Clemson vs. Miami Prediction: GameDay and Top-10 matchup in Death Valley

by - Senior Writer -
The Tigers and Canes face off at 7:30 pm Saturday.
The Tigers and Canes face off at 7:30 pm Saturday.

We finally have another Top-10 matchup in Death Valley.

No. 7 Miami travels to take on No. 1 Clemson in an early-season clash that might determine supremacy in the ACC this season. The Hurricanes are talented and motivated, but will that be enough?

NO. 1/1 CLEMSON (3-0, 2-0 ACC) vs. NO. 7/7 MIAMI (3-0, 2-0 ACC)

TELEVISION: ABC (Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Allison Williams)
RADIO: Clemson Tigers Network (Don Munson, Reggie Merriweather)
OTHER RADIO: Touchdown Radio (Jim Szoke, Charles Arbuckle)
SATELLITE RADIO: Sirius 84, XM 84, Internet 84


OVERALL: Clemson trails series, 5-6
HOME: Clemson trails series, 0-2
ROAD: Clemson leads series, 4-3
NEUTRAL: Series is tied, 1-1
LAST MEETING: Dec. 2, 2017 (38-3, W)
STREAK: Clemson, Won 2


*The Hurricanes are looking for their first win over the nation's No. 1 team since an October 7, 2000 win over Florida State. UM's last win over a No. 1 team on the road was Nov. 16, 1991 at Florida State.

*Clemson enters Saturday's game with a 12-9 all-time record in games in which both teams enter ranked in the AP Top 10. That includes a 7-2 mark since the start of the 2016 season. It will represent the fifth such matchup in Death Valley history, including most recently Clemson's classic 42-36 win against Louisville in 2016 that featured future NFL superstars Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson at quarterback.

*Clemson is hosting its first matchup of AP Top 10 teams at Memorial Stadium since 2016 and attempting to improve to 13-9 all-time against AP Top 10 teams.

*Clemson is hosting a team ranked in the AP Top 15 at Death Valley for the 10th time under Dabo Swinney. Clemson is 6-3 in those contests, including wins in each of its last four such games since 2015.

*Clemson is attempting to improve to 22-3 against AP Top 25 teams since 2015. At 21-3 in those games presently, Clemson's 87.5 percent winning percentage against AP-ranked opponents in that time frame is the best in the country, ahead of Ohio State (84.0) and Alabama (83.3).


*ESPN will broadcast College GameDay from Clemson on Saturday in advance of its prime-time contest against the Hurricanes. The game will mark Clemson's 25th appearance in ESPN College GameDay's featured game. The Tigers enter the contest with a 16-8 record in the presence of College GameDay, including victories in 12 of their last 13 appearances.

Prior to Clemson's loss in the College Football Playoff National Championship, Clemson had won 11 straight games when featured on College GameDay, which had been the nation's longest streak. College GameDay's most recent visit to Clemson came in the 2019 season opener, when ESPN and ACC Network aired a special in-stadium edition in advance of Clemson's 52-14 win against Georgia Tech on a Thursday night.

The upcoming broadcast will be Clemson's first time hosting the traditional Saturday morning show since 2016, prior to No. 5 Clemson's classic 42-36 victory against No. 3 Louisville. College GameDay made its first appearance in Clemson prior to the Tigers' 31-7 win against Georgia Tech in 2006. The show also emanated from Bowman Field twice in 2013 before games against Georgia and Florida State, once in 2015 before the Notre Dame game and in 2016 prior to the Louisville game.


Quarterback D'Eriq King earned his second straight ACC Quarterback of the Week honor Sept. 28 after throwing for 267 yards on 29-for-40 passing with two touchdowns and no interceptions against the Seminoles. For the season, King has thrown for 736 yards with six touchdows and no interceptions. Running back Cam’Ron Harris leads the Canes with 311 yards on 38 carries.

