The ‘Canes are 5-5 and coming off of an easy enough win over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The Tigers are 9-1 and a top-10 team once again. Clemson’s lone loss came in an off game against Notre Dame.
According to Bill Connelly’s SP+ metrics, Clemson is 14th overall in FBS, 29th on offense, 24th on defense, and 30th in the kicking game. Miami is 72nd overall in FBS, 79th on offense, 56th on defense, and 5th in kicking.
Clemson is scoring 34.2 PPG (28th of 131 in FBS) and allowing 21 PPG (28th of 131). The ‘Canes are 25.7 PPG (85th of 131) and allowing 23.9 PPG (48th of 131).
Regarding Points Per Play, Clemson is ranked 28th while Miami is ranked 111th in FBS. That’s a scary data point as the Tigers can score at will while Miami has to put together long drives in order to even get three points.
Miami is ranked 104th in penalties at 7.2 per game, while Clemson is 62nd with 6.1. Neither team is that disciplined.
The much debated Tigers QB, D.J. Uiagalelei, is playing solid football. “DJU” will never be Trevor Lawrence, but he has a skillset that could hurt Miami. For one, he’s hard to bring down in the QB run game and on sacks. Uiagalelei has rushed for 400 yards and five TD’s so far this season. He’s also completed 65% of his passes for 7.2 yards per attempt. DJU has thrown 19 TD’s with five INT’s.
Will Shipley will also make it difficult on Miami defenders. Trey Benson is a good-not-great version of Shipley. Shipley has rushed for 5.8 yards per carry with 12 TD’s this season and is a hoss to bring down. The arm tackling and diving around won’t work against him.
Clemson doesn’t have the most explosive receiving threats, but they’re all solid. Beaux Collins, Joseph Ngata and Davis Allen average 15.4, 14.5, and 12.1 yards per catch, respectively. They’ve combined for 10 receiving TD’s, as well.
Above- Pressure cuts down space and minimizes time. QB’s are more prone to making mistakes if you can get directly in their face. It works for ND and is a convenient turnover here already up 14-0. Send Wesley Bissainthe on pressure and Kam Kinchens with the INT?
Above- ND’s defense is without a doubt MUCH better than Miami’s. However, it doesn’t take Deion Sanders and Ronnie Lott to make these plays. The ball is under thrown and an easy pick for the cornerback.
Above- Here are the issues for Miami with DJU. Clemson knows a mobile QB is an issue, add in his size and running style and see what Duke, UNC, and FSU have done to Miami in the past for W’s.
Above- #1 runs a hitch, #2 (inside WR) runs a slot fade. Put your tall guy on their short guy. This is how no. 23 gets worked in the red zone vs. Clemson- not by being lost, by being short. If no. 0 had hips I would put him there but, alas, he’s stiff.
The Hurricanes offensive line handled the Georgia Tech pass rush and run defense, but this ain’t Atlanta, Todo. The Tigers have six defenders with five or more TFL’s, including team leader Myles Murphy with 10 TFL’s. Murphy also leads Tigers with 6.5 sacks, with Barrett Carter and Tyler Davis logging four sacks a piece.
Clemson CB Nate Wiggins has nine PBU’s this season and will be assigned to Colbie Young, you’d assume. Clemson also has 10 forced fumbles, although that didn’t seem to help the Jackets at all last Saturday as Miami protected the ball well. The Tigers have only eight interceptions this season, so Jacurri Brown might shine once again on offense.
Above- Assuming Jacurri Brown starts against Clemson, inside zone read with a wrapping H-Back looks good here for ND. It’s a hard play to defend as that outside overhang guy gets blocked by the TE he doesn’t see coming until it’s too late. I hope Kahlil Brantley is read for action, this is his kind of play.
Above- Same read on the back side defensive end for the QB, he just has a lead blocker for when the DE “squeezes” or scrape exchanges (switches responsibilities with the LB) post-snap.
Above- I would like to see Jaleel Skinner out of the backfield once again, this time up the seam like we see for Notre Dame.
Clemson’s kicker B.T. Potter has made all 37 PAT’s and is 16-of-18 on field goals this year. Shipley has been a kickoff return weapon in limited return opportunities. PK Andres Borregales has to kick touchbacks against Clemson or Shipley will make Miami pay. I can’t remember the last big ‘Canes special teams play in a big game.
Above- Notre Dame comes up huge with a blocked punt in their upset win over CU. It put ND up 7-0 in the 1st quarter. Miami needs to win the kicking game. Great teams dominate kicking games to create turnovers, improve field position, and ice out games.
The win expectancy for Clemson, per ESPN, is 90.7%. The Tigers are the clear favorite heading into the second to last regular season game for both squads.
The Canyonero keys to victory from the summer were:
1- Block some bodeee- The Miami OL will have their hands full against Clemson. The Tigers have focused their attention on recruiting defensive line for ages and that trend won’t stop under Dabo Swinney. Miami’s game plan has to be to keep running counter, sprinkle in more RB screens and RPO’s, and to let Brown take off when he needs to.
2- Get pressure on the Clemson QB- Miami’s front four pressure is way up from last year, but it does go dormant at times. The Tigers O-Line is okay, nothing special and never really has been. Miami can’t rely on blitzing DJU to death, he’ll beat you that way. He’s much worse when he has to be accurate with ball placement because four are getting pressure and seven are dropped into passing windows.
3- Don’t make the stupid mistakes- Against Clemson in the past, Miami has turned the ball over and had boneheaded penalties. Add that into blown coverages or blocking assignments and Miami looks like a JV compared to Dabo’s machine. I don’t expect Miami to all of a sudden clean up their act, but it has to be better than it has been to make this a worth while game.
Summer prediction: Clemson by 13. My summer prediction, when I thought Miami would look better and Clemson would look worse, was Clemson by 13. Miami will more than likely have Brown behind center with Death Valley crowd noise, increased psychological pressure and tactical pressure.
Prediction: Clemson by 17.