Game Capsule

The Clemson Tigers will battle the 9th ranked Virginia Cavaliers Thursday night on ESPN. Clemson holds a commanding 35-7-1 lead in the series with Virginia, but the Cavaliers hold 7-6-1 advantage since 1990, including victories in two of the last three games.

The Game: Clemson (1-3, 1-2) at #9 Virginia (4-0, 1-0) 7:45 PM ET

Location: Charlottesville, VA: Scott Stadium (61,500)

TV Coverage: ESPN

Radio Coverage: 104.9 WCCP FM

Spread: Virginia is favored by 16 over Clemson.

Coaches: Clemson's Tommy Bowden is 39-27 in his sixth season in Tiger Town, while Al Groh is 26-17 in his fourth season at Virginia. Overall, Clemson has a 7-2 record against Al Groh coached teams. The Tigers were 6-0 against him when he coached at Wake Forest and are 1-2 since he took over at Virginia in 2001.

The Series: Clemson holds a commanding 35-7-1 lead in the series with Virginia, but the Cavaliers hold 7-6-1 advantage since 1990, including victories in two of the last three games.

Forecast: Temperatures are expected to fall into the 50's Thursday night in Charlottesville. The low Thursday evening is expected to be 49 under clear skies.

CUTigers Coverage:
* A Fresh Start
* Quick Hits with Chansi Stuckey
* Quick Hits with Charlie Whitehurst
* Running Scared
* Watch Out for Pearman
* 5 Keys to Crushing the Cavs
* Losing Canty Hurts Cavs
* Turnovers Must Be Corrected
* Clemson - UVA News & Notes
* Quick Hits with Justin Miller
* Monday Practice Report
* Press Conference Player Audio
* Tommy Bowden Press Conference
* Tigers Set to Battle Virginia
* Injuries Limit Practice Thursday

What to Watch: The only way Clemson can win this game is to protect the football. Five turnovers against Florida State and three turnovers against Texas A&M have cost the Tigers dearly in their last two losses.

Offensively, Clemson must be more patient with the running game and get out to a fast start. Duane Coleman will get the start at running back, but don't be surprised to see a healthy dose of Yusef Kelly and Reggie Merriweather. Tommy Bowden believes this game will be more physical, so he'll use some of his stronger running backs to compensate against the Virginia defense.

Defensively, the front four must do a better job of consistently stopping the run. The Clemson defense held their own against nationally ranked FSU, but eventually became tired after being on the field for close to 90 plays. Senior LB Leroy Hill continues to lead the ACC in tackles (10.2 per game) and tackles for loss (2.1) and is third in sacks (1.0). Virginia is averaging 500 yards of total offense behind the tough running of Wali Lundy (99.7 yds/game) and the accurate passing of QB Marques Hagans. Hagans has completed 54 of 71 passes, a 76.1 percentage that ranks as the best among Division I-A starters. He has thrown only one interception against four touchdown passes.

Special teams is one area that the Tigers appear to have a substantial advantage entering this game. The Tigers are sixth in the nation in kickoff returns with a 31.7 average, punter Cole Chason is fourth in the ACC in punting with a 41.2 average, and Jad Dean has had nine touchbacks in 16 kickoffs and 13 of the 16 the opposition has started at its own 20 or worse.

Interesting Note: This game could potentially feature two players excelling at multiple positions. Virginia's Alvin Pearman has had success at running back and wide receiver this season, and speculation continues to build that Clemson's Justin Miller could play at cornerback and on offense.

Don't Forget: The Tiger Pre-Game show will be broadcasting live from Scott Stadium Thursday afternoon. Tune in at 2:00 PM for all the pre-game coverage you can handle from Scott, Roy, and Brett! Top Stories