Previewing the Clemson Tigers

Clemson travels south on I-85 to meet GT Thursday evening. Clemson enters the game undefeated and ranked as high as third in the various polls. Clemson will enter the game looking to break a losing streak at Bobby Dodd stadium that dates back to 2003. Clemson’s chances of breaking that streak look good as they are listed as a solid favorite.

Clemson has one of the more explosive offenses that GT will face this season. Clemson likes to spread things out causing matchup problems. They are averaging 36 points a game. They are led by the ACC preseason POTY Deshaun Watson. The junior quarterback has completed 56.9 of his passes for 692 yards and 7 touchdowns. If that isn’t enough, the GT front four will have to stay in their lanes and collapse the pocket to avoid having Watson show off his athletic running ability.

 

Former Grayson running back Wayne Gallman will once again get the majority of the snaps for Clemson The redshirt is averaging over 4 yards a carry this season. There will be no drop off when Gallman isn’t in the game. Freshman backTavien Feaster has made an immediate impact for Clemson. He is third in carries behind Watson and Gallman. Feasteris averaging 6.9 yards per carry and is a homerun threat.

 

The Clemson receiving corps may be the most talented in the ACC. They will be without Hunter Renfrow but don’t feel sorry for the Tigers. The trio of redshirt junior Mike Williams, junior Ray-Ray McCloud, and sophomore Artavis Scotthave combined for 40 catches and 500 yards in three games. The GT defense will have to take away their vertical game if they are to limit the Clemson scoring Thursday night.

 

The Clemson offensive line is anchored by senior All-ACC center Jay Guillermo. Clemson is big in the middle with redshirt sophomore Taylor Hearn and redshirt junior Tyrone Crowder averaging over 330 pounds at the guard position. Highly recruited sophomore Mitch Hyatt returns as the starter at left tackle and fellow sophomore Jake Fruhmorgenreturns at right tackle.

 

The Clemson defense is young and talented. They are big physical, and athletic. Clemson has only yielded 12 points a game. The defensive line is anchored by 310 pound sophomore defensive end Christian Wilkins. He has 2 sacks, 3 pass break ups and 15 tackles in 3 games. 340 pound freshman defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence will give Freddie Burden all he can handle. This should be an interesting matchup. Lawrence has 3.5 tackles for a loss, 1 sack, and 4 quarterback pressures.

 

The linebacker corps will be bolstered by the return of senior linebacker Ben Boulware who is returning from an ankle injury. In his absence, redshirt sophomore middle linebacker Kendall Joseph has compiled some impressive stats in the first three games. Joseph has 27 tackles, five for a loss, a sack, and 5 hurries. The GT offensive line, which has struggled with the blitz, will have to keep Joseph out of the backfield.

 

Clemson returns an experienced ball hawking secondary. Senior strong safety Jadar Johnson leads the way with 2 interceptions. Look for sophomore free safety Van Smith to come up to the box to shut down the option on the perimeter. Smith has 24 tackles, 2.5 of which were for a loss. Senior corner Cordrea Tankersley is known to blitz and has 3 tackles for a loss. 

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