The Clemson Tigers play the Florida St. Seminoles this weekend in what could be the deciding factor in determining who goes to the ACC Championship game for the Atlantic Division.
The Tigers will need to do these six things if they want to win on Saturday.
1. Contain Christian Ponder. The Seminoles quarterback is incredibly athletic and will extend drives with his legs if given the opportunity. The Tigers defensive ends cannot get too far upfield and must keep contain to prevent Ponder from breaking out of the pocket.
2. Establish the running game. The Seminoles are ranked last in the ACC and 101st in the nation in rushing defense (183/ypg). Offensive coordinator Billy Napier must understand that sticking with star C.J. Spiller and company will wear down the Seminole defense, and will keep the dangerous Seminole offense off the field. This eluded him against the Maryland Terrapins.
3. Protect Kyle Parker. The Seminoles passing defense is actually worse than their rushing defense. It is ranked last in the ACC, and 97th in the nation (246/ypg). Kyle Parker has shown that he can be very accurate when given time, and he should be able to pick apart the vulnerable Seminoles secondary.
4. Don't get into a shootout. Similar to the game against the Miami Hurricanes, the Tigers offense could possibly go toe-to-toe with the nation's 15th ranked offense (443/ypg), but it would behoove them to play lights out with the nation's 15th ranked defense and control the clock with the running game.
5. Pick up the void that Da'Quan Bowers leaves. Bowers will most likely miss the game due to a knee injury. Bowers has three sacks and eight tackles-for-loss on the season, and consistently pressures opposing quarterbacks. Malliciah Goodman and Kevin Alexander must pick up the slack and keep Ponder from getting comfortable.
6. Parker must find Michael Palmer . The Tiger's tight end will return to action this weekend after sitting out last weekend's game with a concussion. Palmer is Parker's most dependable receiver, and he will need to find him early and often as the Seminole's will most likely load up the box against the run and force the Tiger's into second- and third-and-longs.