Clemson (6-0) vs. Miami (4-2) 12:00 pm
Notes: Last meeting between both teams was in 2010 in which the Hurricanes won the game by a score of 30-21. Since 2013 (through 2015), Miami is 14-3 overall at home compared to 4-11 on the road or neutral field site. In last week’s 34-17 victory over Boston College, the Tigers amassed 532 total yards of offense. What was so impressive was the fact that entering the game, Boston College had the #1 ranked statistical defense allowing 140 total yards per game.
The Tigers are averaging 35.2 points per game and are led by their dynamic sophmore quarterback DeShaun Watson. On the year, Clemson is averaging 181 rushing yards per game and throwing for 267 passing yards per game. Watson has looked confident this season and has completed 68.2% of his passes for 1,410 yards with 14 touchdowns along with 7 interceptions. Watson has shown poise and leadership in directing the team to a perfect record but will need to be consistent this week against a very athletic Hurricanes defensive front. Running back Wayne Gallman leads the team in rushing with 585 yards averaging 5.5 yards per carry and has 5 touchdowns this year, Gallman is an explosive back who has great vision in hitting running lanes at full speed. If the Tigers can establish the rushing attack early on Saturday, Watson will have success in the play action passing game. Wide receiver Artavis Scott has a team leading 39 receptions for 443 yards with 4 touchdowns and is the Tigers big play threat. Scott is a polished route runner that is lethal after the catch. In order for Clemson to win this game, the Tigers will need to test the deep middle of the Hurricanes secondary. Miami struggled in pass coverage against Nebraska when challenged by quarterback Tommy Armstrong and look for Clemson to implement a similar game plan on Saturday. Clemson likes to run an up-tempo attack and the Hurricanes wore down defensively during the Nebraska game in the second half with a similar attack. Wide receivers Deon Cain and Charone Peake are receivers that have an impact on Satruday’s contest. Cain has 13 receptions for 263 yards while Peake has 11 receptions for 165 yards along with 2 touchdowns.
Defensively, the Tigers are very solid and have been getting better week by week allowing 16.7 points per game. The Tigers are very good at shutting down the run yielding 114 rushing yards per game and are excellent in pass coverage allowing 167 passing yards per game. In order to get the road victory, the team will need to win the turnover battle. Entering this game, Clemson is -1 in turnover margin and will need a better effort on Saturday. The team has recorded 15 sacks on the year and will need to get pressure on Hurricanes quarterback Brad Kayaa to force him into check downs to his receivers. If Clemson can force third down and long situations-the Tigers are very good in forcing punting situations. Clemson has the second best 3rd down defense in FBS, behind the Michigan Wolverines, allowing their opponents to covert on 20% of the time. On the year, the Tigers have recorded 15 sacks through 6 games with defensive lineman Kevin Dodd leading the team with 4.5 total sacks. Leading tackler defensive back T.J Green (40 total tackles) is a physical player who always is around the football and figures to be a difference maker on Saturday.
The Hurricanes are averaging 33.7 points per game and will need to challenge Clemson through the air in order to get the home victory. Clemson struggled in the 4th quarter in the win against Notre Dame and Miami quarterback Brad Kayaa is the best signal called the Tigers defense has faced to date. The Hurricanes are averaging 136 rushing yards per game and are passing for 307 yards through the air against their opponents. Kayaa has looked sharp this season in spreading the ball around to a number of receivers this season. Kayaa has completed 61.2% of his passes for 1,795 with 10 touchdowns and one interception. The offensive line has done a fantastic job in protecting Kayaa (7 sacks allowing through 6 games) and will need the same type of effort this coming weekend to allow him time in locating his receivers. Running back Joseph Yearby leads the team with 517 yards averaging 5.6 yards per carry and 5 touchdowns. Yearby is a durable back who can also catch the ball out of the backfield. On the season, Yearby has 14 receptions for 177 yards with 2 touchdowns. The Hurricanes will need to be aggressive and working the middle of the field in the passing attack against the Tigers defense. Notre Dame had great success in crossing routes that allowed their receivers to make yards after the catch. Look for the Hurricanes to utilize a similar game plan at home on Saturday afternoon. Leading receiver Rashawn Scott (33 receptions 446 yards 4 TD’s) could have a big a big day as he has the speed to take the top off of the defense. Scott can also be used to force double teams which can open up the crossing patterns for the Miami offense.
If the Hurricanes are to get the upset on Saturday, the defense will need to continue to play aggressive and they must force turnovers. The Hurricanes lead all of FBS with +13 in turnover margin and have done a great job in giving their offense excellent field position. Miami is allowing 22.7 points per game and is yielding 167 rushing yards per game. However, at home, the team is giving up 45 yards less and is allowing 122 yards per game to their opponents. Defensive lineman Trent Harris(2.5 sacks) leads an active front seven that has recorded 15 sacks through the first 6 games. Linebacker Rapahel Kirby is the emotional leader of the group and leads the team with 44 total tackles. The Hurricanes are giving up 212 passing yards per game and must be able to play better man to man coverage against the Tigers potent offensive attack. In order for Miami to get the home victory the defense will need to utilize different blitz packages to get pressure on DeShaun Watson and to force Clemson into methodically working down the field. If they cannot implement this type of defensive game plan, the team will most likely be playing from behind.
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Joseph Lisi a former ABC Sports college football researcher, is the owner of www.GOFORTHE2.COM. He is a member if the FWAA (Football Writers Association Of America),Maxwell Football Club and is currently the content editor at www.2FiveSports.com.He contributes regularly to www.Sid-Rosenberg.com and has been a featured guest every Tuesday night from 10:30-11:30pm EST on Yahoo Sports Radio With Ken Thomson(www.sportsxradio.com).
Joe has been featured on the FNTSY Sports Network and The Sid Rosenberg Sports Radio Show 640AM Sports (South Florida). You can follow him on Twitter: @Goforthe2.
Joe has a weekly radio show on www.blogtalkradio.com with former Georgia Bulldogs WR Corey Allen called: