Clemson vs. Pitt Prediction: Tigers attempt to pull off the upset in the Steel City


by - Senior Writer -
Clemson takes on Pitt at 3:30 pm Saturday.
Clemson takes on Pitt at 3:30 pm Saturday.

Clemson playing at Pitt has been a game that many fans have been looking forward to since the Panthers joined the ACC way back in 2013. The Tigers’ first visit to Pitt will take place at Heinz Field, also the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s a new city, a new stadium, and a new environment.

There are also new circumstances – not many would have thought that the Tigers would be underdogs and that the Panthers might have the ACC’s best chance of making the College Football Playoff. That narrative has a chance to change if Clemson can pull off the upset.

RV/24 CLEMSON (4-2, 3-1 ACC) at 23/23 PITTSBURGH (5-1, 2-0 ACC)

WHEN:SATURDAY, OCT. 23, 3:30 P.M. ET
WHERE: HEINZ FIELD, PITTSBURGH, PA., (68,400/Natural Grass)
TELEVISION: ESPN (Sean McDonough, Todd Blackledge, Molly McGrath)
RADIO: Clemson Athletic Network (Don Munson, Tim Bourret, Reggie Merriweather)
SATELLITE RADIO: Sirius 137, XM 193, Internet/App 955

CLEMSON/PITT SERIES HISTORY

OVERALL: Series is tied, 2-2
HOME: Series is tied, 1-1
ROAD: First meeting
NEUTRAL: Series is tied, 1-1
LAST MEETING: Nov. 28, 2020 (52-17, W)
STREAK: Clemson, Won 2

NOTABLE

*Clemson will face Pitt on the road for the first time in series history when the Tigers and Panthers meet in a cross-division showdown. While the contest will represent Clemson’s first road game against the Panthers in series history, it will be Clemson’s second game in Pittsburgh all-time, joining the Tigers' 34-13 win against Duquesne at Forbes Field in 1947 under Head Coach Frank Howard. A mid-November rainstorm dampened the crowd of 5,000 but didn't deter Bobby Gage, who accounted for 179 combined yards of total offense and two touchdowns in that victory over the Dukes.

*Despite the ACC's addition of former Big East members Boston College, Pitt and Syracuse in the early 21st century, Clemson's concentrated cluster of conference and geographic foes in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic has meant limited opportunities to play north of the Mason-Dixon Line. However, with Clemson playing at Syracuse and at Pitt in back-to-back weeks, Saturday's game will represent only the second time in school history the Tigers will play consecutive games north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

In 1952, Clemson defeated Boston College, 13- 0, at Braves Field in Boston on touchdown runs by tailback Billy Hair and fullback Red Whitten. A week later, Clemson tied Fordham, 12-12, in a game played at Triborough Stadium in Randalls Island, New York. Archives of The Tiger Newspaper recount "6,000 shivering fans" witnessing Clemson Hall of Famer Don King score on runs of 74 and 66 yards amid his 234 yards on 33 attempts against the Rams. The 18-yearold King's 234 yards were a school record at the time and currently rank as the third-most in a single game in school history.

*Clemson is attempting to win its first road game against an opponent in series history for the 20th time all-time. It would be Clemson's fourth straight victory when facing a team on the road for the first time, joining series road debut wins at Notre Dame in 1979, at Syracuse in 2013 and at Louisville in 2015.

*Clemson is playing true road games in back-to-back weeks for the first time since 2015, when Clemson defeated Miami (Fla.) and NC State on the road in consecutive weeks.

*Clemson is attempting to improve to 29-3 in true road games since 2015. It would give Clemson victories in 45 of its last 53 games away from home overall.

THINGS WE WANT TO SEE THIS WEEK

*THE DEFENSE HAVE ITS BEST GAME SINCE GEORGIA: Pitt boasts the nation's No. 3 scoring offense, averaging an ACC-best 48.3 points per game. Clemson is second nationally in scoring defense, yielding an ACC-low 12.5 points. Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett has thrown 21 touchdowns against only one interception. Pickett's TD pass total—already a single-season personal high—ranks fourth in the nation and first in the ACC.

Per NCAA Stats & Info, Pitt joined Florida State as the only ACC programs to open a season with five consecutive 40-point games. Dating back to the 2020 season, Pitt has now scored at least 28 points in seven consecutive games, its longest streak since accomplishing the feat in 13 games over the 2015 (one game) and 2016 (12 games) seasons.

