Bryant was slow to get up and went to Clemson's sideline medical tent after gingerly coming off the field. "What a tough, gritty game".
As coach Dabo Swinney said, the Clemson receiver saves his best games for the biggest stage. "It's been a long time since we've punted the ball that many times and played conservative, but man, that's about as good a defensive performance as I've seen in a long time". Auburn scored on its opening possession of the game, becoming just the second opponent to do that against Clemson in the last 18 games.
The Frogs reclaimed the lead for good with a 15-play, 80-yard march, punctuated by a 4-yard Kyle Hicks run, at the 7:39 mark of the second quarter. "We weren't getting into a rhythm offensively, but our defense was out there playing their butts off and we said we had to match the intensity they were bringing out there". "The last drive before the half was a thing of beauty". Auburn crossed the 50 once in its final nine drives and finished with 20 total yards in the second half. Auburn settled for another Carlson field goal, this time from 28 yards out, after driving to the Clemson 6. The SEC Tigers didn't get much going on offense, but were aided by a handful of penalties from Clemson that helped Auburn get into the red zone.
Junior defensive end Austin Bryant had four sacks, tying the school single-game record shared by Keith Adams and Andre Branch.
After that crushing series, Clemson saw the game out to victory and move to 2-0 on the season.
In total, Auburn managed 117 yards on 66 plays, an average of 1.8 yards per play. As a team, TCU muscled to 195 yards and four touchdowns on 42 carries, while Hill hit 21-of-31 passes for 166 yards.
The control that Clemson exerted on those two long drives mirrored what Auburn did in the first quarter, about the only time its offense looked remotely unsafe. Expect Malzahn and offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey to throw more on first down than Auburn has in the past, loosen up the defense deep downfield and with intermediate passes over the middle, and then shut the door late with Pettway and the running game. Zerrick Cooper took over for a cameo, but Clemson's fourth drive ended in a missed field goal. It saved the day on Saturday.
"We had too many negative plays".
Bryant did what he needed to: Kelly Bryant was far from spectacular, but he didn't need to be. After that, Clemson barely allowed them to move the ball.
There is unprecedented territory surrounding the #3 Clemson Tigers.
Where: Papa John's Stadium; Louisville, Ky.