After notching a week one win against North Texas, Clemson has one more tune-up game with a trip to Auburn looming. Prebyterian is in the process of transitioning to the Football Championship Division (formerly 1-AA) and, after an 0-11 season last year, shouldn't pose much of a challenge for the Tigers.
Clemson offense vs. Presbyterian defense
Clemson's running game was very successful last week as both Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper posted 100 yard games. Their performances helped carry a so-so passing game, in which Clemson is still trying to identify which receivers it can rely on. We may see the Tigers throw the ball a lot in the early-going in an effort to answer this question, but expect an ample dose of running plays as well. PC has an all-conference performer on defense in safety Justin Bethel, who recorded 79 tackles last season. Linebacker Derek Brown (60 tackles in 2009) is another player to watch on the Blue Hose defense. PC surrendered 53 points and 509 total yards last week against Wake Forest, including an embarrassing 415 yards rushing. Expect Clemson to dominate in similar fashion.
Key matchup: Clemson wide receivers vs. Presbyterian secondary
If Clemson is going to have a couple of guys step up at receiver, this would be a good time for it to happen. PC doesn't have the athletes in the secondary to keep up with Clemson's receivers, and Kyle Parker needs to find a couple reliable targets before next week.
Presbyterian offense vs. Clemson defense
The Blue Hose have a capable quarterback in redshirt junior Brandon Miley and a good wide receiver in sophomore Michael Ruff, who caught four passes for 122 yards and a touchdown against Wake. Clemson's defense will see a couple of running backs, but mostly senior Trandon Dendy. Expect the Blue Hose to stick to the passing game though, as it will be hard to run the ball against a Clemson defensive line that, on average, outweighs their offensive line. Clemson's linebackers and secondary need to improve vastly from last week, as they had several tackling and coverage issues. PC pulled a nifty trick play against Wake, so don't be surprised if they dive into the bag of tricks again.
Key matchup: Miley vs. Clemson secondary
Miley is experienced and was pretty efficient against Wake Forest, and Clemson's secondary was subpar last week. They need to prove against an inferior opponent that they can be as dominant as they were expected to be this season.
Clemson's special teams were a bright spot last week, as punter Dawson Zimmerman was named ACC specialist of the week. Chandler Catanzaro was perfect on his extra point attempts, and Marcus Gilchrist was solid in the return game. Presbyterian kicker Aaron Mayes and punter Patrick Morgano are both experienced sophomores. Expect to see Ruff and senior Tyler Robbins handle kick return duties.
Key Matchup: Chandler Catanzaro vs. A Field Goal
The walk-on kicker was nearly perfect on field goals in preseason practice. After kicking only extra points last week, hopefully he'll get a shot to kick one or two in an actual game this weekend.
Clemson will score a ton of points in this game, and trying to predict how many they will score is just estimating when they take their foot off the gas. Presbyterian will play hard, but they just aren't at a level where they can compete with a team like Clemson for very long. This one will get ugly quick, and Clemson fans will see backups, like Tajh Boyd, much earlier than last game.
Clemson 52 Presbyterian 7