What Clemson fans need to know about the Cavaliers
Third-ranked Clemson will be playing in the ACC Championship Game for a record fifth straight time on Saturday when it plays No. 23 Virginia at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Overall, this will be the Tigers’ seventh trip to the conference title game, more than any of other team since the ACC played its first conference championship game in 2005. Clemson has a 5-1 record in the ACC Championship Game, including five straight wins. It won the 2011 ACC Championship Game over Virginia Tech and has won the last four over North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Miami and Pittsburgh.
This will be the 48th meeting between Clemson and Virginia, but because of the ACC’s unbalanced schedule this will be the first meeting since the Tigers downed UVA, 59-10, in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2013. Clemson leads the overall series 38-8-1. The Tigers won the first 29 games in the series.
As for the Cavaliers, they will be making first ever trip to the ACC Championship Game. What do we know about Wahoos?
Virginia is playing for its first outright ACC title in football after sharing the 1989 title with Duke and the 1995 title with Florida State. UVA won the head-to-head in 1989 with Duke and with Florida State in 1995.
UVA (9-3) is looking for its 10th win of the season, which would be only the second 10-win season in program history. The 1989 team went 10-3 and was co-champions of the ACC.
Quarterback Bryce Perkins is one of three players in the nation, joining Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts and ULM’s Caleb Evans, to pass for 2,900-plus yards and rush for 600-plus yards so far this season. Perkins is No. 1 in the ACC and No. 13 in the nation with 3,636 yards of total offense, which has already broken his own single-season UVA record from 2018 (3,603).
Perkins led UVA to its first 4-0 November since 1951. During the month of November Perkins was the only player in the nation with 1,000 passing yards (1,146) and 400 rushing yards (412). Since the start of 2018 he is the only FBS player with 5,200-plus passing yards and 1,600-plus rushing yards.
Linebacker Jordan Mack, a Campbell Trophy finalist, is No. 6 in the ACC with 7.5 sacks and is No. 1 among the league’s linebackers (No. 12 among the nation’s linebackers). Mack also is the ACC’s Jim Tatum Award winner as the league’s top senior football student-athlete.
Virginia is No. 6 in the nation with 43 sacks. The 43 sacks are tied for a UVA single-season record, matching the Chris Long-led 2007 team.
During the Cavaliers 4-0 November, Perkins was a catalyst as he was 92-of-137 passing (67.2 percent) for 1,146 yards and seven touchdowns. He also rushed for 412 yards and six more scores.
In the previous 129 years of UVA football, only three times had a Cavalier amass 400-plus yards of total offense in a game. Perkins did it twice in November with a single-game record 490 at UNC, followed by the second-most in a game (475) against Virginia Tech. The plateau has been reached four times since 2016, all during the Bronco Mendenhall era. Marc Verica in 2010 at Duke was the only other 400-plus total offense game.
Since Perkins threw an interception at the end the second quarter at Louisville, the UVA quarterback is 103-of-163 for 1,266 yards and eight passing touchdowns (one INT) over the last 18 quarters.
UVA’s opponents have only been successful 23.9 percent (29-121) of the time when faced with a 3rdand-5 or longer against the Cavalier defense. When faced with 3rd-and-4 or closer they succeed 58.1 percent (25-of-43) of the time. UVA is No. 24 in the nation and No. 4 in the ACC in third down defense (33.5).
For the first time since 1969, UVA has started a season holding each of its first eight opponents under 400 yards of total offense. The 1969 team held all 10 opponents under 400 yards of total offense that year. The North Carolina and Virginia Tech games are the only games this season where UVA’s opponent tallied 400+ yards of total offense. UNC (539) snapped UVA’s nine-game streak of holding its opponents to 399 or fewer yards.
It was also the first time since the 2001 Georgia Tech game that UVA gave up 500+ yards and still won.
—Virginia Athletic Communications contributed to this story
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