Dan Scott: Clemson-ULM Prediction


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Okay, off to a good start. 1-0 after last week's (or this week's, actually) Florida State game, and not a mention of the ol' Magic Helmet. We'll keep it locked away as long as things keep rolling in the right direction. Now, on with the prediction:

LOUISIANA MONROE (0-1) at CLEMSON (1-0)

WHEN CLEMSON HAS THE BALL

If the Warhawks couldn't stop Tulsa's running game last week, there's not much hope for them slowing the Tigers on Saturday. The only concern here is the injury problem Clemson has at right guard. Still, the Tigers should be in good shape as long as they don't take ULM lightly. The defense is undersized, but aggressive. Also, watch for quarterback Cullen Harper to be turned loose in the passing game. At least for a while.

ADVANTAGE - Clemson

WHEN ULM HAS THE BALL

The Tigers' defense, so dominant for much of the Florida State game, should be so again this week. The only real concern here is the Warhawks' option game. Defending the option means playing strict assignment football, and Clemson can't get overanxious or confused in doing so. Personally, I don't think it will happen. Monroe will have a hard time moving the football.

ADVANTAGE - Clemson

SPECIAL TEAMS

There were a couple of snafus in the punting game vs. the Seminoles, but head coach Tommy Bowden says they were simple, correctable errors and have been fixed. The kickoff coverage was outstanding, which was a good sign. Mark Buchholz kicked well, and punter Jimmy Maners was a little better than okay despite the blocked punt. This is a week to bring it all together. They will.

ADVANTAGE - Clemson

INTANGIBLES

Clemson goes from a better than capacity, overcharged national television audience watching the No. 19 team in the nation to Saturday vs. Louisiana Monroe. How will the crowd be? How will the intensity be? How much emotion will be generated? The Tigers were excellent in this situation last year. Here's the first test of 2007.

ADVANTAGE - Clemson

BOTTOM LINE

There's no Michigan-like scenario brewing here. The Tigers should roll, and get a lot of wrinkles ironed out in the process.

THE PICK

Clemson 41, ULM 10

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