Defense steps up for No. 3 Clemson vs. No. 13 Auburn

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Clemson didn't score its first touchdown until there were 48 seconds remaining in the second quarter, meaning Auburn went almost six full quarters without allowing a single point - Georgia Southern's lone touchdown in a 41-7 loss Week 1 came on a fumble recovery. A 33-yard pass to McCloud (who beat Davis again) set the ACC Tigers up at the Auburn 34-yard line, and three plays later, Bryant bounced off a would-be tackler and ran in for a 27-yard touchdown.

Even though Dabo Swinney's team played for a crystal football in each of the last two seasons, many didn't give Clemson a chance to do so this year. And with that going on, Clemson got what it needed to win from Kelly Bryant on offense: The junior quarterback completed 19 of 29 for 181 yards and rushed 19 times for 59 yards and two TDs. In the clash of Tigers, the winning team has be one of the best teams in the Power 5. They scored back-to-back sacks on the following drive, setting a new tone in the second half. Auburn was able to keep the game close all night long thanks to a strong defense, but Clemson dominated the flow of the game.

Clemson's defensive coordinator had an answer for everything Auburn coach Gus Malzahn and his offense offense threw his way.

Auburn leads the series 34-14-2, but Clemson has won the three meetings.

"I thought we did some really good things that first drive", said Stidham, who connected with Nate Craig-Myers for 23 yards on third-and-14 for the drive's key play.

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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. The home team's final six drives ended with a lost fumble, four punts and the game clock expiring.

Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow led Clemson with nine receptions for 62 yards. They're always on the attack, looking to get offenses on their heels, and looking to surprise. "But right now, we didn't get it done". Here's a nice look at a couple of the sacks the Tigers' defense had. So it was probably appropriate (and equally bizarre) therefore, that the Cougars used their own 21 point run to tie the game, force free football and eventually secure a 47-44 triple overtime victory in a manner only possible well after midnight has rolled around across most of the country. O'Daniel recorded a tackle on eight of those snaps.

The receiving corps for Auburn could not make a dent in the Clemson secondary despite two early pass interference calls.

But to get back to things being unusual in this one, both backup signal-callers managed to score for both themselves - and the opponent - in the fourth quarter. Through two games, Jackson has already racked up more than 1,000 yards of total offense.

The Tigers' starting quarterback was on the ground for a little while before getting back up. Now a resident of Orangeburg County, he reports on Clemson sports as a correspondent for The Times and Democrat.

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