That means the Clemson defense has its hands full. The good news is that cornerbacks Andrew Booth and Fred Davis should be healthy, giving the Tigers the full complement of cornerbacks. Pickett doesn’t run often, but when he does he makes things happen. This needs to be the Tigers’ best effort.

*THE OFFENSE HAS TO SCORE MORE THAN 20: Clemson is averaging 14.8 points in five games played against FBS opponents this year. That’s almost 25 points off last year’s 39.4-point average. They’re also managing 164 passing yards per game and 3.72 yards per carry against FBS opposition, second- and third-worst in the ACC, respectively. Tigers sophomore QB DJ Uiagalelei has completed 55.7% of his passes, 91st among FBS quarterbacks. Meanwhile, his 5.6 yards per attempt ranks sixth-worst nationally among those with at least 100 drop-backs, per Pro Football Focus.

Uiagalelei is also dealing with a 10.2% drop rate, fourth-worst among Power Five quarterbacks with at least 190 drop-backs, per PFF. Even the receivers who are supposed to be good – like Justyn Ross – are struggling.

Pitt allowed 44 points in a loss to Western Michigan, giving up 517 total yards and six touchdowns. They’ve been better since that game, but it shows that the defense can be beat. The question is, this late in the season, can the Clemson offense rise to the occasion?

The guess here is that the Tigers will have to score at least 27 points come away with a win.

*SPECIAL TEAMS HAVE TO CONTINUE TO BE SPECIAL: BT Potter has been fantastic, on field goals and extra points and kickoffs. Punter Will Spiers is having another good season, and it was his throw on a fake punt last week that led to the go-ahead touchdown against Syracuse. What would be great – especially on a day where the offense needs all the help it can get – would be if there could be a big play either in the return game (punt or kickoff), or in the form of a blocked punt. Maybe the return of Will Shipley will provide a boost, even though I am not sure we will see him on returns so soon after a leg injury.

*JUST PLAY CLEAN: Clemson hasn’t helped its cause with missed blocks, dropped passes, and penalties. If this team can clean up some of the silly mistakes, they’ve got a chance to make something special happen.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN

I’ve heard good things out of practice this week. I’ve heard the players are still very much engaged, that they realize there is everything still to play for, and that cleaning up those mistakes can turn the season around. It will take that kind of effort to beat the Panthers.

But after six games, I am just not sure that kind of turnaround can happen. At least not enough to win this game. They will be better, they will look better in phases, but this Pitt offense is on a roll and they will do enough to win this game. Another heartbreaker.

FINAL SCORE: PITT 27, CLEMSON 23

More TigerNet picks

Mickey Plyler - The Roar 105.5 morning show host - 23-21 Clemson
Nikki Hood - Staff writer - 24-17 Pitt
Brandon Rink - Associate editor - 24-23 Pitt
Tony Crumpton - Associate editor - 21-20 Pitt
Zachary Wagner - Intern - 24-21 Clemson
Jake Pierce - Recruiting reporter - Clemson 31-27
Pigskin Prophet - 24-23 Clemson
Ryan Kantor - Contributing Writer - Pitt 21-19

Game Actual David Hood Plyler Nikki Hood Rink Crumpton Wagner Pierce Prophet Kantor
Georgia 10-3 UGA 27-20 CU 27-23 CU 24-17 CU 27-23 CU 28-24 CU 28-17 CU 31-20 CU 23-17 CU -
SC State 49-3 CU 55-3 CU 54-0 CU 56-7 CU 61-7 CU 49-7 CU 55-10 CU 45-0 CU 45-0 CU -
GT 14-8 CU 41-13 CU 51-10 CU 45-10 CU 45-13 CU 38-7 CU 45-7 CU 38-13 CU 48-10 CU 31-3 CU
NCST 27-21 2OT NCST 23-20 CU 27-13 CU 17-7 CU 24-17 CU 24-9 CU 24-3 CU 28-17 CU 24-16 CU 24-6 CU
BC 19-13 CU 24-20 CU 24-13 CU 24-13 CU 27-17 CU 24-9 CU 24-21 CU 24-20 CU 23-16 CU 23-21 BC
Syracuse 17-14 CU 31-20 CU 31-17 CU 38-14 CU 26-16 CU 27-13 CU 24-13 CU 27-13 CU 30-17 CU 23-13 CU
Points - 4 6 6 4 6 4 4 4 6

* Points: 3 pts for best correct prediction of the week (tiebreaker is Clemson score), 2 pts for picking score exactly, 1 pt for picking the correct winner

