You don't have to be John Heisman to figure out handling All-American defensive end Jerry Hughes is one of the biggest keys to a Clemson victory Saturday. A one-man wrecking crew, Hughes presents a myriad of problems for Clemson's banged up offensive line and is coming of a game in which he recorded three sacks by himself. 90 percent of the time he'll line up against the right tackle, which means Landon Walker will have to play out of his mind to keep him off of Kyle Parker.
If he's healthy enough to play, don't be surprised if Chris Hairston provides help on that side, again, provided his knee holds up. The Tigers will also use tight ends Michael Palmer and Dwayne Allen for additional help when needed.
But if that doesn't work and Hughes sets up shop all afternoon in Clemson's backfield, it could be a long game. Simply put, he's the best defensive player Clemson will see inside Death Valley this season.
With two outstanding defenses taking the field Saturday, the outcome could come down to a big play on offense or special teams. And with homerun threats C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford returning punts and kicks the Tigers have the ability to score in any special teams situation Saturday- and they just may need to given TCU's potential on defense. Simply put, Richard Jackson needs to continue his high level of play as Clemson's kicker (11-of-13 through three games) and Clemson's return game needs to remain electric to help provide good field position, or more importantly points for the offense.
MANAGE THE GAME
Through three games this year, Kyle Parker has experienced the ups and downs you would expect for a first-year starter at quarterback. And nowhere was that evident more than last week's 25-7 win over Boston College when he threw two interceptions in first five passing attempts and ultimately changed the way coaching staff called the game.
Saturday against TCU, Parker can't stare down his receivers and he must avoid the costly turnover at all costs.
He also must make better decisions when given the option to run versus taking a chance downfield. Too many times in the first three games he's been presented the opportunity to run, when instead he's taken a chance with a risky pass deep downfield.
3 keys to victory
CUTigers.com Top Stories
TIGERS WIN SEVENTH STRAIGHTWeston Jackson hit 2-out homers in back-to-back innings to blow the game open, as Tyler Jackson improved to 4-1 and #5 Clemson picked up its 7th straight win and 3rd straight…
CUTigers.comYesterday at 7:35 PM
TIGERS TEE OFF ON C OF CRed-hot ACC Player of the Week Chris Williams hit his 4th and 5th home runs in 8 days and Beer and Davidson also went yard, as #6 Clemson won its 16th of the last 18 games.
BROWNELL REMAINS AT CLEMSONDespite widespread speculation about Brad Brownell's job security after a disappointing season, he will remain at Clemson for at least one more season.
TIGERS TAKE SERIES!!!Pat Krall allows just one run and #9 Clemson slugs its way to its 15th win in the last 17 games, taking 2 of 3 from #11 UVA!