Countdown to kickoff: Troy at No. 2 Clemson

Sep 3, 2016; Auburn, AL, USA;  Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) drops back to pass against the Auburn Tigers during the second quarter at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Second-ranked Clemson will host Troy on Saturday in Death Valley in its home opener. The game is scheduled to kick off at 12:30 p.m., and will be televised by the ACC Network.

The game will mark the beginning of the 50th season of Howard’s Rock being at the top of the Hill. Clemson first played with Howard’s Rock on its pedestal against Virginia in 1966 as the Tigers rallied from 18 points down in the fourth quarter for a 40-35 victory.

About Troy: Troy began its season with a 57-17 win last Saturday over Aus­tin Peay. The performance was one of the best on offense in school his­tory as the Trojans accumulated 706 yards of total offense. They had 383 rushing yards and 323 passing. Like Clemson at Auburn, Troy had a 200-yard passer, a 100-yard rusher and a 100-yard receiver.

Troy’s offense: Quarterback Brandon Silvers finished third in the Sun Belt last season with 216.2 passing yards per game, 20 touchdown passes, and a 61.2 completion per­centage. Troy has an experienced quarterback, but overall it has a young offense. The Trojans have just four seniors available offensively this season, which is the second fewest in the country behind Minnesota. Additionally, Troy’s 15 overall seniors are the 14th fewest in the country.

Troy’s defense: Troy’s defensive coordinator is Vic Koenning, who served as Clemson’s defensive coordinator from 2005-08. During his four years as Clemson’s defensive coordinator the defense ranked in the top 20 in the nation in scoring defense, total defense and pass efficiency defense every year.

Records: Clemson 1-0; Troy 1-0

Series record: Clemson leads 1-0

First meeting: Clemson won 43-19 in 2011

Stat worth noting: Clemson enters Saturday’s game with a school record 16-game winning streak in Clemson Me­morial Stadium. The streak began with a 55- 31 win over Georgia Tech in 2013. The Tigers finished the regular season home schedule that year with a win over The Citadel, and have now posted consecutive 7-0 records at home since then. The 2014 and 2015 seasons mark the first time Clemson has had consecutive perfect seasons at home since 1950 and 1951 when Clemson was 4-0 at home each year.

Second stat worth noting: Clemson is 33-2 at home since 2011. Troy opened the 35-game span when the Tigers began that season with a 49-13 victory over the Trojans.

Third stat worth noting:  Clemson had 14 tackles for loss in the season opening win over Auburn, tied for the fourth most over the first weekend of col­lege football. It was a balanced performance in that area as nine different players were involved in the stops behind the line of scrim­mage. Kendall Joseph led the way with three, the first three of his career in fact. Christian Wilkins had 2.5 and Cordrea Tankersley had two.

Since Brent Venables has been at Clemson the Tigers have done very well in this category. In fact, each of the last three years, the Tigers have led the nation in total tackles for loss. Clemson had 123 in 2013, 131 in 2014 and 126 last year.


Photo Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

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