It’s Game Day in Death Valley where No. 2 Clemson battles Troy as the Tigers hope for another undefeated season in the Valley.
Location: Memorial Stadium (Death Valley)
Kickoff: 12:30 PM
Television: ACC Network
Announcers: Tom Werme, Dave Archer, Roddy Jones
2016 Record: Clemson 1-0 Troy 1-0
ACC Record: Clemson 0-0
Series History: Clemson leads 1-0
Last Meeting: Clemson won 43-19 in 2011
Last Meeting with Troy
Clemson and Troy have met just once previously. That game was the season opener of 2011, a 43-19 victory at Memorial Stadium. The final score was not indicative of the competitiveness of the game, as Troy had a 16-13 lead at intermission.
Clemson scored first as freshman Sammy Watkins caught a 33-yard touchdown pass on the first possession of his career. It was just the second play of the season and came on a pass from Tajh Boyd just 26 seconds into the game. Clemson took a 10-0 lead on a 46-yard field goal by Chandler Catanzaro, one of three field goals of at least 45 yards in the game for the current kicker of the Arizona Cardinals.
16 Game Win Streak in Death Valley
Head Coach Dabo Swinney is 46-6 at home at Clemson, including the 16-game active winning streak. His Tigers have lost more than one game at home just once, in 2010 when the Tigers were 5-2 at home. Swinney and the Tigers lost their first home game, in 2008 by a 21-17 score against an unranked Georgia Tech team. That is the only unranked team Swinney has lost to at home. He enters the Troy game with a 41-game winning streak against unranked teams in Death Valley.
In the 16-game winning streak, Clemson has an average margin of victory of 24.6 points per game. Only two teams have been within 10 points of Clemson at home in the 16-game streak. In 2014, Clemson beat Louisville 23-17 and in 2015, beat Notre Dame 24-22. Fourteen of the 16 wins in the stretch have been by at least 10 points and eight have been by at least 20 points.
Mike Williams’s Big Return
Playing in his first game since the 2015 opener, Mike Williams had nine catches for 174 yards in the Tigers 19-13 win at Auburn. The Clemson senior had 70 percent of Clemson’s 248 receiving yards in the game, as he repeatedly made back shoulder receptions from quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Five for Boulware and Johnson
Clemson won the turnover battle at Auburn, 3-2. That is usually a good sign for the Tigers who are 43-4 under Dabo Swinney when winning that stat. Seniors Ben Boulware and Jadar Johnson each had the fifth interception of their respective careers and both of them came in the second half to stop Auburn drives deep into Clemson territory. In fact Boulware made his theft inside the five-yard line.
Boulware has made a name for himself making big plays in key games. Each of the last two years he has had an interception against Oklahoma in a bowl game, the only Clemson linebacker to do that in a bowl game two years in a row.
Johnson had the fifth interception of his career as well, but perhaps more importantly, broke up passes on Auburn’s last two last ditch pass attempts in the endzone.
Great Start for Kendall Joseph
Kendall Joseph was Clemson’s top tackler off stats from the Clemson coaches grading in the season opener at Auburn. The red-shirt sophomore from nearby Belton, S.C. made his first college start and had 14 tackles, including three tackles for loss and a sack. As a freshman in 2015, Joseph had just 11 tackles all year in 63 plays over seven games. He is a former three-time state champion in the state of South Carolina in weight lifting.
Tigers Continue to Dominate with Tackles for Loss
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. The Tigers were 28th in the category in 2012, Venables first year, with 87.
Alabama Once Again
For the third game in a row Clemson will play a team from the state of Alabama.
Robert – Clemson 63 Troy 17
Gavin – Clemson 55 Troy 17
Will – Clemson 45 Troy 17
Qualk – Clemson 54 Troy 17