The Clemson Tigers will look to win a bowl for the second year in a row for the first time since 1990 when they battle South Florida Friday at Bank of America stadium.
Clemson Offense vs South Florida Defense:
South Florida’s defense had an outstanding season. They finished 21st in the nation in total defense giving up only 319 yards per game. South Florida is 19th in the nation in scoring defense giving up only 19.5 points per game.
Kyle Parker will start his final game for the Tigers. Tajh Boyd will also see playing time Friday afternoon. The extra bowl practices should have helped the Tigers improve the passing game. DeAndre Hopkins is no longer a true freshman after playing in twelve games this season.
Jerrell Young has three interceptions for South Florida who ranks No. 21 in the nation in passing defense.
Clemson will try to run the ball against the nation’s No. 33 rushing defense. Jamie Harper will once again carry the load for the Tigers. Harper finished the year with 726 yards rushing and a 4.1 yards per carry average.
The Tigers will need to score some touchdowns Friday to get the victory. South Florida has a huge advantage at kicker so if it becomes a game of field goals the Bulls will take home the victory.
Turnovers will be critical. If the Tigers turn the ball over they will not bring home the victory.
Edge: South Florida
Clemson Defense vs South Florida Offense:
The Clemson defense continues to be one of the best in the nation. The Tigers rank No. 9 in the nation in scoring defense only allowing 17.75 points per game. DaQuan Bowers leads the nation in sacks with 15.5 and is second in the nation in tackles for loss with 25.
The Bulls will play both quarterbacks Bobby Eveld and B.J. Daniels to Skip Holtz. Daniels finished the regular season completing 123 of 218 for 1496 yards and nine touchdowns. Eveld finished the season completing 42 of 75 for 454 yards and two touchdowns.
Clemson will try to shut down the Bulls running game and force them to throw. Expect DaQuan to put on a show in his final game as a Tiger. Bowers will look to set the Clemson single season sack record with one more sack.
DeAndre McDaniel told me Thursday that he was going to pick off two passes Friday. One will probably be enough to help lead the Tigers to victory.
Bowl games are usually won by the team that wants to be there the most. The Tigers would certainly rather be playing in a better bowl, but the team has been very focused this week on the task at hand. We won’t know for sure until tomorrow afternoon if the team will play like they want to be in Charlotte.
The Clemson players have said all of the right things this week, but I have learned not to pay much attention to what the players say during the week. The Tigers said all of the right things the week leading up to the Boston College game and we saw what happened. The same could be said for the week leading up to the debacle against South Carolina.
Clemson should have the bigger crowd Friday, but the ticket sales for the Tigers have been disappointing for the second year in a row.
The team that plays the best offense will win this game. Expect the Clemson passing game to be improved with the extra bowl practices. The experienced Clemson offensive line could be the difference in this one.
Jamie Harper played a major role in the Tigers bowl victory last year. This year he once again will help lead the Tigers to a close victory. It won’t be pretty, but the Tigers will win their second bowl in a row for the first time since 1990.
Clemson 21 South Florida 17