also atop the crowd in sacks per game (1.6).

“We’re all comfortable in the scheme now,” the Daniel product Williams said Monday. “This as a whole is our defense. We took pride this summer in know that this is our second year and we didn’t want to be the laughingstock.

“Clemson takes pride on defense.“

All eight of Beasley’s sacks have come against BCS opponents.

“Vic is a specimen,” said Williams. “It’s crazy. We can count on a sack when he wants it.”

Despite holding a fourth consecutive opponent to 14 points or less, Clemson still surrendered 323 rushing yards to Syracuse. Williams says the Tigers know full well the improvement needed for the rest of the slate.

“We know what we have to do,” Williams said. “We’re doing good this year but we know we have to keep improving. There’s a lot more ball to be played. A bunch of good teams are coming up.”

Honors roll in: Another week and it's another weekly honors haul for Clemson’s senior quarterback Tajh Boyd, as he earned both ACC offensive back of the week and a place among the Manning Award “stars of the week.”

Breaking his own single-game passing record (455), he owns three of the four 400-yard passing games in Clemson history. He also became just the third player in ACC history to account for 10,000 total yards.

His offensive coordinator says, after a slower start, his hard work is paying off.

“Tajh is just a guy who’s a pleasure to be around and a pleasure to coach,” Chad Morris said. “He’s spent an incredible amount of time in the film room preparing, which has been good to see. As much time as he’s put in, he’s seeing the benefit of that. Tajh Boyd will be Tajh Boyd no matter the accolades and the records he breaks.

“That’s what everybody likes about him. He’s not only the face of this program but the university.”

Also in the conference players of the week category, this week, were left guard Kalon Davis and end Vic Beasley.

Davis graded out a career-high 93 percent with five knockdown blocks in just his fourth-career start.

In addition to two sacks, Beasley posted a career-high four tackles for loss. He has 10 tackles for loss on the year now.

Mock BCS standings have Tigers in Pasadena: CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm is their expert on projecting the postseason for both basketball and football, and Tiger fans will like his BCS projections this week.

No. 1 is Alabama (.9798) – and No. 2 is Clemson (.8869), holding a slight advantage over Stanford (.8849) and Oregon (.876).

Next week’s opponent Florida State checks in at No. 6 (.8195).

The first BCS standings come out the Sunday after that showdown (Oct. 20). Per usual, the rankings are comprised of two human polls (Coaches and Harris Interactive) and the average of six computer polls.

Five of the six computer rankings post their findings throughout the season, while one (Wolfe) and the Harris Poll will be first released with the BCS standings.

Among the computer rankings, Clemson is as high as No. 2 (Anderson-Hester) and as low as 11 (Sagarin), which pegs them with the fourth-best average behind Stanford, Alabama and Florida State.

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