Dan Scott Prediction: USC - Clemson


by - Correspondent -
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QUARTERBACK

After steadily improving in each of the four previous weeks, Charlie Whitehurst struggled last time out vs. Duke. Of course, his receivers still haven't been much help. Mobile quarterbacks like Syvelle Newton have hurt Clemson this season.

ADVANTAGE - Clemson



RUNNING BACK

Reggie Merriweather continues to share time with Duane Coleman despite having more than double Coleman's rushing yards and a 1.6 advantage in yards per carry. When healthy, USC's Demetris Summers is one of the best anywhere, averaging 5.8 yards per carry.

ADVANTAGE - USC



WIDE RECEIVERS

For Clemson it continues to be Airese Currie and a cast of thousands. USC's Troy Williamson is a legitimate deep threat (20 yards per catch), and Cory Boyd is a weapon out of the backfield (32 receptions).

ADVANTAGE - USC



OFFENSIVE LINE

Like Whitehurst, Clemson's offensive line stalled a bit last week at Duke. They'll need to clear running lanes vs. a very talented USC front four, especially the defensive ends. The Gamecocks' line has cleared the way for 179 rushing yards per game.

ADVANTAGE - USC



RUN DEFENSE

The numbers here (135 yards per game allowed by USC, 142 by Clemson) are close overall, but the Tigers have really stepped it up over the last five weeks - allowing just over 60 yards per game in that span.

ADVANTAGE - Clemson



PASS DEFENSE

Duke found a hole in the middle of Clemson's pass defense a week ago. Florida found them all over the USC secondary. Still, both units have been reasonably solid all season.

ADVANTAGE - Clemson



SPECIAL TEAMS

The kicking game struggles vs. Duke were out of the ordinary for Clemson. Geoff Rigsby's long-snapping has him under the microscope. USC kicker Josh Brown has missed three of six kicks between 30-39 yards. His long is 43.

ADVANTAGE - Clemson



Operating under the assumption that Duke was a fluke, and unexpected bump in the road, I expect Clemson to bounce back this week. Spurrier talk may excite the Gamecocks, but the result Saturday won't. The Tigers, too, are going bowling...



THE PICK

Clemson 23, USC 16

Dan's Picks


Prediction Actual
Wake Forest 30 Clemson 34 Wake Forest 30 Clemson 37 2OT Correct
Georgia Tech 17 Clemson 27 Georgia Tech 28 Clemson 24 Incorrect
Texas A&M 17 Clemson 34 Texas A&M 27 Clemson 6 Incorrect
Florida State 31 Clemson 28 Florida State 41 Clemson 22 Correct
Virginia 28 Clemson 10 Virginia 30 Clemson 10 Correct
Utah State 21 Clemson 41 Utah State 6 Clemson 35 Correct
Maryland 17 Clemson 13 Maryland 7 Clemson 10 Incorrect
N.C. State 31 Clemson 20 NC State 20 Clemson 26 Incorrect
Clemson 21 Miami 27 Clemson 24 Miami 17 OT Incorrect
Clemson 31 Miami Duke Clemson 13 Duke 16 Incorrect

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