Clemson-Georgia Preview Capsule
Line: Georgia by 7 1-2.
Series Record: Georgia leads 41-18-4.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
A chance to make an early statement in the national race. While college football's first four-team playoff is far down the road, this is an attractive nonconference matchup that would likely score points with the selection committee.
Clemson QB Cole Stoudt vs. the Georgia secondary. Stoudt has some huge shoes to fill taking over for Tajh Boyd, who directed the Tigers' high-powered offense the last three years. Plus, he's got a highly touted freshman, Deshaun Watson, pushing for playing time. Watson is expected to get some snaps in the opener. Whoever is at quarterback will likely try to take advantage of the Bulldogs' questionable pass defense. Cornerback Damian Swann is the only returning starter in the secondary, which could have two freshmen among the starters.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Clemson: DE Vic Beasley led the Atlantic Coast Conference with 13 sacks last season and heads a front seven that appears to be Clemson's strength.
Georgia: QB Hutson Mason is a fifth-year senior who spent the last four years as one of Aaron Murray's understudies. Mason looked impressive when he got a chance to start two games at the end of last season after Murray was injured. Now, the Bulldogs are counting on him.
FACTS & FIGURES
While the schools are just 59 miles apart, this will be only the fourth time they have met in the last 19 years. ... Clemson's last victory at Sanford Stadium was a 31-28 triumph in 1986. ... Georgia averaged a school-record 484 yards per game last season. ... Stoudt is the son of Cliff Stoudt, who was Terry Bradshaw's backup quarterback with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1977-82. The Clemson QB wears No. 18, the same number worn by his dad. ... Georgia will wear a special decal on its helmets to honor Dan Magill, who died a week ago at age 93. Magill spent 60 years with the university, serving as sports information director, head men's tennis coach, and founder of the Georgia Bulldog Club.