October 23, 2015

Game Prediction - Clemson vs. Miami

Clemson is comfortable in the friendly confines of Death Valley, but the second half of the season and the Tigers’ championship hope will hinge on their performance of the road.

Dabo Swinney’s team played five of its first six games at home, but will now play four of the final six on the road, beginning with a trip to Miami to take on the Hurricanes this Saturday.

Will the Tigers’ success at home carry over in a lackluster road environment?

NO. 6 CLEMSON (6-0, 3-0 ACC) AT MIAMI (4-2, 1-1)
WHERE: Sun Life Stadium (75,540) Miami Gardens, FL
KICKOFF: 12:00 p.m.

MIAMI OFFENSE VS. CLEMSON DEFENSE: Despite having one of the best running backs in the country in Joe Yearby, the Hurricanes’ offense goes through sophomore quarterback Brad Kaaya, who leads the ACC in just about every statistical category - passing yards (1,795), passing yards per game (299.2) and total offense (1,749). Kaaya is a big reason Miami leads the nation in turnover margin because he’s only thrown four interceptions in his last 421 attempts.

The key for Brent Venables and Clemson’s defense will be stopping Yearby, who can also catch the ball out of the backfield, and getting pressure on Kaaya early and often. Kaaya hasn’t faced a front seven like Clemson’s yet this season, so if Shaq Lawson, Kevin Dodd and company can get to him early, Kaaya might start feeling the pressure even if it’s not there.

The Clemson offense got off to a relatively slow start this season, and turnovers have been a big factor – eight interceptions and four lost fumbles – but Deshaun Watson and company seem to be starting to click. Leading receiver, Artavis Scott had his best game last week against the nation’s number one defense in Boston College with 10 catches for over 160 yards. Running back Wayne Gallman has been steady all season, averaging over 95 yards per game, and Deshaun Watson is starting to find his stride as teams are playing more man coverage on wide receivers.

Miami’s defense is good and getting takeaways, ad defensive back Artie Burns has five interceptions in the season’s first six games. Will Clemson’s run game be able to open up the passing game?

Clemson’s special teams are steadily improving each week, beginning with the addition of Ammon Lakip to the starting lineup as kickoff specialist. Lakip kicked the ball into the endzone in every attempt but one last weekend against Boston College and is also making big tackles.

Miami has pretty good special teams beginning with Corn Elder who has returned a punt for a touchdown. Punter Jason Vogel is averaging over 45 yards per punt, 13th best in the country, and kicker Michael Badgley has made 16-of-19 field goal attempts.

The road team has won each of the last four games between the two teams, and all have been decided by nine points or less and three of those have been decided in overtime, and I predict both of those streaks will continue on. Both offenses are good, but Clemson’s offense is just a little bit better and has the better offensive line. Clemson also has the better defense, as a whole. The game will be close, but in the end the Tigers leave sunny South Beach with their 10th consecutive win, and 34th consecutive win over an unranked opponent.


Post written by Clemson Girl Sports Bloggess Nikki Hood

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