GAME: Louisiana-Monroe (0-1) at No. 25 Clemson (1-0)
LOCATION: Clemson, S.C., Memorial Stadium (81,474)
TV: CSS (replay only)
SPREAD: Clemson (-27)
COACHES: Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden is 61-38 (79-42 overall) at Clemson. Louisiana-Monroe head coach Charlie Weatherbie is 15-32 (60-96 overall) in his fifth season with the Warhawks.
SERIES: This is the first ever meeting between the Warhawks and Tigers.
CLEMSON KEY PLAYER: Cullen Harper. The redshirt junior did all he was asked to do Monday against Florida State but could still stand some fine tuning on some of his downfield throws. He should get that opportunity against a team the Tigers will overmatch at nearly every position. This will be the perfect opportunity to build confidence, put points on the board and continue the positive momentum he has already established.
LOUISIANA-MONROE KEY PLAYER: RB Calvin Dawson. Dawson put up big numbers against Tulsa in the Warhawks' season opener and will have to do the same Saturday to keep this one close. He currently ranks 13th in the nation after rushing for 150 yards last week and he also had the third longest streak in the nation with six-consecutive 100-yard rushing games.
FORECAST: Sunny and hot. High near 93 degrees. Winds out of the northeast at 8 mph.
INJURIES: Clemson - RB Ray Ray McElrathbey (ACL) out, LB Brandon Maye (foot) doubtful, OG Brandon Pilgrim (elbow) doubtful, OG Thomas Austin (ankle) questionable, DT Rashaad Jackson (chest) probable, TE Michael Palmer (ankle) questionable. Louisiana-Monroe - N/A.
* On the Record: Phillip Merling
* What We are Hearing...
* Wednesday Bowden Audio
* Depth Chart
* Game Notes
* Don't Sleep on the Warhawks
* 2007 Clemson Beat Pick 'Em
* 3 Keys to Victory
* Thursday Clemson Football Notebook
WHAT TO WATCH: When Clemson has the Ball - The Tigers were efficient in the first half last week but snake-bitten in the second. After posting 24 points in two quarters, Clemson failed to score again but managed to hold on for the win. Cullen Harper must continue to develop, especially in the downfield passing game where he missed Tyler Grisham and Aaron Kelly on two key plays Monday night. A re-vamped offensive line, which suffered two key injuries against Florida State, must prove it can pave the way for backs James Davis and C.J. Spiller. Cory Lambert could make his first career start at right tackle should Chris Capote move to right guard if Brandon Pilgrim can't go. Keep an eye on the "stallion" package as the Tigers will continue to build off Davis and Spiller playing quarterback.
When Louisiana-Monroe has the ball- The Warhawks will use the option to give RB Calvin Dawson a chance to shine Saturday afternoon. Even though its offense struggled against Tulsa, scoring just one offensive touchdown in a 35-17 loss, Dawson rushed for 150 yards on 24 carries. QB Kinsmon Lancaster completed just 7-of-21 passes for 66 yards and a touchdown in the loss. The Warhawks return all 11 starters on offense this season, including six players named to preseason watch lists: Kyle Cunningham -- OT (Outland Trophy, Rotary Lombardi Award), Adam
Hill -- C (Rimington Award), Cole Wilson -- PK (Lou Groza Award), Zeek Zacharie -- TE
(John Mackey Award), Kinsmon Lancaster -- QB (Davey O'Brien Award) and Calvin
Dawson -- TB (Doak Walker Award) Defensively, the Tigers should dominate the line of scrimmage but it will be important not to over pursue against the option. Clemson must play assignment football.
Special Teams- Let's be real here, Clemson cannot expect to play the way it did on special teams against Florida State and win the ACC's Atlantic Division. The kickoff coverage team was vastly improved, but the punt team left much to be desired. P Jimmy Maners was effective when he received the snap and proper blocking, problem is that didn't happen on two occasions - once when he had one blocked and once when a snap sailed five feet over his head. Mark Buchholz was essentially perfect Monday night against FSU, converting on three extra points a field goal and providing excellent hang time and distance on his kickoffs. Louisiana-Monroe senior place kicker Cole Wilson has made 12-consecutive field goals and 16 of his last
17 attempts dating back to his sophomore year.
Intangibles- Clemson escaped with a win over Florida State in the season opener and doesn't want to see its momentum destroyed by a slip-up against Louisiana-Monroe. With that in mind, it is important the Tigers show improvement on special teams ... meaning no blocked kicks, bad snaps or long returns given up. It will also be critical to get an early lead so the younger players can see significant playing time. Don't be surprised to see Willy Korn make his Clemson debut some point in the second half.
TIGERS WIN IF... The team shows up and pretends to be interested. Clemson is more talented at every position and playing at home should prevent any sort of letdown.
WARHAWKS WIN IF... Clemson sleep walks through the first half and Calvin Dawson turns into Barry Sanders.
PREDICTION: Clemson 48 Louisiana-Monroe 17
The Tigers are banged up after a physical game against Florida State just five days ago but don't be surprised to see this game get out of hand shortly after halftime.
PRE-GAME SHOW INFO: The Tiger Pre-game Show with Roy Philpott and Scott Rhymer will be broadcasting live Monday afternoon from 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM at the Lawn at Littlejohn. Tune in to 104.9 WCCP FM in upstate South Carolina or on the world wide web on wccpfm.com as we celebrate our 50th consecutive game broadcasting on location covering your Clemson Tigers.
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