Saturday will be a special day in Clemson for a lot of reasons. It will mark the final home game of the year for the second-ranked Tigers as well as the final home game for the Tigers’ senior class as their illustrious careers in Death Valley come to an end. It will also be Military Appreciation Day as Clemson recognizes and honors its fallen soldiers, veterans and current military personnel serving in the Armed Forces during pregame, in-game and halftime ceremonies.
Where: Clemson Memorial Stadium, Clemson, S.C.
Records: Clemson 9-1, 7-1 ACC; The Citadel 5-5, 3-5 SoCon
When: Saturday, 12:20 p.m.
TV: ACC Network
Radio: 105.5 in the Upstate (Clemson Tigers Radio Network); XM Radio Ch. 192
Latest Line: Clemson favored by 41 points
Series: Clemson leads the series 31-5-1
First meeting: Clemson won 17-0 in 1909 in Charleston, S.C.
Last meeting: Clemson won 52-6 in 2013 in Clemson
Injury Report: Out for Season: Richard Yeargin, DE, Neck; Logan Rudolph, DE, Shoulder; Cole Renfrow, TE, Knee; Greg Huegel, PK, Knee. Out this Game: Garrett Williams, TE, knee. Doubtful: Dexter Lawrence, DT, foot; Tre Lamar, LB, back. Questionable: Kendall Joseph, LB, knee; Ryan Carter, CB, concussion protocol. Probable: Mark Fields, CB, foot; Tanner Muse, FS, hand.
Three story lines
There are just six senior scholarship players in this Clemson senior class, the smallest Clemson senior class of scholarship players since 1944 when the school’s entire junior and senior classes were fighting WWII. The only year that comes close is the senior class of 1985 that had just seven scholarship seniors. The seniors have a 26-1 record at home and a win on Saturday would set the Clemson record for wins in a four-year period. The senior classes of 2014, 2015 and 2016 were all 26-2.
Clemson enters Saturday’s game with The Citadel with a 9-1 record. A win would give the Tigers a seventh straight 10-win season. The Tigers are seeking their 14 overall 10-win season in history, so a victory over The Citadel would mean Clemson has half of its 10-win seasons in history over the last seven years. Clemson and Alabama would be the only programs with a streak of at least seven straight 10-win seasons. Alabama already has 10 wins this year and has a 10-year streak.
Clemson is a perfect 31-0 against Football Championship Sub-Division (FCS) teams since the NCAA formed the division prior to the 1978 season. Southern Conference schools became I-AA in 1982.
Clemson has outscored FCS teams by a 1,021-92 margin, an average victory of 40-7. Clemson has won 30 of the 31 games by at least double digits. The only exception came when Clemson defeated Wofford 35-27 in 2011. Wofford’s 27 points were the most by an FCS school against Clemson.
The Citadel players to watch
Dominique Allen, QB: He is the leading rusher and passer. He has 571 rushing yards and eight scores and has thrown for another three touchdowns and 458 yards. He is averaging just 45.8 yards per game.
Grant Drakeford, A-Back: He is second on the team with 556 yards and has two touchdowns. His longest run is 71 yards. He is averaging 9.9 yards per carry.
Myles Pierce, LB: He leads the Bulldogs with 83 tackles, including 12 tackles for loss. He also has 2 sacks and 4 quarterback pressures as well as 4 broken up passes, 1 forced fumble and 1 recovered fumble.
Aron Span, Rov/S: He leads the team with five interceptions and has 51 tackles. He also has three tackles for loss and one recovered fumble to go along with a PBU and 1 quarterback hurry.
The Citadel scouting report
The Citadel ranks second in total defense in the SoCon. The Bulldogs trail only Wofford in total defense and are allowing only 323.9 yards per game. The Bulldogs are fourth in scoring defense (22.9 PPG), but only 2.5 PPG behind conference leader Mercer (20.4).
The Citadel seniors are playing in their final game and have 29 wins, two SoCon titles, and two FCS Playoff appearances on their resume. The 29 wins are the second-most over a four-year span at The Citadel (’90-’93 had 30 wins).
The Citadel boasts one of the youngest sides of the ball in all of college football with an offense that now starts six freshmen. Three offensive linemen, B-Back Brandon Rainey, and two wide receivers started at Furman last week. Freshmen have combined for 52 starts on the offensive side of the ball, compared to only two on the defensive side.
The Bulldogs are No. 2 nationally in the FCS and lead the SoCon in rushing offense in 2017. The Citadel is averaging 308.6 rushing yards per game after leading the nation in rushing offense in 2016. The Citadel has rushed for over 300 yards in six games this season.