No. 14 Clemson's defense takes step forward

By Pete Iacobelli

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Oct. 21 2012 12:15 p.m. MDT

Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas (3) throws as Clemson's Vic Beasley (3) defends during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Clemson, S.C.

Rainier Ehrhardt, Associated Press

CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson linebacker Jonathan Willard hopes his team's defensive showing against Virginia Tech is the start of better things to come.

The 14th-ranked Tigers (6-1, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) have struggled to stop teams the first half of the season. Yet, they had their strongest showing in the ACC this year in a 38-17 victory over the Hokies (4-4, 2-2) last week. Clemson collected three interceptions and held Virginia Tech to 406 yards, the lowest total allowed by the Tigers in league play this year.

The Tigers also came up with a pair of fourth-down stops, the first ending a 15-play Hokies drive with Virginia Tech ahead 7-0 and looking to take control.

Willard says there's more work ahead, but hopes Clemson can build off what it accomplished.

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