When Clemson Has the Ball
As everyone knows, we have significant questions on defense that will be answered emphatically on Saturday night. Tajh Boyd is the ACC’s best quarterback and probably the league’s best player as he leads a high-tempo offense that will try to run as many plays as possible. He has talent around him especially the athletic Sammy “Beat the Mess Out of Them” Watkins. The big difference in the Clemson offense is that they appear to enter the season unproven at running back. Clemson will provide a big test to a young secondary that has spent most of the last couple of weeks of camp in green, non-contact jerseys. Success on defense on Saturday night comes down to what it always does in big-time games – the ability to stop the run without committing a safety to the line of scrimmage. The Tigers’ best chance to hit big plays in the passing game comes down to whether they can use effective play-action. If they can suck a safety up close due to an effective running game, play-action will present Boyd with opportunities to hit his talented wide receivers down the field against our young corners. If we can keep our safeties back to play over the top, I like our chances to frustrate Boyd and his skilled players as they gain yards but have trouble hitting the big play their offense feeds on.
When Georgia Has the Ball
Clemson will have to pick their poison between committing to stop the Georgia running game led by the NC Dynamic Duo of Gurley and Marshall and the passing game of Aaron Murray. I believe that Swinney and Venables will buy into the media hype that Murray can’t win a big game and try to take away the Georgia running game. Clemson has many of the same issues on the back end of the defense that Georgia does with unproven talent up against maybe the nation’s best group of receivers and tight ends. Last year’s best statistical pass defense decided to try this, and Murray torched the Nebraska secondary for over 400 yards and 5 TDs. The only teams that really controlled the Georgia offense last year were South Carolina and Florida with their fearsome defensive lines that rarely had to blitz. Clemson doesn’t appear to have the talent in the front 7 to execute this strategy consistently, and Murray should make the Tigers pay consistently.
What Will Happen
The offenses come out and make some plays, and the game begins to turn into the track meet that most are predicting to happen. Grantham has been the master of in-game adjustments over the past 2 years and begins to adjust to slow down the Clemson attack. The Georgia offense especially an experienced offensive line begins to take over the line of scrimmage as the Georgia balanced offense keeps the Tiger defense on its heels. The Clemson offense begins to press to try to keep up with the Georgia offense and makes a couple of mistakes. Clemson scores late to make the final score respectable, and the Dawgs head back to Athens with one hand on the Palmetto State Championship.
Final Score: Georgia 41, Clemson 32
Outstanding analysis. Just gotta keep the TO margin even, and keep Clemson from making big plays on offense that become easy TDs to keep the crowd out of in and not get into the heads of Georgia's young DBs.
Concur! and like you said CU's last TD is a meaningless one to make it this close. Gives em something to hang their hat on.