Military Appreciation Day is always a special time at Clemson, and this year will be even better with Purple Heart recipient and football player Daniel Rodriguez leading the Tigers down The Hill.
Outside of Texas A&M and the military academies, there isn’t another school with richer military history than Clemson University.
The Tigers always do a great job honoring our veterans and active duty military, but this year will be even more special with the addition of Rodriguez.
With both schools rich in military tradition, Saturday sets up to be very special and a heavy-weight battle between two of the ACC’s top teams.
VIRGINIA TECH AT NO. 13 CLEMSON
WHY VA. TECH MIGHT WIN
The Hokies gained much-needed confidence last weekend with a win over Duke. Tech allowed Duke to score 20 quick points in the first quarter, but the Hokies finally settled down and allowed quarterback Logan Thomas to find his rhythm for the first time all season, scoring 41 unanswered points. Va. Tech has scored 34 or more points four times this season and is very capable of exploding on offense if not challenged. With a young offensive line, Thomas will need great pocket presence to avoid the pass rush- something the Tigers continue to improve. Virginia Tech has an experienced defense with returning starters on the defensive line and in the secondary. Even though the defense is allowing over 380 yards per game, they are plenty capable of making Clemson’s offense stagnate.
WHY CLEMSON MIGHT WIN
The Tigers come into this weekend with the 13th ranked offense and are ranked 11th in scoring offense in the country. They are led by quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver Nuk Hopkins. Hopkins has been almost unstoppable this season, averaging over 129 receiving yards per game. Va. Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster has been dialing up a lot of man coverage this season. If the Hokies stick with that type of defensive scheme, their cornerbacks will have a difficult time staying with Hopkins and Sammy Watkins, who is poised for a breakout game.
As good as the Tigers’ passing game has been this season, the key to the game may be how well they can run the football because Tech is giving up over 170 yards per game on the ground. The numbers for Virginia Tech are even worse on the road as the Hokies are giving up over 36 points and 521 yards per game when they are way from Lane Stadium. Defensively, the key for the Tigers is getting pressure on Thomas, who is 6’6 and weighs 260-pounds and can be difficult to bring down, but if the Clemson defense can prevent him from running wild and force him into quick throws, Thomas proven to be anything but accurate.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN
Revenge is always a motivating factor and usually that is the Tigers’ favor; however that is not the case this Saturday. On the minds of all of Hokie Nation are the two losses to Clemson in 2011. The Hokies will come out with a chip on their shoulder looking to make a statement and prove to a national audience that they are indeed the class of the ACC.
The Tigers, however, still have a lot to play for in a chance to play for the ACC and possibly an at-large bid to a BCS bowl. The Hokies will do their best to slow down Clemson’s up-tempo offense, but they won’t be able to stop Boyd and company. The only question in this game is can the Clemson defense prevent the big play. This game will be close going into the second half, but depth-challenged Hokie defense will tire late in the game, which will allow the Tigers to pull away.
FINAL SCORE: CLEMSON 38- VA TECH 24
Post written by Clemson Girl's Sports Bloggess, Nikki Steele.