The notion of Clemson falling off a cliff is simply not true. The talk of town is that “Clemson is not the same as years prior.” Of course not. No team is the same from the year prior. With the departure of Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne, the Tigers have a lot of holes to fill which can be an advantage for the Orange. Four years ago almost to the date, the Orange upset the Tigers in the Dome 27-24. The possibility of the Orange doing so again is very likely however this particularly won’t be an upset. Winning against an unranked Clemson will do wonders for the program ahead. The Friday Night Battle will make for the second Friday night game of the season and expect the same raucous crowd that left Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze unable to communicate with his team.
Win the Battle on the Ground
Through five games this season, Clemson’s defense has only allowed one rushing touchdown. Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Veneables prides himself in having a stout rush defense in which opposing teams average 2.73 yards per rush against the Tigers this season. The Orange have proven to be a primarily rush team with Sean Tucker and Garrett Shrader. With 19 total rushing touchdowns this season, Shrader and Tucker account for 17 of those touchdowns. The matchup between the Tigers and the Orange will be an interesting one on the ground and whoever can establish physical dominance will win the game.
Win the Time of Possession
If the Orange can control the pace of the game and not get into a shootout with Clemson this game is all theirs. Allowing D.J. Uiagalelei to pick up large gains with his legs will result in a long day for the Orange. Therefore, the Orange need to control the game with their rushing attack early on and make Clemson play from behind. The Orange want to make the score dictate how Clemson will play this game. Meaning that if the Tigers are down, they have no choice but to resort to the inaccurate arm of Uiagalelei, in which his passes usually fly over his receivers heads. Garrett Williams and Duce Chestnut have to make up for last week’s performance against Wake Forest.
Mikel Jones said it best, “they just made more plays than we did.” Last week’s one handed pocket catch by A.T. Perry resulted in a loss for the Orange. Although that catch was the ultimate decider, it was not the ultimate reason the Orange lost. Time and time again the Demon Deacons just simply made more plays than the Orange. This week against Clemson, the Orange cannot allow plays to be made in such magnitude. The slightest hint of the Tigers making plays early on will revive the unranked team from the depths of their struggling season. If the Orange give the Tigers any reason to believe in their playmaking ability, the game will run its course which is not in favor of the Orange.