Clemson will enter Saturday’s game at Death Valley as a 29-point favorite over the Virginia Cavaliers in a rematch of last year’s ACC Championship Game.
Though some might think the line is pretty high, it actually makes sense. Virginia is coming off a 38-20 win over winless Duke in its season opener. The Cavaliers pulled away with 21 un-answered points in the fourth quarter. It also helped they forced seven turnovers, including five interceptions off former Clemson quarterback Chase Brice.
But Virginia will not be facing Brice when the top-ranked Tigers and Cavaliers meet for an 8 p.m. kick on the ACC Network. Instead they will be facing Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne, and a Clemson offense that is averaging 43 points a game.
There is also no Brice Perkins for the Cavaliers, who was their quarterback and top playmaker in 2019. He has since graduated and moved on.
However, ESPNU radio host and sportswriter for CBS Sports thinks Virginia will give Clemson all it can handle on Saturday.
“Clemson had a week off and we really don’t know much about Virginia,” Barrett Sallee said on his College Sports Sunday Show. “I think this is the biggest test for Clemson so far, and, after two weeks, I am fascinated to see what they look like. They know now that Virginia is a pretty decent opponent.”
With Perkins last year, Clemson defeated the Cavaliers, 62-17. The 45-point margin of victory is the largest margin of victory in the ACC Championship Game.
“You are right, this is clearly going to be the best team Clemson has played to this point,” ESPN analyst Tom Luginbill replied. “The question is, is it a game where Clemson is going to play their twos, threes and fours like they did their first two weeks?”
Sallee feels the Cavaliers will give the Tigers all they have and more and this could be one of those games where Lawrence can play the whole night.
“I think Virginia is good enough to at least keep the starters in for Clemson the entire game, and if that is the case, that means it is relatively close,” he said.
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