Clemson and Notre Dame face off again this weekend in Charlotte in what will by far be the biggest ACC Championship Game in history. Two top-five teams squaring off for not only a conference title but also with a playoff berth on the line.
The Irish knocked off the Tigers 47-40 in double overtime in South Bend back on November 7 and if Clemson is going to come away with a win this time around they will need to be better than they were in that first game.
Keys To Victory:
- Offensive Efficiency: Nobody has had much success running the ball on the Irish this season but the Tigers running game must be better than it was in South Bend. Averaging 1 YPC will not get it done. Dabo Swinney and Tony Elliott have both said that Clemson needs to be more efficient on offense. That doesn’t mean they have to run for 200 yards but they have to be good enough to make that Irish defense respect it.
- Trevor Lawrence’s Legs: This goes back to making Notre Dame respect the running game. Trevor Lawrence has shown time and again that he can be deadly in the running game off of those zone-reads the Tigers like to run. If Clemson is going to win this game, the quarterback run needs to be a big part of the plan. Making the Irish account for Lawrence in the running game can also lead to more running room for the backs.
- Stop The Run: Stopping this running game is almost impossible with that offensive line the Irish have. However, the Tigers will absolutely need to slow it down. Far to often in the first matchup the Irish were able to have success on first down running the ball. Clemson must keep Ian Book and that offense off-schedule. Force Book to make plays on second and long and third and long. Having Tyler Davis and James Skalski should help tremendously.
- Contain Ian Book: The Notre Dame quarterback killed the Tigers with his legs the first time around. To often he had running lanes to escape when he was pressured. Clemson must keep him in the pocket, without letting him get comfortable, and when they have the chance to bring him down, they have to do so. Book has grown into a dangerous quarterback who can beat you in a multitude of ways. Don’t give him easy yards in the running game.
- Use The Tight Ends: The Tigers have two playmaking tight ends. With all of the injuries at receiver, Braden Galloway and Davis Allen need to make some plays to help take some of the pressure off of Cornell Powell and Amari Rodgers. Not to mention, using the tight ends over the middle of the field can help open up some things in the running game.