Third-ranked Clemson struggled to corral No. 2 Notre Dame in its 47-40 double-overtime loss in South Bend, Ind., back in October. But it gets another shot to best the undefeated Irish on Saturday in the ACC Championship Game at Bank of America in Charlotte.
Nolan Turner and the Tigers’ defense are up for the challenge of containing Ian Book and the Notre Dame offense.
The senior safety knows Clemson has room to improve in the rematch this weekend after allowing 519 yards of total offense. Turner has been looking forward to another shot at the Fighting Irish.
“After we got beat the first time we were just really hoping we would get another shot. We finished the season strong and ultimately made it to this ACC Championship Game and we are right where we want to be,” Turner said. “We are fortunate enough to get another opportunity to play them and this is what we have been looking forward to ever since the loss we are super excited to play on Saturday and get this shot again.”
Book torched Clemson in the last outing when he completed 22-of-39 passes for 310 yards and a touchdown and added 14 rushes for 64 yards.
The Notre Dame quarterback has looked outstanding this season and shown the maturity of a three-year starter with his ability to make good decisions with the football and extend busted plays. Turner has seen the growth of Book since the two teams met in the 2018 College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Cotton Bowl.
“I definitely think when you grow as a player and get older, you’re more comfortable as a player,” the Clemson safety said. “Ian is a savvy dude, an athletic quarterback and has been making really good decisions this year.”
Turner credited Book’s football IQ and sound decision making for his success this season and knows Clemson has to contain him in order to win another conference championship this weekend.
“You can tell he is comfortable back there and is a really smart guy, you can see that in the plays he makes with his legs and through the air,” Turner said. “He looks like that mature fifth year quarterback back there and we are going to have to corral him this week to ultimately stop him.”
Clemson gets its second shot at Notre Dame at 4 p.m., Saturday.