ORLANDO, Fla. — Clemson fans are confident, but cautious, heading into Saturday night’s ACC Championship game between Clemson and Virginia Tech at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
At least, that’s the conclusion that could be drawn after speaking with fans who attended Clemson’s pep rally at I-Drive 360, a popular entertainment destination located in the heart of Orlando’s International Drive.
“I’m a little nervous,” Katherine from Florence, S.C., said. “I never like to be too positive. I feel like we’ve got the head on this one, but I don’t want to be looking forward to the next game. I want to worry about this one.”
Despite her guarded outlook on the game, Katherine believes the Tigers will win their second straight ACC Championship, something Clemson hasn’t accomplished in 28 years.
“It’s for them to lose,” she said. “They definitely should win tomorrow.”
She’s counting on Clemson’s leaders, quarterback Deshaun Watson and linebacker Ben Boulware, to get the job done.
“If Deshaun does what he needs to do and doesn’t turn the ball over, and I’m going to call out Ben Boulware to rise up and be a leader,” Katherine said. “But I feel like they’re going to win it.”
So, too, does Myron Pritchard from Conway, S.C., who was a football coach for 32 years at Myrtle Beach High School and Strom Thurmond High School.
“They have just been on fire the last two games since the problems with Pittsburgh,” Pritchard said, “so as well as we played last week, hopefully they’ll be in the same frame of mind and they’ll wipe them out just like that.”
After seeing Clemson score a combined 91 points in victories over Wake Forest and South Carolina the past two weeks, Pritchard doesn’t think Virginia Tech can contain Watson or his favorite player, running Wayne Gallman.
“First of all, I don’t believe that they can stop our offense,” Pritchard said. “My favorite player is Wayne Gallman. I just love the way he runs. I was a high school coach for 32 years, and I just love players that play with all their heart, and Wayne Gallman’s my hero. But Deshaun, also, if he has a good game, we should be fine.”
Meanwhile, Seth Conover, a native of Sumter, S.C., is glad Clemson made it back to the championship game after the loss to Pittsburgh and several other close wins this season.
“It’s a good experience,” Conover said. “Everyone thinks that Clemson shouldn’t be there, and we showed up again this year. It’s cool.”
He’s encouraged by what he has heard from Clemson’s players throughout the week leading up to the game.
“Just the mentality they’ve had going into it and all the interviews,” Conover said.
And Conover is hopeful, like the others, that Clemson will bring home the hardware tomorrow night.
“I hope they don’t lose, for one,” he said, “and I hope it’s just a good game.”