After capturing the ACC title last season, Clemson has gotten off to a blazing start this season, going 2-0, including a win over Auburn.
Quarterback Tajh Boyd and running back Andre Ellington have starred in the early going, while junior receiver DeAndre Hopkins has stepped into Sammy Watkins' shoes as the sophomore served a two-game suspension.
Watkins will be back on the field on Saturday against Furman, a team that has certainly had better days. The Paladins are 0-2 to start off the season after a 6-5 campaign in 2011.
Here's a look at the matchup in Clemson.
Where: Memorial Stadium, Clemson, S.C.
When: Saturday, Sept. 15 at 3 p.m. ET
Live Stream: ESPN3
Betting Line: TBA
What's At Stake?
Clemson is going for its second straight ACC title, led by quarterback Tajh Boyd, running back Andre Ellington and receiver Sammy Watkins.
Despite going 10-4 last season (6-2 ACC), the Tigers were bombed by Geno Smith and West Virginia in the Orange Bowl, 70-33. They look for a more appealing result this time after a 2-0 start, including a 26-19 victory over Auburn to begin the season.
As for Furman, the Paladins have won 12 Southern Conference titles in their history, the most of any school, but they finished 6-5 (5-3 Southern) last season, including a 54-32 loss to Florida to end the 2011-2012 campaign.
Furman hasn't exactly rebounded, going 0-2 to start the season, including a 47-45 triple-overtime loss to Coastal Carolina in Week 2.
Injury Report (via USA Today)
No injuries to report
OT Gifford Timothy - Knee - Questionable
LB Justin Parker - Groin - OUT for season
QB Tony McNeal - Knee - OUT for season
CB Martin Jenkins - Groin - OUT indefinitely
What They're Saying
Despite going up against what figures to be an overmatched team, Clemson isn't going to waltz through Saturday's game.
Last season, the Tigers almost lost to FCS opponent Wofford, holding a one-point lead headed into the fourth quarter before eventually winning, 35-27.
Clemson center Dalton Freeman said, according to the Associated Press, via The Daily Reporter, "They probably should've beat us."
If you take out overtime in the Furman-Coastal Carolina game, both teams were knotted up 25-25 at the end of regulation.
It's also worth noting that Furman running backs Jerodis Williams and Hank McCloud combined for 129 rushing yards on 23 carries (5.6 yards per carry) against Coastal Carolina. The Tigers had trouble with the running game of Wofford last season, as well as the running game of Ball State last week in their 52-27 win.
Defensive lineman Josh Watson said after the Ball State game, according to the AP, via The Daily Reporter, "It's a test of your manhood when somebody's running right up the middle on you. That's unacceptable."
Furman Player to Watch: Jerodis Williams, RB
Through two games, senior Jerodis Williams has racked up 183 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries (5.2 yards per carry).
The senior out of Prattville, Ala., has been a bright spot in the Paladins' otherwise dismal season thus far. He needs to have an outstanding game for the Paladins to have a chance of outscoring Clemson.
Clemson Player to Watch: Sammy Watkins, WR
There could be a few choices here, including Boyd and Ellington, but this is the first game of the season for the electric Sammy Watkins, who was suspended for two games after an offseason drug arrest.
Watkins, considered one of the most explosive receivers in college football, racked up 82 catches for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns as a freshman last season, as well as adding 231 yards on the ground.
The young wideout also ran a kickoff back for a touchdown en route to All-American honors.
Furman allowed 292 passing yards against Coastal Carolina. Watkins has the potential to explode against this defense.
Key Matchup: Furman Rushing Attack vs. Clemson Defense
If Furman has any shot in this game, it has to control time of possession with its running game. Williams and McCloud have run well so far and Clemson allowed 252 rushing yards against Ball State.
The more clock Furman eats up, the less time Clemson has to do damage offensively.
Will Clemson dominate Furman on Saturday?
Prediction: Clemson 45, Furman 24
The fact of the matter is, Clemson has scored a combined 78 points in its first two games and that was without Watkins. Just imagine what the Tigers can do now (I'll give you a hint: Clemson averaged 33.6 points per game last season with Watkins).
The running game should see Furman put some points on the board, but Furman's pass defense leaves a lot to be desired and Boyd and Watkins are an explosive duo.
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