The Final Breakdown

The Tigers fave Georgia State for the first time in school history on Saturday.

WHAT: Georgia State (1-9) No. 22 Clemson (7-3)
WHERE: Memorial Stadium - Clemson, S.C. (81,500)
WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 22 (3:30 p.m.)
SPREAD: Clemson by 41
TV: RSN

Grady Jarrett leads Clemson's front four again this week. (Getty)
GEORGIA STATE RUN GAME VS CLEMSON FRONT SEVEN
This could get ugly really quickly. Clemson’s defensive front has dominated against the run all season. Even last week against the run-happy Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, the Tigers were pretty good against the run and didn’t allow a rushing touchdown. And the Panthers just haven’t had much success running the ball at all. Georgia State ranks 123rd nationally with 95.6 rushing yards per game, and it averages just 2.9 yards per carry. Marcus Caffey leads the team with 70 rushes and 258 yards, while Kyler Neal has 40 carries for 209 yards. That’s about it, and it won’t get much better this week Grady Jarrett, Vic Beasley, Stephone Anthony and company.

Advantage:

GEORGIA STATE PASS ATTACK VS CLEMSON PASS RUSH/SECONDARY
Vic Beasley could have a field day Saturday. (Getty)
The Panthers’ passing attack is pretty solid and ranks 22nd nationally with 287.7 yards per game through the air. Junior quarterback Nick Arbuckle leads the Sun Belt Conference with 281.2 passing yards per game, 19 touchdowns and 279.2 total yards per game. He has completed 214-of-354 passes (60.5 percent) for 2,812 yards and needs 313 yards passing, 500 yards of total offense and 14 completions to become Georgia State’s career leader in those three categories. Donovan Harden is the leading target with 52 catches, 796 yards and seven touchdowns, while Joel Ruiz has 38 catches for 472 yards, and Lynquez Blair has 39 for 449 yards and five touchdowns. Still, the Panthers haven’t really seen a pass rush like Clemson’s, and the Tigers’ secondary likely will bounce back from some struggles last week.

Advantage:

CLEMSON RUN GAME VS. GEORGIA STATE FRONT SEVEN
Wayne Gallman will be critical for Clemson's run game. (Getty)
Wayne Gallman has taken over as Clemson’s go-to back in recent games, and that’s likely to continue this week. Gallman has rushed for 487 yards on 109 carries and is averaging 4.5 yards per carry. The other backs have really dropped off in attempts as the Tigers have gone more and more to Gallman, and he has stepped up to the challenge. The Clemson offensive line needs to step up, coming off a terrible week against Georgia Tech. The lack of push by the line has been a story line all season, and it’s one of the things (see more in the next segment) holding back this offense. Panthers linebacker Joseph Peterson is third in the Sun Belt in tackles, averaging 10.1 per game, but he’s the lone real star up front.

Advantage:

CLEMSON PASS ATTACK VS. GEORGIA STATE PASS RUSH/SECONDARY
Can Cole Stoudt get back on track? (Getty)
While the offensive line has been a big hurdle for the Clemson offense, the play of quarterback Cole Stoudt has been the other key one. Stoudt really struggled last week against Georgia Tech in a performance that was as bad as any Clemson quarterback has had in a long time. He completed three passes to Clemson receivers and three to Georgia Tech defenders before being benched. He has struggled for most of this season, but this took the word struggled to a different level. Stoudt has only five touchdowns and now has eight interceptions, and while he will get the start Saturday, the coaching staff has to have a short leash with him right? Against an overmatched defense, Stoudt has to come out and play well to get some confidence back. More importantly, he has to protect the ball. If not, Clemson fans could (and should) get an early and extended look at Nick Schuessler. Artavis Scott leads the team with 56 catches, while Mike Williams tops with 772 yards, but the other receivers have disappeared in recent games because of the play of Stoudt and the Clemson offensive line.

Advantage:

Ammon Lakip is a Lou Groza Award semifinalist. (Getty)
SPECIAL TEAMS
Will Lutz has been solid for the Panthers, hitting all 31 of his extra-point tries and 6-of-7 field goal attempts. Clemson’s special teams have been solid with Ammon Lakip and Bradley Pinion doing their jobs nicely.

Advantage:

OVERALL
Clemson is favored by more than 40 points against a team that is 1-9 and has allowed 43.8 points per game. But with the way Clemson’s offense has played this season, does it feel like the Tigers can beat anyone by more than 40 points? Not really. Stoudt needs to rediscover the confidence and level of play he showed in the first half against Georgia. If not, and if he struggles against a bad Georgia State team, it will be time to pull the plug and go with Schuessler (and hope Deshaun Watson can play against South Carolina).

PREDICTION: Clemson 31, Georgia State 7

Daniel Shirley is the sports editor of The Telegraph in Macon, Ga., and co-host of The Morning Show on FoxSports 1670 AM. Follow him on Twitter at @DM_Shirley and read his blog at macon.com/peachsports.

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