Clemson vs. SC State Preview and Prediction
|Friday, September 10, 2021, 3:00 PM- -|
The day has finally arrived. Death Valley is allowed to be at full capacity (even though it probably won’t be) and regular tailgating is allowed, sights that we haven’t seen for almost two years. Add in what is supposed to be a spectacular late summer day, and it should be a great day for Clemson football. Oh, and hello SC State.
It’s also the day when Clemson great CJ Spiller is honored. After a joint performance by the Clemson University Tiger Band and the South Carolina State Marching 101 to start halftime, Clemson will honor one of college football's all-time greats. Representatives of the National Football Foundation (NFF) will be on hand for an in-stadium salute honoring Spiller for his College Football Hall of Fame selection.
During the ceremony, the NFF will present Spiller with a plaque celebrating his selection in advance of his formal induction at the 63rd NFF Annual Awards Dinner in Las Vegas on Dec. 7. In January, Spiller was selected for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2021, earning the distinction in only his second year of eligibility to become Clemson’s eighth overall inductee and its fourth former player to earn the honor.
NO. 6/6 CLEMSON (0-1, 0-0 ACC) vs. SOUTH CAROLINA STATE (0-1, 0-0 MEAC)
WHEN: SATURDAY, SEPT. 11, 5 P.M. ET
WHERE: MEMORIAL STADIUM (81,500), CLEMSON, S.C.
TELEVISION: ACC Network (Dave O'Brien, Tim Hasselbeck, Kelsey Riggs)
RADIO: Clemson Athletic Network (Don Munson, Tim Bourret, Reggie Merriweather)
SATELLITE RADIO: Sirius 133, XM 193, Internet 955
CLEMSON/SC STATE SERIES HISTORY
OVERALL: Clemson leads series, 4-0
HOME: Clemson leads series, 4-0
LAST MEETING: Sept. 17, 2016 (59-0, W)
STREAK: Clemson, Won 4
*Clemson is playing its 121st home opener in school history in its 126th season, as there were five seasons in which Clemson did not play a game at home.
*Clemson is attempting to improve to 96-17-8 record in home openers.
*Clemson is attempting to win an 18th straight home debut. Clemson has won 17 straight home openers dating to 2004. A win would break Clemson’s longest winning streak in home openers all-time (17 from 1944-60).
*Clemson is attempting to improve to 5-0 in its all-time series with South Carolina State. Clemson previously earned wins against SC State in 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2016.
*Clemson is attempting to improve to 36-0 against Football Championship Subdivision teams since the NCAA formed the division prior to the 1978 season. –
*Clemson is attempting to add to its national-best 47-1 record at home in the College Football Playoff era (since 2014).
*Clemson is attempting to win a 29th consecutive home game to extend its school record for both the longest home winning streak and longest home unbeaten streak in school history (as well as extend the nation’s longest active home winning streak). Of the 135 players on Clemson’s 2021 roster, 130 have never experienced a home loss in their Clemson careers. Five sixth-year “super seniors” on Clemson’s 2021 roster were on the 2016 team that recovered from a home loss to Pitt by winning the national championship that season.
*Clemson (28) winning a 29th straight home game to pull within one home win of recording the 24th home winning streak of 30 games or more in FBS history.
*NOTE: In light of what transpired last week, and in light of this week’s opponent, we are going to change the prediction up a little this week (and if you approve, might keep it like this). We are going to list some things we want to see with a paragraph at the end with what we think will happen.
FIVE THINGS WE WANT TO SEE
*RUN. THE. BALL. Clemson’s run game struggled last season, and the run was all but abandoned in last week’s loss to Georgia. Head coach Dabo Swinney and offensive coordinator Tony Elliott both admitted that in hindsight they wish they had stuck with the run a little longer, but that’s become a familiar refrain at times (back to Travis Etienne being ignored in the loss to LSU). This week, it would be great to see an actual emphasis on the run game. And while we’re at it, I know that running back Lyn-J Dixon spent a little time in Swinney’s “love shack” last week but I would love to see Dixon get some carries. Also, I always felt like Tajh Boyd settled down after a called QB run. Get him hit a few times and he was great. Maybe that would help out this time around as well.
*BETTER OFFENSIVE LINE PLAY. I spent a lot of time talking to a former Clemson offensive lineman Thursday, and he said that he felt like the line didn’t play as bad as many people think. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t all on the offensive line. And this goes back to the run game – just go out and call designed runs and let those offensive linemen play physical. The RPO game is great but there are times when an offensive line has to be told, “Go out and beat the man in front of you. No finesse. No tricks. No sleight of hand. Just go run him over.” Would love to see this line gain some confidence.
*SPEAKING OF THE QUARTERBACK. I thought DJ Uiagalelei settled in during the second half last week and did some nice things, he just wasn’t helped out by his wide receivers (except Joseph Ngata). Uiagalelei is a better runner than he showed, and he’s a far better passer than he showed. It will be good for him to get into a nice rhythm and run the offense. I felt like there were times he didn’t trust his first read and held onto the ball too long. This week is his chance to get back into the groove. It would also be good to see some called screens to the running backs and slow down that rush a bit.
*DEFENSE JUST DO YOUR THING. Clemson’s defense was lights out against Georgia. The Bulldogs dinked and dunked their way down the field, ran clock, and tried to protect quarterback JT Daniels by calling quick screens and dump offs. The defense needs to hold serve.
*TEMPO. The stats tell me that Clemson ran tempo just fine last year (based on plays per game), but I think that has more to do with outmatching opponents and having to grind the way down the field than actual tempo (and maybe I’m wrong). But there were plenty of games where the play clock ran down into single digits before the ball was snapped. Teams that run tempo want that ball snapped somewhere (based on what Chad Morris used to say) between 18-21 seconds on the play clock.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN
SC State is just what the doctor ordered. Buddy Pough’s Bulldogs have some good players, a lot of experience in spots, and they won’t be a total pushover. They can score some points. So this will be a good test but also a chance to work on some things. I think it might take a possession or two for the offense to get going, but once it does, watch out.
FINAL SCORE CLEMSON 55, SC STATE 3
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Mickey Plyler - The Roar 105.5 morning show host - 54-0 Clemson
Nikki Hood - Staff writer - 56-7 Clemson
Brandon Rink - Associate editor - 61-7 Clemson
Tony Crumpton - Associate editor - 49-7 Clemson
Zachary Wagner - Intern - 55-10 Clemson
Jake Pierce - Recruiting reporter - Clemson 45-0
Pigskin Prophet - 45-0 Clemson