3 keys to a Clemson win against Louisiana Tech

3 keys to a Clemson win against Louisiana Tech

Football

3 keys to a Clemson win against Louisiana Tech

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Clemson on Saturday will look to stay unbeaten heading into ACC play when the Tigers host Louisiana Tech at Memorial Stadium. What will it take for the Tigers to do that?

Here are three keys:

Keep everything in front

Louisiana Tech figures to try to test Clemson with plenty of short passes in its Air-Raid system. And after Furman had plenty of success dinking and dunking against the Tigers, Clemson figures to play things a little tighter in coverage. But the Bulldogs are also likely to pick their spots to try to hit Clemson with some explosive plays in the vertical passing game, something the Tigers need to avoid more than anything.

Not getting beat with a quick strike over the top means Tech’s offense will have to try to put together lengthy drives in order to get points, which means more plays. And the more plays any offense has to try to execute on a possession increase the chances of making a mistake somewhere along the way. Clemson has already forced multiple turnovers in each of its first two games, and forcing Tech to drive the length of the field against the pressure the Tigers are capable of creating with their front seven is as good a way as any to try to get some more come Saturday. 

Get off the field

It’s a good thing Clemson’s offense was efficient early on last week or the Tigers could’ve found themselves in a much more competitive game against Furman. That’s because the offense didn’t have as many possessions as usual with the defense’s inability to get off the field. Furman held the ball for nearly 35 minutes of game time by converting 10 of 18 third downs, making Clemson defend 74 snaps. It’s a lot to ask of Clemson’s offense to score touchdowns on five of its first six possessions like it did a week ago, but the defense could help the offense’s cause by getting the ball back to it more often and giving the Tigers more opportunities for points.

Tech is converting on third down more than 41% of the time, which ranks fourth in Conference USA. On the flip side, the Bulldogs’ defense is allowing teams to convert nearly 40% of the time on the money down (10 of 27), a clip that’s worse than Clemson (12 of 34). That’s another reason to get the ball back to the offense as much as possible if you’re the defense.

Finish even (or better) in the turnover department

If you’ve read it here once, you’ve read it here 1,000 times: Turnovers are the great equalizer for teams that are at a talent disadvantage compared to their competition, which is the case this week for Tech. Ideally, Clemson would like to win the turnover margin, and if that happens Saturday, the Tigers could run away with it. But Clemson hasn’t always played clean football through the first two games and is coming off its first multiple-turnover game of the season. If that continues, the Tigers need to at least match Tech in the turnover department to keep the Bulldogs at arm’s length. It’s been a recipe for success over the years for Clemson, which is 115-14 all-time under Dabo Swinney winning at least tying the turnover margin.

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