GAME: Louisiana Tech (1-2) at No. 18 Clemson (3-1, 2-1) 7:00 PM
LOCATION: Memorial Stadium (81,474)
SPREAD: Clemson by 33.5
COACHES: Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden is 55-34 (73-38 overall) in his eighth season with the Tigers. Louisiana Tech's Jack Bicknell is 41-43 in his eight years with the Bulldogs. Bowden is 2-0 against Louisiana Tech at Clemson, with both wins coming over the Bulldogs with Bicknell as the head coach.
SERIES: Clemson leads the overall series 2-0. The two teams met in the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, ID at the end of the 2001 season, then the Bulldogs traveled to Clemson for the home opener (second game) of the 2002 season.
LOUISIANA TECH KEY PLAYER: WR Johnathan Holland. Holland has big play potential and world class speed. For the season he ranks No. 7 in WAC and No. 38 in nation in receiving yards per game at 73.7. He won the 60-meters (6.73) and the 200-meters (21.33) at the WAC Indoor Championships.
CLEMSON KEY PLAYER: RB James Davis. If Clemson is going to turn this game into the laugher many expect, James Davis has to get off to a fast start and go over 100 yards for the firs time this year.
INJURIES: Clemson- LB Tramaine Billie (ankle) out, LB Anthony Waters (ACL) out, Mike Hamlin (foot) out, RB Reggie Merriweather (ankle) questionable. Louisiana Tech- N/A.
CRAZY STAT OF THE WEEK: After going 10 straight games without trailing at the
half, Louisiana Tech has now trailed at the half in each of its last three games (all this year).
CRAZY STAT OF THE WEEK II: After throwing seven interceptions in its first 69 pass attempts starting the 2005 season (vs. Florida and Kansas), Louisiana Tech quarterbacks have only thrown four interceptions in their last 373 pass attempts (1:93.3 attempts).
FORECAST: Temperatures are expected to be in the low 70s for Saturday's 7 PM kickoff. Winds are expected to be out of the southwest at 7 mph under clear skies.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "What we have really tried to stress with this team is let's not so much worry about the other team as we worry about our own improvement. We need to play better than we did last week and eliminate the mistakes we made against North Carolina. We did not make many mistakes last week but we made enough to where we can improve some." - Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden on what he's telling his team in the locker room this week.
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* Bicknell Says Tigers Belong in Top 10
* CFN's ACC Fearless Predictions
* Coleman Continues to Excel in New Role
* Hamlin: "I'm Feeling Good"
* Don't Mess with Nathan
* What We are Hearing ...
* Bowden Press Conference Notes
* Monday Practice Notes Premium Story
* Game Notes
* Tough Love for Nick Watkins
* Week 5: Clemson Beat Pick 'Em
WHAT TO WATCH: When Clemson has the Ball- The Tigers enter Saturday's game third in the country in scoring at over 41 points/game. Expect a healthy dose of James Davis and C.J. Spiller with Will Proctor executing play action later on. Defensively, the Bulldogs are statistically one of the worst teams in Division I-A, ranking 111th in total defense (432 yards/game), 107th in passing defense (250 yards/game) and 103rd in rushing defense (182 yards/game). The Tigers should be able to move the ball at will but Louisiana Tech was stingy during the first half of their game last weekend in College Station, Tex. Tech trailed just 14-7 at halftime before falling 45-14 to Texas A&M. Tech is led by sophomore linebacker Quin Harris (29 tackles, 2 FF, 2 FR) and junior nose tackle Josh Muse (19 tackles, 2 TFL).
When Louisiana Tech has the ball- Offensively, Louisiana Tech has some explosiveness. Wide receiver Johnathan Holland has big play potential and world class speed. For the season he ranks No. 7 in WAC and No. 38 in nation
in receiving yards per game at 73.7. He won the 60-meters (6.73) and the 200-meters (21.33) at the WAC Indoor Championships. QB Zac Champion has three career starts and has passed for over 200 yards in each game, including a high of 231 vs. Nebraska. The Bulldogs like to spread the opposition out with four wides so the spotlight will likely be on the Clemson secondary. Sophomore Patrick Jackson leads the Bulldogs ground game averaging 80.0 yards rushing per contest
Special teams- The kicking game plagued the Tigers in a loss to Boston College and a win over Florida State, but last week's North Carolina game showed substantial improvement. K Jad Dean was perfect on his PATs and also connected on a 42-yard field goal. Cole Chason was only brought on the field once to punt, but the play was negated due to a running into the kicker penalty. Bowden has said he'd like to see more production on punt and kick returns. Meanwhile Louisiana Tech averages just 18.44 yards on kick returns, ranking next to last in the WAC. The Bulldogs are also struggling with their punting, averaging just 30.85 net yards per punt.
Intangibles- Again, the theme in the Clemson locker room this week was "avoid the letdown." Can the Tigers make it back to back weeks as heavy favorites and still win comfortably over an overmatched Louisiana Tech team? A potential tough game with undefeated Wake Forest looms next weekend.
PREDICTION: Clemson 50 Louisiana Tech 15
DON'T FORGET! The Tiger Pre-game Show will be broadcasting live Saturday morning from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM from the Lawn at Littlejohn. Tune in to 104.9 WCCP FM in upstate South Carolina or on the world wide web on wccpfm.com.
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