Countdown to Kickoff: Finally, Tigers are getting back on the field

Countdown to Kickoff: Finally, Tigers are getting back on the field

Football

Countdown to Kickoff: Finally, Tigers are getting back on the field

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Pitt at No. 3 Clemson

Saturday will mark the first time in 21 days No. 3 Clemson will play a football game when it hosts Pittsburgh at 3:30 p.m., at Death Valley on Senior Day and Military Appreciation Day.

The 21-day layoff is Clemson’s longest between regular season games in a single season since 1918, when Clemson went 28 days between games against Georgia Tech and South Carolina.

That year also marked the last major pandemic in American history, as the Spanish Flu and — of greater impact — World War I combined to affect the 1918 college football season. That year, Clemson played its second game of the season on Oct. 5 at Georgia Tech, but did not play games against Auburn (Oct. 19) and South Carolina (Oct. 31) as scheduled. Clemson finally returned to action against South Carolina on Nov. 2, a 39-0 Clemson win.

Game Information

Where: Memorial Stadium, Clemson

Records: Clemson 7-1, 6-1 ACC; Pitt 5-4, 4-4 ACC

When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

TV: ABC (Sean McDonough, Todd Blackledge, Todd McShay, Molly McGrath)

Radio: Clemson Tigers Network (Don Munson, Tim Bourret, Reggie Merriweather)

Satellite Radio: Sirius 83, XM 83, Internet 83

Latest Line: Clemson minus-24

Series History

  • OVERALL: Clemson trails series, 1-2
  • HOME: Clemson trails series, 0-1
  • ROAD: N/A
  • NEUTRAL: Series is even, 1-1
  • LAST MEETING: Dec. 1, 2018 (42-10, W)
  • STREAK: Clemson, Won 1

Three other story lines

In the last four years, Clemson’s senior class is 26-0 in Death Valley, one victory away from tying the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Clemson seniors (27 wins each) for the most career wins at Memorial Stadium. With a win this week, Clemson’s senior class can become the first Clemson class ever to go undefeated in Death Valley since the facility’s opening in 1942 and can become the first FBS senior class to post a perfect career record at home since the 2010 Boise State (26-0) and Oklahoma (25-0) seniors.

Clemson has not lost a home game since Pitt beat the Tigers 43-42 on November 12, 2016. The Tigers have won a school-record 27 straight games since then.

Saturday’s contest will feature two of college football’s most disruptive defenses. Clemson has recorded 391 sacks and 1,034 tackles for loss since hiring defensive coordinator Brent Venables in 2012, the most in the nation in both categories. Over the last two seasons, Pitt and Clemson rank No. 1 and 2, respectively, in the country in both sacks and tackles for loss, with the two teams combining for 168 sacks and 392 tackles for loss in that span.

Pitt three players to watch

Kenny Pickett, QB: Pickett is coming off one of the finest games of his career, throwing for 404 yards and accounting for three touchdowns (two passing) in the Panthers’ 47-14 win of Virginia Tech at Heinz Field last week.

D.J. Turner, WR: Turner achieved one of the greatest games ever by a Pitt wide receiver while sparking the Panthers over Virginia Tech. Turner hauled in 15 catches for 184 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown. His receptions total is the highest by an ACC player this year and the second highest nationally.

SirVocea Dennis, LB: Dennis is having an All-ACC caliber season. Dennis leads the Panthers in tackles for loss (13.5) and ranks second in total tackles (51). He also has four sacks. Dennis leads the ACC and ranks third nationally in total TFLs.

Prediction

Clemson is hungry to get back on the field. It has been three weeks since they lost to Notre Dame and then last week’s mess in Tallahassee got the team and Dabo Swinney fired up. The Tigers will likely be a little rusty and the Panthers are playing good football right now. This game will be a little closer than most believe, but in the end the Tigers should find the win column again.

Score prediction: Clemson 34, Pitt 20

–Clemson and Pitt Athletic Communications departments contributed to this story

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