Clemson (7-5) vs Nebraska (8-4) Konica Minolta Gator Bowl, Jan.1 1 PM
Dabo Swinney makes his first postseason appearance as a head coach minus the interim tag. All the memories go back to that game in 1982 when the Tigers won it all versus the Huskers, but that was a long time ago when both of these schools played a different brand of football.
Back then, Clemson was tough, mean and blue collar. The team didn't care who got the credit, it just wanted to win.
Meanwhile Nebraska in those days was known for big, beef eating offensive linemen combined with very talented skilled players that just pummeled you with the run. Both of these schools are looking to get back to those glory days and a win in Jacksonville would be another step in the right direction.
Coach Swinney has done a good job in bringing back some toughness to Clemson football and he has done a good job of simplifying the game plan. It hasn't been anything fancy just get the ball to your play makers and let them make plays.
The Tigers led the ACC in passing offense this season at better than 218 yards per game, but more important than that they led the league in scoring defense giving up just 16.58 points per game. Cullen Harper, Aaron Kelly, James Davis, C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford have all shined under Dabo's guidance.
The biggest question becomes how will the defense respond now that Vic Koenning is at Kansas State and David Blackwell and Ron West are calling the shots? Will Clemson's co-coordinators bring more pressure on the potent Nebraska offense? Will there be any significant changes?
Nebraska quarterback Joe Ganz ranks 13th nationally in total offense averaging 299.08 yards per game and 14th in passing efficiency with a 156.72 passer rating. He leads a Husker offense that averages 36.17 points per game and piles up 458.25 total yards per game.
To say the Clemson defense has its work cut out for it would be an understatement. The best way to take the pressure off the "D" is for the "O" to score points and that is what we will see Thursday afternoon in Jacksonville.
Prediction: Clemson 35 Nebraska 24
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