By Lee Lance.
Saturday’s meeting between Clemson and Miami will be just the ninth time the two teams have met on the football field. Of the previous eight games of the series, which dates back to 1945, Clemson has won three times. In the two most recent victories, Miami was a top ten team coming in while the Tigers were unranked, much like the upcoming meeting.
Tiger’s Offense vs Cane’s Defense:
Although the Tigers are averaging over 200 yards per game on the ground this season, and although Kyle Parker has six touchdowns versus one interception, it just seems like a tough call to pick Clemson here. Maybe it’s that “ACC” speed that Miami has on defense? Or maybe it’s the fact that Miami is eighth in the nation in total defense giving up just 250 yards per game? It could also be that the Canes are coming off of their best defensive performance of the season, last week’s 31-3 pounding of Pittsburgh?
But then again, “that is Pittsburgh, this is Clemson”. Last year, Kyle Parker rolled up 326 yards on the Canes, but don’t look for that to happen again. I do expect Parker to have a good game, statistically, but it won’t be home runs that get it done. Facing a team with the speed of Miami, look for the play book to look almost identical to the one the Tigers used at Auburn. Lot’s of misdirection, screens, and short yardage passes.
If the Tiger’s offensive line can play like they did for three quarters two weeks ago, and do it for four quarters this week, things could be just fine here, after all. It’s a big “if” since the o-line has been one of those on again off again spots for the Tigers in recent years, but this one seems up to the task to give us what we have wanted; consistency.
Tiger’s Defense vs Cane’s Offense:
Clemson has given up some yards this year, that is for sure. However, they also showed in the Auburn game that they can get great penetration into the opponents backfield and get pressure on the quarterback, even in situations without a blitz. If the Tiger’s front can get into the backfield this weekend, look for Jacory Harris to have a long day.
Harris has shown that when pressured, he can be very careless with the ball, and that is something that could spell a huge game for not just the Tiger’s defensive line, but also for the secondary and DeAndre McDaniel. The preseason Heisman hopeful, Harris has thrown six interceptions compared to six touchdowns through just three games, and I don’t think that trend will end this week.
Harris aside, the Canes do have a strong backfield, led by a duo, Damien Berry and Lamar Miller, each averaging right at five yards per carry on the season. If the Tigers are going to slow them down too, the linebackers will have to step it up another notch this week. The good news for Clemson fans is that the linebackers have seemed to do just that, improve each week in the season so far.
Clemson’s Dawson Zimmerman and Miami’s punter, also Matt Bosher, are both averaging right at 46 yards per kick, while Spencer Benton and Bosher are both averaging right at 65 yards per kickoff as well.
In return yards, Miami holds an advantage over Clemson of plus ten yards per average kick return and plus five yards per punt return, 28 and 13 yards total. Each team also holds their opponents, on average, to right at 21 yards per kick return and eight yards per punt return.
There are some times when one has to just let what the players and coaches say go in one ear and out the other, when it comes to deciding who might win an upcoming game that is. However, there are other times when you simply can’t overlook what is being said. After all, attitude is a big part of competition, and this team is getting the attitude that it takes to be a big time program.
I fully expect to see Clemson come out looking like they did in the first half of the Auburn game, and really won’t be surprised to see even more energy and even more highlight making hits.
The last three times the Tigers and Canes have met, the games have gone to overtime. That won’t happen this time. The score may not show dominance in the end, and it won’t be pure dominance by any means, but in the end the Tigers get that first “real” win of the year and Clemson will be rocking on Homecoming night.
Clemson 31 Miami 24