Comment on this story
Print   
Send Feedback to David Hood: Email | Comment
Clemson offers elite Sunshine State linebacker
Clemson offers elite Sunshine State linebacker
Four-star athlete picks up Clemson offer
Four-star athlete picks up Clemson offer
Clemson sets graduation success rate record
Clemson sets graduation success rate record
Andrew Mukuba named Freshman of the Year semifinalist
Andrew Mukuba named Freshman of the Year semifinalist
Post your comments!
Subject (Replies: 40) Author
spacer TNET: Clemson vs. Pitt Prediction: Tigers attempt to pull off the upset in the Steel City
TigerNet News
spacer When's the last time DH picked the other team?***
tigerdrummer®
spacer Re: When's the last time DH picked the other team?***
o2bnclemson
spacer WheN is the last time we did not “hear good things out
kbtiger®
spacer Re: When's the last time DH picked the other team?***
northernVAtiger®
spacer lol at mackey
hotsawce
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson vs. Pitt Prediction: Tigers attempt to pull off the upset in the Steel City
Vermontfan1221
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson vs. Pitt Prediction: Tigers attempt to pull off the upset in the Steel City
grrowl
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson vs. Pitt Prediction: Tigers attempt to pull off the upset in the Steel City
Vermontfan1221
spacer Y’all, Don’t bet against Brent Venables defense
rebeltigersteeler®
spacer Yah, but there are so many 3-and-outs the D can endure
hotsawce
spacer Re: Yah, but there are so many 3-and-outs the D can endure
TigerNick76®
spacer Re: Yah, but there are so many 3-and-outs the D can endure
BuckheadTigerLunatic
spacer Re: Y’all, Don’t bet against Brent Venables defense
alum94
spacer Re: Y’all, Don’t bet against Brent Venables defense
Clemsader
spacer 6 of 8 picking Clemson to score more than 20?
ClemsonZJ
spacer Re: 6 of 8 picking Clemson to score more than 20?
tcwhit
spacer Re: 6 of 8 picking Clemson to score more than 20?
tcwhit
spacer What a bunch of commies picking us to lose.***
Row86®
spacer I'm in shock.....
o2bnclemson
spacer Thoughts on tomorrow
Tigergirlga
spacer Re: Thoughts on tomorrow
TigerzzRoar®
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson vs. Pitt Prediction: Tigers attempt to pull off the upset in the Steel City
Calhoun2
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson vs. Pitt Prediction: Tigers attempt to pull off the upset in the Steel City
tigerpsy
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson vs. Pitt Prediction: Tigers attempt to pull off the upset in the Steel City
HKYTiger
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson vs. Pitt Prediction: Tigers attempt to pull off the upset in the Steel City
Clemsonohiotiger®
spacer Haven't gone +20 all year, but we will against THIS D? right***
RU4GOD2
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson vs. Pitt Prediction: Tigers attempt to pull off the upset in the Steel City
NC_Tiger_
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson vs. Pitt Prediction: Tigers attempt to pull off the upset in the Steel City
Winitall18
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson vs. Pitt Prediction: Tigers attempt to pull off the upset in the Steel City
ddraines®
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson vs. Pitt Prediction: Tigers attempt to pull off the upset in the Steel City
mojotiger®
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson vs. Pitt Prediction: Tigers attempt to pull off the upset in the Steel City
saddis56®
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson vs. Pitt Prediction: Tigers attempt to pull off the upset in the Steel City
TigerDadfromNJ
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson vs. Pitt Prediction: Tigers attempt to pull off the upset in the Steel City
ddclemson
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson vs. Pitt Prediction: Tigers attempt to pull off the upset in the Steel City
TigerinCarolina
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson vs. Pitt Prediction: Tigers attempt to pull off the upset in the Steel City
TigerinCarolina
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson vs. Pitt Prediction: Tigers attempt to pull off the upset in the Steel City
leftie
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson vs. Pitt Prediction: Tigers attempt to pull off the upset in the Steel City
TigerDadfromNJ
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson vs. Pitt Prediction: Tigers attempt to pull off the upset in the Steel City
usarmyshreve®
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson vs. Pitt Prediction: Tigers attempt to pull off the upset in the Steel City
Tigerlife2005
spacer Don’t think tigers have what it takes
ThornhillVillageDweller

Sign Up for E-Mail News Alerts
Features
Breaking
Daily Digest