• Phil Houk

Clemson 101

Clemson is 7-0, and they are ranked #1. In the last 5 seasons they are 62-4 and they have won 2 national championships. The last time they lost a regular season game was October 13, 2017. Last week against BC they had to come from behind to post a 34-28 win.

Yes, All- world QB Trevor Lawrence is out with a Covid issue, but there is a pretty good player backing him up who has a strong supporting cast. Freshman DJ Uiagalelei (oo-ee-AHN-gah-leh- lay) is 6-4 250 pounds and was a 2-time High School all-American and a 5-star recruit.

Last week in his starting debut against Boston College he was 30-41 for 342 yards and 2 touchdowns, he also had a 30 yard rushing score. Not particularly experienced, but he can play.

The Tiger offense of course does not stop at the quarterback position. Senior Travis Etienne has already piled up over 1000 rushing and receiving yards and has scored 11 touchdowns. Brian Kelly this week call Eitienne the best back in the nation. The Tigers do not appear to have the quality depth at this position that they have had in the past.

Justyn Ross and Tee Higgins who both torched the Irish in the 2018 game are gone, but the Tigers are deep at receiver talent. Amari Rogers leads the group with 40 catches for 586 yards and 6 touchdowns.

Clemson is number two nationally in scoring at 46.1 per game and 10th in total offense. Their numbers skew more towards the pass than the rush.

Veteran coordinator Brent Venables, who is reportedly the second highest paid assistant in the country at over $2 million per year leads the Tiger defense. He is dealing with some injuries up the middle and a young secondary, but they are loaded. 10th in total defense, 11th in scoring defense. They are among the best in the nation with 65 tackles for loss and have totaled 28 sacks. The Tigers have picked off 9 passes, and have in total forced 13 turnovers, 3rd most nationally.

Clemson’s worst national ranks are in two categories: they have allowed 4 blocked kicks, and they commit a lot of penalties.

Balance on offense, pass rush, run stoppers, turnovers. The Irish seem to match up well in most categories but there just aren’t many weaknesses here. I guess that is what you expect from the number 1 team in the nation.

Vegas favors Clemson by 5 ½, over/under is 51 1/2

My pick, I hate to say it and please prove me wrong: Clemson 27 Notre Dame 16

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