1) Get Off To A Quick Start:
Colorado has been outscored 100-6 in their last two games. Colorado is in shambles coming into the Champs Sports Bowl. If Clemson can get off to a quick start, they will likely put Colorado away early. The Buffaloes have the talent to pull off the upset, but it will be difficult for them to stay motivated if Clemson strikes early.
2) Get James Davis the ball:
Davis rushed for over 100 yards in three games this season. In those three games the Tigers were 3-0. They were three of the Tigers’ biggest wins. Davis rushed for over 100 yards in the opener against Texas A&M, on a Thursday night at NC State (where the Tigers were previously winless on Thursday nights under Bowden), and at South Carolina. Davis is truly a difference maker in the Tigers’ offense, and he will look to have a big game against Colorado.
3) Avoid a special teams battle:
The one area Colorado has a distinct advantage over Clemson is in special teams. Colorado has a Ray Guy finalist at punter and a Lou Groza award finalist. This will be the first bowl game ever, where two Lou Groza award finalists will compete on the same field. However, Clemson’s Jad Dean is ailing from tendonitis in his knee and will not be at full strength for the Tigers.
4) Takeaway the tight end:
Vic Koenning’s defense has been very successful this year in taking away the opponent’s number one offensive weapon. Colorado has two imposing tight ends that can stretch the field. Clemson has had some success against big play tight ends earlier this year. Early in the season, Maryland tight end Vernon Davis was able to make several plays against the Tigers. The next week Clemson was able to limit an All-American candidate in Greg Olsen of Miami to just one catch. The Tigers will need to limit the tight end tandem for Colorado Tuesday night.
5) Seniors go out with a statement:
David Dunham mentioned earlier in the year that the fifth year seniors this year feel like they were the guys that were looked at as leftovers. Dunham and his fellow fifth year seniors took that to heart and played with a chip on their shoulder this season. The class of 2001 was known as Coach Bowden’s best signing class before 2004, and now the book comes to a close on the signing class of 2001 Tuesday night. Fifth year seniors, Dunham, Charlie Whitehurst, Charles Bennett, Tye Hill, and Jamal Fudge can make a statement and send the Tigers into 2006 with a huge surge of momentum.