David Hood: North Texas vs Clemson prediction


by - Senior Writer -
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Senior linebacker Craig Robertson notched 107 tackles last season to lead a defense that gave up those 36 points per game. (Photos: Icon/SMI)

It’s finally here. Christmas morning, your birthday, every holiday you can think of all rolled into one – the first game of the Clemson Tigers’ season. Clemson kicks it off a little after 3:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon against the North Texas Mean Green, and we begin another season of trying to predict the winner and the score. Predicting the winner in this one won’t be too hard, but predicting the final score is a little bit harder.


North Texas at Clemson


When North Texas Has the Ball


New offensive coordinator Mike Canales is a disciple of Norm Chow, and his offense will feature a lot of motion and receivers spread out all over the field. Quarterback Nathan Tune is a senior, but he is also the sixth different signal caller to open the season for the Mean Green since 2004. Tune has played in 13 career games, completing 75-of 120 passes (62.5 completion percentage) with five touchdowns and two interceptions. He has running back Lance Dunbar to hand off to – Dunbar rushed for 1,378 yards a season ago, and look for North Texas to throw it early to try and create running lanes for Dunbar later, especially against Clemson’s young linebackers. North Texas has the luxury this season of having all top six of its leading receivers back this season. The six receivers accounted for just under 90 percent of the Mean Green’s receiving yards last season and all 15 of the receiving touchdowns. However, with Clemson’s shutdown secondary and mad-dog defensive line, don’t expect the Mean Green to have a ton of success. Look for Da’Quan Bowers, Brandon Thompson, Jarvis Jenkins, Andre Branch and company to control things up front, while DeAndre McDaniel, Marcus Gilchrist and Byron Maxwell control the back.

ADVANTAGE – CLEMSON


When Clemson Has the Ball


For the Mean Green, six of the team’s top eight defenders from 2009 are back in 2010, including the top two tack¬lers. Linebacker Craig Robertson (107) and safety DaWaylon Cook (85) led the team last year while defensive end Brandon Akpunku, linebacker A.J. Penson and defensive backs Ira Smith and Royce Hill all finished among the top eight on the team. However, if the Clemson offensive line has matured like we think it has, it won’t matter how many tacklers they have returning, because the Tigers should be able to move the football against a defense that was 104th nationally a season ago. Look for plenty of TE Dwayne Allen, RB’s Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper, and one of the young wide receivers to have big days. The big question should be - if this offense is as good as we think it can be – how many points can the Tigers score?


ADVANTAGE – CLEMSON


Special Teams


Redshirt freshman placekicker Chandler Catanzaro, who was amazingly consistent during fall camp and won the starting job, gets to see if he can do it when it counts Saturday. Catanzaro beat out two scholarship kickers for the starting job, so all eyes will be on the youngster as he tries to solidify Clemson’s field goal and extra point units. Punter Dawson Zimmerman has stated that he wants to go from being a “practice All-American” to a “game All-American” this season, and Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said he likes what he sees so far. For the Mean Green, there might be problems. True freshman Zach Olen and redshirt freshman Jose Serrano will replace Jeremy Knott as the Mean Green’s placekicker this season. Olen, a lefty, was a punter and a placekicker in high school. Serrano was a walk-on last season and took a redshirt. They both look to improve an area that was inconsistent for North Texas last season as Knott was 10-for-15 but only 4-for-9 outside of 30 yards and there were three kicks blocked last year. It has also been 133 games and counting since North Texas has returned a kickoff for a touchdown.


ADVANTAGE – CLEMSON


Coaching


North Texas coach Todd Dodge is an abysmal 5-31 overall since taking over the program, and after a 2-10 mark a year ago, hopes to see some type of improvement. He hired a new offensive coordinator in Canales, but offense wasn’t the problem last season as the Mean Green racked up over 4,900 yards of total offense. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney kept his staff intact over the off-season, and with both coordinators entering their second season at the helm, a sense of continuity has settled over the Clemson program.


ADVANTAGE – CLEMSON


BOTTOM LINE


The big worry, if there is one, is that North Texas will come in and be able to run the football against the Tigers, thereby controlling the clock. If they can do that, they can keep it close simply by limiting the number of chances the Tigers get to touch the football. With there being a lot of unknowns about the North Texas offense because of the coordinator change, North Texas could hang around and get an early score – Dunbar is a back that can play anywhere, for anybody, and as Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele said this week, if you give him a crease he can go 80 yards in a heartbeat. But the overall talent and the depth chart show up by the second quarter, and a lot of players get to play as the Tigers have a big day.


THE PICK

CLEMSON 52, NORTH TEXAS 10

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Subject (Replies: 59) Author
North Texas vs Clemson prediction
B-Meist®
What's your prediction? Post it here***
Crump®
45-10****
TheWriter
x2***
Tiger95
Same prediction as ESPN... hmmm***
TigerLight
16-2***
talegater
47-13***
Motown
40-13***
Creek Tiger
63-17***
doboy88
38-6***
ibeeskeef
45-17***
darkhuntingtiger
41-14 Tigers!***
Willmo®
Oops! 52-0***
GrandPaw®
41-3***
DefensiveTackleU
3-0***
zettner®
34-7***
ORANGE-burg Bandit
48-7***
JVTiger
38-13 good guys in Orange***
Fireball
49-13***
BigOrangez
I wished at 11:11 for a 77-0 Victory.
Stealin2nd®
37-6***
dashibbit
Re: Clemson wins by a bunch !!!***
allorangeallthetime52®
37-10***
deleted
48-6 Tigers.***
wildblulou®
45-13******
74leroy
52-10***
TS_Tiger®
66-10***
vandalay
52-0***
tigerdrummer®
Re: What's your prediction? Post it here***
CAtiger82
48-13 ***
GBS
41-6
Jlanderson85
PAIN***
tgrfan42069
27 - 6
iTiger
Re: What's your prediction? Post it here***
lightningkidd1
48-7***
cutgrfan®
52-0***
GrandPaw®
Re: North Texas vs Clemson prediction
palmettoson
56-10
RTiger00
49-0, Clemson wins***
gopaws4
31-10
tiger_thom®
48-21***
kktigers
Re: North Texas vs Clemson prediction
clay1029
48-6***
CitadelTiger®
Mr. T's prediction for the North Texas- Clemson game
Razzmatazz
Re: North Texas vs Clemson prediction
ArborHillsOrange
Also, feel free to post them here
SquishyWaffle
28-3***
T Nasty Orange
Ummm...it'll be close,
tiggerz04®
37-13***
tigertrain
Re: North Texas vs Clemson prediction
Pumpkinhead
42-17
francismariontiger®
Clemson - 45 North Texas - 17***
joeyb®
63-6***
tatertim®
55-9 ***
cornstock®
38-17***
lwilson
38-9******
Tucker_Tiger®
28-17 Clemson Wins***
RU4GOD2®
47-10
HAWG
69-0
ClemsonTigrs2
45-6***
SpillerTimeTiger®

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