Venables: Tiger 'D' shows fight versus Terps

Clemson's Dabo Swinney celebrates a defensive fumble recovery with Clemson's Darius Robinson during the fourth quarter at Maryland.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson's Dabo Swinney celebrates a defensive fumble recovery with Clemson's Darius Robinson during the fourth quarter at Maryland.

For Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, it was a tale of two games.

There's the one where his defense held the Terps to less yards (21) than plays (30), from the start of the second half until the Tiger offense made it a three-score edge in the fourth quarter.

Defense holds line to win over Terps

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And there's also the one that gave up Maryland's longest scoring play of the season (71 yards), and also a couple easy fourth-quarter touchdowns to muck up what had been a pretty solid stat-line.

"It's very discouraging how well we played in three quarters-plus and (I'm) still really proud of our guys," Venables said, "but fundamentally we broke down from a leverage standpoint and how we're helping each other and a lot of things broke down in those last two drives. That's disappointing, but that gives us something to get after them for.

"Virginia threw for close to 400 yards (Saturday) so we've got some things we have to fix. I'm proud of them buckling down and playing well and good team defense."

More from the second-year Tiger DC...

Defensive overview: I'm really proud of the guys. Our guys really showed a lot of fight. After the one play early, really buckled down and played pretty good. Late we made some real critical mistakes in some basic fundamental things and lost our focus and relaxed. Obviously they worked on those last couple drives.

Fourth-quarter breakdowns: It's very frustrating and we have things to get corrected. Obviously there were some things we were doing well a good solid three and a half quarters. We didn't bang, re-route or put our eyes where they belong. Floated right along when they went up and down the field, so it's discouraging, but not going to let it be reflective for how our guys played the majority of the game.

Bashaud Breeland fourth-quarter forced fumble 'textbook': It was a big play. All of those turnovers were big, but he did a nice job. They cracked our safety and did a great job in crack-replace and was physical and a textbook tackle. I was glad he was ready to go (after the first half suspension due to targeting). It's probably not easy to manage, but he did a nice job when he was in. Really played well.

Jayron Kearse's first-half pick: It was huge. Did a great job as the middle of the field player there. Did a nice job reading the route and sliding in front of it. Huge play.

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