The best offense in the ACC faces off with its best defense.
Miami’s offense has been extremely explosive this season, with a 16.3% explosive play rate. That is awfully impressive. However, a lot of those stats were padded against teams like Miami (Oh), Bethune-Cookman and Temple, although the Canes did have plenty of success in a win over Texas A&M.
The past two weeks, though, things have not gone quite as smoothly, as Miami lost at home to Georgia Tech and on the road at North Carolina. Mario Cristobal refusing to take a knee gets much of the attention in the loss to the Yellow Jackets, but Miami was still trailing 17-10 in the fourth quarter.
Then came the loss to the Tar Heels, where QB Tyler Van Dyke was sacked three times and took a beating. He won’t be 100% come Saturday night. Not even close.
That’s where the Clemson defense comes into play. The Tigers get Nate Wiggins back at just the right time, as Van Dyke has been extremely reliant on WR Xavier Restrepo. Take him away, something this defense is absolutely capable of doing, and Van Dyke struggles. He is easily baited and will oftentimes throw into coverage.
However, after the lackluster performance against Wake Forest, all eyes will be on the Clemson offense. The Canes are stout up front along the defensive line but have been susceptible to the run. They gave up 235 yards to the Tar Heels just last week. Clemson SHOULD be able to have a little success on the ground with Will Shipley and Phil Mafah.
At the end of the day, this one might just come down to who turns it over less. Which team can minimize the mistakes. Miami has turned it over nine times in the past two games. They have committed 17 total in their six games this season, compared to the Tigers’ 10. The Canes have fumbled the ball 14 times, losing seven of those.
Cade Klubnik bounces back after a subpar performance against Wake, with Antonio Williams making an impact in his return from injury, and the Tigers do just enough in the running game to come away with a big road win.
Clemson 28 Miami 21
Clemson and Notre Dame have released depth charts ahead of this weekend’s matchup at Death Valley.
For the second time this season, Clemson will be an underdog at home.
Despite Clemson’s astonishing loss to Miami, the Tigers will head to Raleigh next week favored over NC State.