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Clemson is coming off a heart-breaking defeat at the hands of the Auburn Tigers a couple weeks ago. Now, they've had a bye week to clear their heads and focus on a huge conference battle.
Miami dominated Pittsburgh on the road last Thursday night on national television, 31-3. The defense was outstanding and the offense struggled at times but still scored over thirty points.
Jacory Harris has been erratic so far this season and the running game hasn't been as good as Miami fans had expected. But Harris has weapons around him and it's only a matter of time before those talented running backs for the Canes breakout.
For Clemson, the pain of losing C.J. Spiller has been eased by Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper. The new "thunder and lightning" for Clemson has been very good, averaging 142 yards per game combined. Quarterback Kyle Parker is still trying to find a go-to receiver but the entire receiving corps for the Tigers have done a decent job up to this point.
While both teams have a lot of talent on offense, the defense for both teams will be key in this game. The Canes defense is only allowing 13 points per game, which ranks 11th in the country. However, their run defense is ranked 43rd while allowing 120 yards per game on the ground. Look for Ellington and Harper to get an abundance of carries.
The Clemson defense has talent with linemen Da'Quan Bowers, Brandon Thompson, and safety DeAndre McDaniel. They are giving up 19 points per game but that number could be a little misleading. The Tigers gave up 21 points to Presbyterian, mainly in mop up duty. With Miami and their pass happy offense, look for McDaniel to get some opportunities to make an impact.
The atmosphere in Death Valley should be electric. With NC State now a threat in the Atlantic, Clemson can't afford to start 0-1 in the conference. On the other side, with Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech not as good as advertised, Miami has an opportunity to run away with the Coastal. This game has big time implications.