Well Clemson fans, this is it.
The Clemson Tigers exceeded expectations by finishing the regular season 10-2 with an ACC Atlantic Championship; however, Monday night’s Chick-fil-a Bowl against LSU in Atlanta, Georgia is not just another game.
It’s a time for Clemson to prove that they belong with the big boys of the SEC.
Can Clemson prove that it is the superior streak of tigers?
NO. 8 LSU VS NO. 14 CLEMSON
WHY LSU MIGHT WIN: LSU prides itself on being the most physical team on the field week in and week out and that’s not something that Clemson is used to. If LSU plays the way it’s capable of playing, the Cajun Tigers will control the line of scrimmage on offense and defense making it a long night for Clemson. LSU head coach Les Miles doesn’t use any tricks on offense, but in the words of Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables he just wants to “pound you into oblivion.” That’s just what Miles does with four running backs who all have over 350 yards rushing. LSU will let quarterback Zach Mettenberger throw the ball after he found his stride late in the season passing for over 250 yards twice in the month of November. On the defensive side of the ball, LSU is only giving up 101 yards per game on the ground, which won’t do Clemson any favors when running back Andre Ellington tries to balance the Clemson offense.
WHY CLEMSON MIGHT WIN: Tigers travel in an ambush and ambush is exactly what Clemson will need to do Monday night in order to emerge from the Georgia Dome victorious. Not many teams have actually been able to stop the sixth ranked Clemson offense in 2012 as it is averaging just over 518 yards and 42 points per game, but quarterback Tajh Boyd and company will need to hit on all cylinders from the first snap. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins said earlier this week that he wants to avenge his absence from Clemson’s win against Auburn in the Georgia Dome in week one and he is ready to be the Sammy from 2011- explosive and unstoppable. There is no doubt that LSU has great depth, however the Baton Rouge Tigers have only faced on spread offense this season- Texas A&M- and it took a late touchdown for LSU to emerge victorious. The good news for the Clemson defense is that LSU’s offensive strength is lining up in the I-formation and running it up the middle- something that Clemson has proven it can consistently stop this season. LSU is going to run the ball and try to control the clock, so if Clemson can stop the occasional play-action pass and get off the field, the Tigers from South Carolina have a great shot at leaving the Georgia Dome with a win.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN: The Clemson Tigers faced two teams ranked in the top-10 in Florida State and South Carolina, which led to Clemson’s only two losses. The physical nature of the oppositions’ defense slowed down Clemson’s high-powered offense and the Clemson defense couldn’t get s stop when it needed one most. The most physical defense that Clemson has faced coupled with an offense that improved over the last month of the season with Mettenberger will not bode well for the Tigers of the east. Unfortunately, I have to pick against Clemson for the first time in 2012…
FINAL SCORE: LSU 23- CLEMSON 17
Post written by Clemson Girl's Sports Bloggess, Nikki Steele.