Three Reasons Clemson Will Beat FSU
1. Battle in the Trenches
Continuing the tradition of great Clemson pass rushers like William “Refrigerator” Perry, Gaines Adams, and Da’Quan Bowers, Clemson is back to boasting a premier defensive line, headlined by DT Grady Jarrett and DE Vic Beasley. Clemson has 24 sacks on the season, second in the nation (Virginia Tech: 27). The Tigers’ star speed rusher, Vic Beasley, leads the nation in the category with nine sacks.
According to Sports Ratings Typepad, Clemson leads the nation in sacks when adjusted for games played and competition at 4.77 per game. On the other side of the ball, Clemson’s adjusted statistic for expected sacks allowed vs. an average pass rush is a minuscule 1.16. These adjusted statistics for FSU lag well behind–just 1.61 sacks per game and 1.58 expected sacks allowed per game. FSU has 10 total sacks on the season.
Clemson will pit its RS senior QB against FSU’s spectacular RS freshman. Clemson has already played in a nationally relevant game and dealt with the College GameDay media this season. Boyd has already seen an excellent pass rush (LSU) and already won big games (UGA, LSU, VT) throughout his historic career. Scott Van Pelt is headed to Tallahassee this week to shoot a feature like the one below. With all the media hype, pressure, and expectations (as a 3-point road favorite) will FSU and their 19-year-old QB be ready?
3. Clemson Welcomes You To Death Valley
It’s almost too obvious to mention, but it is likely to be the single biggest factor in swaying this game. On #CST560 Clemson Sports Radio in Columbia, SC, Coach Bobby Bowden complimented Death Valley, saying,
“You can’t hear a daggum thing up there”
Dabo’s Tigers have only lost one home game in the past two and a half seasons and the Seminoles haven’t won in Clemson since 2001. If you don’t think the Tigers are fired up about being home underdogs, you’re wrong.
Three Reasons Clemson Won’t Beat FSU
1. Inability to Run the Ball
If Clemson can run the ball with success, as Boston College did against FSU, I expect they’ll win. That said, Clemson’s just 65th in the nation in rushing yards per game. Not horrible, but when you’re supposed to be one of the most dynamic offenses in the country, you expect more. Florida State has allowed 3.4 YPC this season. Clemson has rushed for 4.0 YPC (to FSU’s 6.0).
2. Incredibly Talented Cornerbacks
If Clemson struggles to find traction in the running game, their passing game will run into major trouble. Florida State presents the Clemson receiving corps their biggest challenge yet. Watkins made Wake Forest, Syracuse, and Boston College look inept. Martavis Bryant did the same against NCSU and Adam Humphries burned Syracuse twice. Frankly, they should! Clemson’s wide receiving corps should blow these secondaries out of the water each and every week, and to their credit, they generally do. Florida State though has an unreal corps of cornerbacks.
Their star CB is senior Lamarcus Joyner, a former five-star recruit. He’s not alone. Jalen Ramsey, a freshman, is also a five-star corner. Their other cornerbacks (P.J. Williams, Nick Waisome, and Ronald Darby) are all four stars. Holy cow!
Clemson OC, Chad Morris, said “I felt like last year, they physically whipped us at the wide receiver position. They embarrassed us.”
3. Receiving Depth
Although Clemson’s wide receivers are more acclaimed, many are saying that FSU’s unit, top-to-bottom, is better. I’ve heard this from Tommy Bowden in addition to multiple bloggers (Rant Sports and Blogger So Dear) and given the Charone Peake injury, I believe it. Do you really trust Martavis Bryant to make the big catch? Is Germone Hopper, who was suspended last week, dependable? What about Mike Williams, talented but a freshman? Adam Humphries is the number two receiver for the Tigers at this juncture.
Florida State may not have a Sammy Watkins, but with Rashad Greene, Kenny Shaw, Kelvin Benjamin, and tight end Nick O’Leary, they have a plethora of excellent targets for Jameis Winston.
For reference, I previewed this game as well as the rest of the games on the Clemson schedule here, and gave Clemson a 55% of winning this contest. I stick by my statement that anybody who tells you either team is “clearly” better and will certainly win this matchup is crazy. I’ve just updated this post to include the video above where I discussed this big game on Mark Rogers TV.
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