An ESPN college football analyst and former Big 12 and NFL defensive lineman weighed in on today’s 3:30 p.m. game between Clemson and No. 23 Pittsburgh at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
On ESPNU Radio on SiriusXM on Friday, Dusty Dvoracek was asked how many points he thinks the Panthers will put up against the Tigers’ defense, which ranks second in the FBS in points per game allowed (12.5). Pitt’s offense enters the contest ranked second nationally in points per game scored (48.3).
Dvoracek believes the Panthers will win and predicts it to be somewhere along the lines of a 24-17 score.
“I think it is a low-scoring affair,” said Dvoracek, who played for Oklahoma from 2001-05 before being drafted 73rd overall in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears.
“If you’re going to pin me down and make me give you a number, like, 24-17, I can see. Somewhere in that ilk. I believe the over/under is 47, 48, which by the way, Pitt is averaging 48.3 a game. So, they’re scoring more than the over/under (47.5). That’s a tell-tale sign that this is a really good Clemson Tiger defense, and I think that they’ll still be good. It’s not going to be easy, but I just don’t think their offense can muster up much. I think 24-17. It wouldn’t shock me if they’re able to put up maybe 27. I don’t think they get to 30. I think it’s mid-to-high 20s is where I see Pitt falling and being able to score.”
On the flip side, Dvoracek also discussed the matchup between Clemson’s offense and Pitt’s defense, which comes into the contest ranked 34th nationally allowing 20.0 points per game.
The Tigers, meanwhile, are scoring 20.5 points per game on average – a number that ranks 113th nationally.
“Here’s the thing about (Pitt head coach) Pat Narduzzi and his defenses,” Dvoracek said. “They’re going to choke out the run. They play press quarters, they walk those safeties in about 8 yards, they insert them in the box and they dare you to beat you over the top. If Clemson’s going to win against Pitt, D.J. Uiagalelei’s going to have to hit some shots over the top, and they’ve got the personnel to do it. They do. Will he have enough time? I question that. Will this offensive line be able to protect, because there will be pressure brought.
“Coach (Randy) Bates, the defensive coordinator, he dials it up, man. They bring all kinds of pressures. They are very aggressive at Pitt. So, that’s where I question, can Clemson’s offensive line hold up? Because if they can, there’s going to be opportunities there for D.J. Uiagalelei to make shots over the top. And I will say Clemson is not devoid of talent. Justyn Ross and company, they’ve got dudes outside. The question is can the offensive line hold up, and when they do, can D.J. Uiagalelei deliver the football? I’m saying he can’t, because I haven’t seen it so far this year.”
Pitt (5-1, 2-0 ACC) is a 3.5-point home favorite against Clemson (4-2, 3-1). The game will be televised on ESPN.
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