Citadel At #1 Clemson
September 19 4:00 PM ACCN
Memorial Stadium, Clemson SC
Pain, blues, and agony….. Some of you old school wrestling fans might remember Dusty Rhodes using that phrase back in the day. When I think of this upcoming game with The Citadel, that is exactly the phrase that comes to mind.
It isn’t going to be pretty, and that is with guys like Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne, and a number of other veterans seeing very little playing time. It will be enjoyable though, and the 19K in attendance for the Tigers home opener should get to see plenty of fireworks this weekend.
Over the years while playing Paul Johnson’s Georgia Tech teams, Brent Venables has become all to familiar with the triple-option offense, and there is no one out there better at coming up with a plan to shut it down. Experience or no experience, that should be the case once again on Saturday.
While there may be the occasional bump in the road on the defensive side of the ball, don’t expect many. If South Florida can hold The Citadel to less that four yards per carry on more than fifty carries, imagine the success this front seven of the Tigers is about to have.
Derion Kendrick and Mario Goodrich are both back this week. Hopefully Andrew Booth Jr just had opening game jitters last week and plays like the guy the coaches raved about all through fall camp. Either way, the Citadel isn’t going to come out slinging the ball all over the field, but when they do throw it, the defensive backs can’t be caught peaking in the backfield.
On the offensive side, Clemson couldn’t have gotten off to a much better start. Lawrence was on fire, hitting on almost 80% of his passes and throwing for over 350 yards. While USF struggled to get any semblance of a passing game going against the Bulldogs last weekend, this Tiger team will not.
The only real question regarding Lawrence is exactly how long he plays. If It’s two full quarters, I will be surprised. Both backups saw action last week in Winston-Salem, but the play-calling got very conservative once Lawrence and the starters exited.
Don’t expect that this week. While Tony Elliott surely isn’t going to fully open the playbook in a game like this, he is likely to open it up a little more than last week. The coaches need to see how both both D.J. Uiagalelei and Taisun Phommachanh run the system when the handcuffs are off. At least a little anyways.
Don’t expect a ton of passing attempts though. This is one of those games in which the Tigers will start out running the ball. Then they will run it some more, and even a little more after that. Every available running back could get carries again this week.
Option or not, the defense will be dominant. The offense will be crisp again and the reserves will be better than what we saw last week. Clemson rolls, and piles up a ton of rushing yards in the process.
Clemson 52 Citadel 6
Three questions that will be interesting to keep an eye on during this game:
1) Will tight end Braden Galloway get more chances this week even if there are less pass attempts overall?
2) Which freshman back scores first, Kobe Pace or Demarkcus Bowman?
3) Could Tye Herbstreit, one of Kirk Herbstreit’s sons, get his first college touchdown?
In other words, this game will be one that fans can expect to hear names they aren’t used to hearing because the entire available roster will most likely get a shot.
We always like to ask for some of your predictions over in the group page on Facebook and include a few here as well. And they all have Clemson winning handily.
Phyllis Ferguson 65-10
Robert McCall 45-10
Mac Kelly 56-6
James Matherly 48-16
Nathan Shipman 49-10