GAME: No. 10 Clemson (7-1, 4-1) at Virginia Tech (5-2, 2-2) 7:47 PM
LOCATION: Lane Stadium (66,233)
SPREAD: Clemson by 4.5
COACHES: Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden is 59-34 (77-38 overall) in his eighth season with the Tigers. Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer is 151-81-2 (193-104-4 overall) in his 20th season with the Hokies.
SERIES: Clemson has a 17-10-1 lead in the series with Virginia Tech, including a 6-2 advantage in games played in Blacksburg, and a 4-1 lead in games played in Lane Stadium. Virginia Tech's only win over Clemson in Lane Stadium took place in 1999. That Virginia Tech team led by Michael Vick went on to the national championship game that year against Florida State. The Hokies have won each of the last three games in the series, one at Clemson, one at Virginia Tech, and one in the 2001 Gator Bowl. Those three consecutive wins all came under Frank Beamer in 1998, 1999 and 2000.
INJURIES: Clemson- LB Tramaine Billie (ankle) out, LB Anthony Waters (ACL) out, WR Chansi Stuckey (foot) questionable, DT Etta Etta-Tawo (heart) out, Rendrick Taylor (arm) out, OL Roman Fry (ACL) out, RB James Davis (shoulder) probable, TE Thomas Hunter (upper body) questionable. Virginia Tech- WR Justin Harper (shoulder) questionable.
FORECAST: Temperatures are expected to reach the upper 30s Thursday night with winds out of the northwest at 3 mph under mostly cloudy skies. There is a slight chance (30%) for a late shower. (weather.com)
VIRGINIA TECH NOTES: RB Branden Ore rushed for a career-high 207 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday's 36-6 win over Southern Miss ... Ore leads the team and is second in the ACC in rushing (105.1) and has accounted for 88 percent (736 of 834) of Tech's rushing yardage this season and is averaging 5.8 yards per carry in his career ... Tech has won 25 straight games when scoring first and has scored in a school record 142 straight games ... senior PK Brandon Pace has made 13 consecutive field goal attempts, has made good on 49 of 58 career field goal attempts (.845) and is 21st on the ACC career scoring list with 264 points.
CRAZY STAT OF THE WEEK: Tech is 2-9 all-time at Lane Stadium against teams ranked in the AP top 10. Clemson enters this week's game ranked No. 10 after defeating 13th ranked Georgia Tech last weekend.
CLEMSON QUOTE TO NOTE: "I remember it was very loud. It was really a physical game and there was a lot of contact. We had trouble blocking Corey Moore and it was extremely physical. That's what I am anticipating Thursday. I think there will be a lot of electricity again and because we are the higher ranked team that will create a lot of excitement on their part." - Tommy Bowden on playing in Lane Stadium in 1999 and now again in 2006.
VA TECH QUOTE TO NOTE: "We know what we're going to run into here Thursday night. This Clemson crowd is flat good." - Tech coach Frank Beamer on facing Clemson.
* Defense Still has Much to Prove Against Tech
* Heisman Hype?
* What We are Hearing...
* Bowden Press Conference Notes
* Notebook: Is Stuckey Ready?
* Fry Discusses Injury, Clemson Career
* Clemson - Virginia Tech Depth Chart
* Bowden Teleconference Notes
* Game Notes
* Roman Fry Out for the Year
* Koenning: Chambers Proving Himself
* The Tiger Report
WHAT TO WATCH: When Clemson has the Ball- James Davis and C.J. Spiller continue to be the most explosive running back duo in the country, even when the opposition is stacking the box with eight or more players. Like last week, the Tigers will face a stiff test at the line of scrimmage as the Hokies possess plenty of talent and experience with their four-man front. Also, look for a soft bubble zone in the secondary to try and prevent the big runs made by Davis and Spiller against Georgia Tech. The return of WR Chansi Stuckey should help Clemson's passing attack, which has really only been needed in three of eight games this year (Boston College FSU, and Wake). If Virginia Tech loads the box and stops Clemson's ground game, this could be the defining moment for QB Will Proctor in his first and only year as a starter. Tech currently ranks sixth nationally in both total defense and pass defense. The Hokies are led by LB Vince Hall, who ranks third in the ACC in tackles with an average of 8.4 per contest.
When Virginia Tech has the Ball- The Hokies offense is underrated, averaging 29 points/game, good enough for second in the conference behind Clemson. There is also plenty of talent at wide receiver and at running back. Seven different players have accounted for Tech's nine touchdown receptions this season, including leading wide out David Clowney. Sophomore RB Branden Ore is second in the conference in rushing at 105 yards/game, trailing only Clemson's Davis. Sophomore QB Sean Glennon is completing 58 percent of his passes for over 194 yards/game but he could give way to Ike Whitaker, who has deadly mobility, if he struggles to move the chains. Meanwhile Clemson's defense has shutdown nearly every team on the schedule. Overall, the Tigers rank seventh in the nation in rushing defense, seventh in scoring defense and 17th in passing defense. Under head coach Frank Beamer (234 games), the Hokies are 134-27-2 when outrushing their opponents, 16-54 when being outrushed.
Special Teams - Jad Dean has been perfect on field goals and PATs in each of last two games and has been better at kickoffs. Clemson's kick coverage team also performed well against Georgia Tech for first time all season. Keep an eye on Tech's Eddie Royal in the punt return game, where he averages 13.2 yards per return. Virginia Tech is also one of the top teams in terms of blocking punts and kicks under Beamer. After the Tigers struggled on special teams earlier this year against Boston College and Florida State, the Hokies are likely to devise more aggressive strategies on extra points and field goals.
Intangibles- Lane Stadium has been nightmare for the opposition under Frank Beamer and will offer the Tigers' their most hostile environment of the year. Clemson is coming off one of the biggest wins of the Bowden era against a top 15 Georgia Tech team. Can the Tigers put together back-to-back wins over quality teams in just a five-day time span? QB Will Proctor has played well at times but must be much more consistent against the Hokies if this becomes a fourth quarter game. Boston College beat Virginia Tech 22-3 on the strength of four turnovers. Whichever team wins the turnover battle Thursday night will also likely win the game.
PREDICTION Clemson 27 Virginia Tech 24
DON'T FORGET! The Tiger Pre-game Show will be broadcasting live Saturday afternoon from 1:45 PM to 4:45 PM from Lane Stadium. Tune in to 104.9 WCCP FM in upstate South Carolina or on the world wide web on wccpfm.com.
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