It’s time to put the death back in Death Valley.
Death Valley was once a venue feared by opponents because it was a rare occurrence for a visiting team to emerge victories.
The Tigers have currently won 11-straight games in the friendly confines of Memorial Stadium, and look to break the record for consecutive home wins set between 1989-1991 when Danny Ford and Ken Hatfield combined for 11 consecutive wins in Death Valley.
Do the Tigers have what it takes to defend their home turf and claim the record?
MARYLAND (4-5, 2-3 ACC) AT NO. 13 CLEMSON (8-1, 5-1)
WHY MARYLAND MIGHT WIN: Saying the Terps are snake-bitten is an understatement. Maryland is on their fifth quarterback after several ACL injuries. True freshman Shawn Petty began the season as a linebacker, but will be making his second start Saturday. The key for Maryland will be how Petty handles the raucous Death Valley crowd and how he manages the game. The key target for Petty will be tight end Matt Furstenburg, who has 14 catches for 169 yards and was seemingly unstoppable against the Tigers in College Park a year ago. Defensively, the Terps are one of the best in the country allowing only 21.7 points per game. Maryland is giving up just over 63 yards rushing and 255 yards through the air in games on the road. If Maryland learned anything from watching the Tigers the last two weeks, it’s that they won’t be able to play man coverage on Clemson’s speedy wide receivers. The Terps are very disciplined and physical on defense, which could give them an advantage against a Tiger offensive line that has been very inconsistent.
WHY CLEMSON MIGHT WIN: There are only so many times a person can write about Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins, Andre Ellington, Nuk Hopkins, Jaron Brown and Brandon Ford. The Clemson offense continues to improve each week, and that has to be scary for opponents. The Tigers are averaging over 522 yards per game and over 42 points per game. However, this week the Tigers may have do it without starting running back Andre Ellington, who was hampered with a hamstring injury in the Duke game last Saturday. The good news is that there was absolutely no drop off when D.J. Howard and Rod McDowell entered the game. As good as the offense has been for the Tigers, the defense has also made major strides from week-to-week. At home, the Clemson defense is allowing 20 points per game. The defensive line is getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks and should be able to affect Petty. The Terps could be forced to become a one-dimensional team that relies on running the ball without leading receiver Stefon Diggs and leading rusher Wes Brown.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN: The Maryland defense has been stout all season, but they have yet to face a team that will test them like Clemson. The Clemson offense has been unstoppable all season long, and that trend won’t stop Saturday. For the first time in 2012, Clemson special teams will make a splash and return a kickoff for a touchdown to extend the streak to four years. The Terps will score in the first quarter, but the Clemson defense will settle down and lock down the endzone for the remainder of the game allowing the Tigers to continue with business as usual.
FINAL SCORE: Clemson, 49- Maryland, 10
Post written by Clemson Girl's Sports Bloggess, Nikki Steele.