Miami boasts one of the nation's top tight end tandems in juniors Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory, who have been listed as co-starters on the offensive depth chart for the first four games of the season. Jordan, who has started all three games, put on a show versus Louisville, finishing with seven catches for 120 yards and a 47-yard touchdown. He added five catches for 41 yards with one touchdown against FSU. Mallory opened Miami's scoring with a 17-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter of the win at Louisville. It was his fourth career touchdown; he went on to start in Miami's win over Florida State.

The key for Clemson will be stopping the ball getting out on the perimeter to the tight ends (Virginia had success on the perimeter last week), and stopping King from running wild. Brennan Armstrong had 87 yards on the ground for the Cavs and kept drives alive with his legs. Brent Venables will have to bring pressure early to rattle King and stop the running game – in other words put the game on King’s arm instead of his legs. The Canes receivers are good, but not great.

Miami’s offensive line is decent, but Clemson should have success.



On offense, the Tigers are led by QB Trevor Lawrence (848 passing yards, 7 TDs, 0 INTs) and RB Travis Etienne (243 rushing yards, 2 TDs). It’s time to start talking about Etienne as one of the all-time greats, but it’s Lawrence that gets much of the attention while Etienne labors in the background. A big game against Miami could change the national perception of Etienne this week.

Despite the decision of Gregory Rousseau to opt out of 2020, Miami has a pair of talented book ends on the defensive line in redshirt junior Jaelan Phillips and redshirt senior Quincy Roche. Those two ends start outside of interior linemen Nesta Jade Silvera, a first-year starter for Miami, and returner Jon Ford.

One of Miami's most important returners for 2020 played in only four games last year: Zach McCloud. McCloud, who enrolled at Miami in January 2016, elected to redshirt 2019 to return for a final year. The veteran linebacker has totaled 141 career tackles in 45 career games and had two tackles versus UAB. McCloud had one of the best games of his career in Miami's win over Louisville, ranking second on the Hurricanes with nine tackles and adding one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one sack.

Clemson made too many mistakes on first and second down versus Virginia and had too many third-and-longs. Miami will attempt to disrupt Lawrence’s rhythm, but with the Clemson you almost have to pick your poison. Do you stop Lawrence and let Etienne run wild? Do you stop Etienne and make Lawrence beat you? Do you cover Etienne coming out of the backfield and let the tight end run free?

Miami has to force Lawrence into mistakes and win the turnover battle.



Speaking of free agency, the Canes got transfer kicker Jose Borregales from FIU and he is 6-of-6 on field goals this season. Punter Lou Hedley is from Australia, and the 26-year old (you read that right) spent several years scaffolding in the Aussie desert before making his way to the states and City College of San Francisco in 2017. He is averaging a whopping 45.8 yards per punt this season. Clemson feels good about its special teams this season, with kicker BT Potter hitting all five of his field goal attempts and driving kickoffs through the back of the end zone. Clemson is currently ranked ninth nationally in punt returns thanks to the efforts of Amari Rodgers.



The Canes are going to hit on a few big plays and they are going to be excited early. Their starting 22 – thanks to all of the transfers – are good enough to compete with Clemson for a bit. But the second half is when depth and overall talent will begin to tell the tale. King will make his plays and the Miami defense will make its presence known at times, but there aren’t enough Jimmies and Joes from South Beach.


More TigerNet picks

Mickey Plyler - 6-9 AM on WCCP 105.5FM - 38-23 Clemson

Nikki Hood - Staff writer - 38-20 Clemson

Brandon Rink - Staff writer - 37-20 Clemson

Pigskin Prophet - 41-20 Clemson

Tony Crumpton - Associate Editor - 42-7 Clemson*

(* Picking the same score all season)

Game Actual David Hood Mickey Plyler Nikki Hood Brandon Rink Pigskin Prophet Tony Crumpton
Wake Forest 37-13 CU 42-9 CU 49-10 CU 49-13 CU 47-10 CU 44-13 CU 42-7 CU
The Citadel 49-0 CU 52-7 CU 57-6 CU 59-7 CU 55-0 CU 62-6 CU 42-7 CU
Virginia 41-23 CU 38-12 CU 41-14 CU 52-17 CU 45-16 CU 41-13 CU 42-7 CU
Points - 3 5 3 5 5 3

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

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