Clemson: Four Burning Questions Heading into the ACC Championship Game

The ACC and SEC BlogSenior Analyst IDecember 3, 2009

CLEMSON, SC - NOVEMBER 21: Head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers leads his team onto the field against the Virginia Cavaliers at Memorial Stadium on November 21, 2009 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Clemson Tigers will be fighting for many things on Saturday.  A chance to bounce back after a loss to South Carolina last week.  A chance to get revenge against a Georgia Tech they lost to back in September.  But most importantly, Clemson can win its first ACC title since 1991. 

To get that title they must answer these questions on Saturday.

1. Can Clemson Mount Multiple Scoring Drives?

The guys over at From The Rumble Seat did an interesting analysis of Clemson scoring drives .

I won’t go much into the details because they do a much better job explaining than I could. But the gist is that the Tigers have had difficulty putting the ball in the end zone when they don’t get a kick return.

In the first game this season, the Tigers only had two drives both coming in the third quarter netting 10 points. The other scores were on a one-play, 63-yard pass and three plays, 80 yards with 77 of those yards coming on third down.

2. Can Clemson Stop The Zone Read Option?

Georgia Tech doesn't run the exact same zone read option that South Carolina ran from the shotgun, but the reads by the QB are very, very similar.

It has been much discussed how the Tiger Defense slowed down Ga Tech last time, but the Yellow Jackets still got over 300 yards rushing.

Shakin The Southland has been profiling Paul Johnson’s spread option offense all week and has some stuff on ways to defend it.

But it will come down to how much penetration the defensive line can get and how well the Tigers tackle.

3. Can DeAndre McDaniel Take Away The Deep Ball?

Clemson’s safety intercepted Josh Nesbitt twice back in September and has continued his ball hawking play all season.

The real test here will be if Clemson needs McDaniel to play in the box to stop the run.

If he does, then the deep ball will be open. If not, then expect GT to throw short much more which goes against their passing game philosophy.

4. What is Clemson's Mental State After Losing To Arch Rival South Carolina?

I thought Dabo Swinney had a good perspective on the loss last week and the game this weekend. Swinney said the Tigers have beaten the Gamecocks many, many times, but haven't won an ACC title in a long, long time.

But can he get that mentality through to his team? It is a lot easier said than done.

Georgia Tech: 4 Questions Heading Into The ACC Championship Game