With all the mess surrounding the postponement of the Florida State game behind them, the third-ranked Clemson Tigers have turned their attention to Pittsburgh.
The Panthers come into Death Valley on Saturday with a two-game winning streak and playing as confident as they were at the beginning of the season when it started the year by winning its first three games.
However, injuries, especially to starting quarterback Kenny Pickett caused Pitt to drop four straight games. But Pickett returned a few ago and helped the Panthers beat FSU, 41-17. Then last week, they blew out Virginia Tech, 47-14.
The Panthers (5-4) are now looking do something no one has done since the last time they visited Clemson in 2016, beat the Tigers at Death Valley. Clemson has won a school record 27 straight games at Memorial Stadium since Pitt stunned a second-ranked Clemson team in 2016.
“They are 5-4, but they are easily a 7-2 or 8-1 team,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “They had two one-point losses. One of them, literally, on a fluke deal. They are first in the country in tackles for loss. They are second in the country in sacks.
“They are a fun team to watch on tape, to be honest with you, because they really play the game the way I think it should be played. They are physical, tough, great effort, aggressiveness, that is how they play.”
Clemson (7-1, 6-1 ACC) has not played since losing in double-overtime at No. 2 Notre Dame on Nov. 7. In fact, when the Tigers kickoff on Saturday, 3:30 p.m. (ABC), it will mark 21 days since they last played a game. Before last week’s postponement, Clemson had an open date on Nov. 14.
The 21-day layoff is the longest for a Clemson team during the regular season since 1918, the last time America suffered through a global pandemic.
“They are just excited about playing football and are looking forward to a great matchup with Pitt,” Swinney said about his players in dealing with such a long layoff. “It is easy to turn on the tape and have a lot of respect for this bunch that is coming in here. They are tough. They are physical.
“But yeah, what happened last weekend was last weekend. These guys have moved on. Y’all keep asking questions, and I know I don’t have to answer them, but I want to make sure that we are accurate and truthful.”
And that Clemson has moved on to playing Pitt.
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