#2 Clemson vs Georgia Southern Preview and Prediction:
NO. 2 CLEMSON (2-0, 0-0 ACC) vs. GEORGIA SOUTHERN (2-0, 0-0 SUN BELT)
SATURDAY, SEPT. 15 • 12 P.M. ET • MEMORIAL STADIUM (81,500) • CLEMSON, S.C.
CLEMSON/GEORGIA SOUTHERN SERIES HISTORY:
- OVERALL: N/A (First meeting) - HOME: N/A (First meeting) - ROAD: N/A (First meeting) - NEUTRAL: N/A (First meeting) - LAST MEETING: N/A (First meeting) - STREAK: N/A (First meeting)
TELEVISION: ESPNU (Anish Shroff, Ahmad Brooks and Alex Corddry)
RADIO: Clemson Tigers Network (Don Munson, Rodney Williams, Tim Bourret, Reggie Merriweather)
Clemson faces Georgia Southern for the first ever meeting between the two schools on Saturday at 12 noon inside Clemson’s Memorial Stadium. The game which has been threatened all week by the impending landfall of Hurricane Florence . . . was moved up to a 12PM start to allow for expected heavy traffic to arrive in and out of the area in a safe manner. With evacuee’s from the lower part of the state seeking shelter here in the upstate. Above normal game day traffic is expected on the interstates leading in the area. As of today the storm is predicted to arrive in the area around mid day on Sunday. And currently presents no threat to the game as currently scheduled.
The Tigers and Eagles have never faced each other on the gridiron and this first ever meeting is one of two contrasting styles offensively. Georgia Southern a proud and historic program that managed to secure no less than Six NCAA Division 1-AA championships in its history before moving up to Division 1 status . Since joining the Sun Belt Conference the Eagles have managed to win the league. A team that has in the past walked into venues like the “swamp” in Florida, and subsequently walked out with a victory. The Eagles are a team that is not intimidated by the atmosphere or rosters of power 5 teams and it shows in the results over the years .
The Eagles run a zone read option based offense. Shai Werts the Eagles quarterback is a dangerous and efficient player that has quick feet and very savvy in the passing game with a lively arm. A local product from Newberry, SC Werts was recruited by the Tigers as an “athlete” but shunned the offer to pursue his dream of playing quarterback in college.
When Ga. Southern has the ball:
Georgia Southern will try their best to run their base Zone read option based offense. Clemson on the other hand will look to disrupt the line of scrimmage with its superior talent and size and stop the Eagles from getting into a rhythm. Clemson’s defense will manage by mid 2nd quarter to start imposing itself as depth and rotating bodies being subbed in and out will eventually take a big toll on the Eagles offensive line. Allowing the Tigers in the back end (LB’s and DB’s) to creep in and really shorten the “box” and stop the run and thus forcing the Eagles out of their comfort zone.
Forcing Werts to sit in the pocket and read the defense and try and pass his way out of this game is exactly what Clemson and defensive coordinator Brent Venbables want to see on this day. If Werts has more than 20 attempts in the passing game, it's a great barometer to how the Tigers defense forced that action by stopping the Georgia Southern base attack. Werts and the Eagles will have their “moments” but this defense will win the day here and impose itself and dominate this Eagles offense.
When Clemson has the ball:
Expect more ":Dueling QB’s " as coach Swinney made it evident to us this week in media availability that the Tigers would be status quo as far as the quarterback rotation would go in this game.
Look for the Tigers to try and implement its game plan and return to “tempo” . . . the flow of the A&M game held this Tiger squad to only 59 snaps. A Clemson team that averages over 80 snaps a game, look for the Tigers to get back to normal on Saturday. With A heavy dose of the running back trio the Tigers expect to establish that run and compliment it with a heavy dose of down the field passing.
So far this season the Tigers have hit 11 plays of over 40 yards or more. To put that in perspective the team hit only 6 of those plays all of the 2017 season. Keep an eye out for the Wide Receivers to have a huge day. Keep your eyes on Justyn Ross the newcomer to be a player that may factor directly into the game plan at some point as it’s about depth and talent here. The Tigers can roll in lineman and skill players 3 deep on the Eagles who will eventually wear down in the latter stages and succumb to the talent gap and this one allows the offense to open its playbook up a little. Look for the offense to start slow and eventually crank it up as things get rolling with the second half effort having the Tigers pulling away.
Players to watch for Georgia Southern:
QB: Shai Werts , RB: Wesley Kennedy, LB: Rashad Byrd, DE: Logan Hunt
How we see it:
A first quarter of feeling each other out and a slow start as we expect the hangover from last weeks adrenaline sucking win to linger just a bit. The defense will emerge big here as they gauge Werts for a few series and adjust to his slashing and quick style of QB play. A “slick” guy to get down, he manages to escape a lot of “situations” and make something positive happen. But against this defensive unit he’s going to run out of places to go when such situations arise. The defense will manage by mid 2nd quarter to start imposing itself as depth and rotating bodies being subbed in and out will eventually take a big toll on the Eagles offensive line. Allowing the Tigers in the back end (LB’s and DB’s) to creep in and really shorten the “box” and stop the run and thus forcing the Eagles out of their comfort zone.
With that the Tigers QB’s will expose the talent gap on the Eagles defense in a number of areas after the initial quarter of back and forth feeling each other out. Look for the Run Game to exceed 150 yards here along with a passing attack that will hit on at least 2 “big plays”. And after halftime the Eagles defense just runs out of gas as they cannot keep fresh depth on the lines and in the defensive backfield to keep up with the Tigers talent rollin in and out from play to play.
Prediction: Clemson 42. Georgia Southern 13
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