ND-Clemson Watch, Week 2: Irish Up, But Not as Much as Tigers

Herb Gould

Notre Dame-Clemson Watch: Week 2

Days Remaining until Clemson at Notre Dame: 50

This Week’s Games:

@ South Florida at No. 7 Notre Dame, 1:30 p.m., USA

@ The Citadel at No. 1 Clemson, 3 p.m., ACCN

It was being billed as the non conference game of the season. But now that Notre Dame has taken shelter from the Covid-19 storm in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Clemson’s trip to Notre Dame on Nov. 7 becomes among the best conference games of the season.

Each week will provide a little more insight into how that critical matchup is likely to play out.

Based on their openers, it appears that Brian Kelly has more things to fret about than Dabo Swinney:

As they head into their second games, here’s a look at where Notre Dame and Clemson stand.

@ Irish Outlook: Notre Dame didn’t dazzle in its 27-13 opening win over Duke, leading by a mere 17-13 early in the fourth quarter. But it got a good performance from its new running back, Kyren Williams (112 yards, 2 TDs), who was named ACC running back of the week.

This week, it will be looking for more in its passing game. And yes, a faster start would be nice as it tries to build momentum in its lone nonconference game. Yup, that’s a true fact. Notre Dame is a full-fledged ACCan this pandemic season.

@ Clemson Outlook: If it wasn’t for the guarantee, The Citadel's trip to Clemson on Saturday would constitute cruel and unusual punishment for the FCS Bulldogs, who are playing only four games due to the Covid-19 crisis.

They’ll need to buckle up against Clemson, which romped at Wake Forest in its opener, leading 37-3 in the fourth quarter before settling for a 37-13 rout. Heisman hopeful Trevor Lawrence threw for 351 yards and one TD, and rushed for two more TDs. Travis Etienne rushed for 102 yards and a TD. "I knew it was probably going to get a little sloppy, but that's going to make our team better,’’ Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “But Trevor was amazing. He really was.”

ND sleepy? Clemson sloppy? For openers, maybe. But that might be more a measure of the high standards these two teams have.