Notre Dame takes on Clemson at 8:00 p.m. on ABC. Follow this page for live Twitter updates on the Fighting Irish.
From Staff Writer Patrick Sullivan on the matchup between Irish and Tigers:
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will travel to South Carolina on Saturday for an AP top-12 rumble with the Clemson Tigers. Both teams enter the game with undefeated records, hoping to make a statement to the College Football Playoff Committee with an impressive win over a highly ranked opponent.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and his Tigers come into the game at 3-0, having defeated Wofford, Appalachian State, and Louisville. Ranked 12th in the AP Poll, the Tigers will have had over two weeks of rest since their 20-17 win over Louisville on September 17th.
Notre Dame enters the game at 4-0, ranked 6th in the AP Poll, and slight underdogs (by 2 points) to the hosting Tigers. Fresh off a 62-27 2nd-half beatdown of UMass, the Irish are searching for that signature victory to hang their leprechaun hats on, especially after Georgia Tech’s loss to Duke last week, which made that week 3 victory much less valuable.
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ND defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder’s defense struggled mightily in the first half against UMass last week, but they were able to tighten up and play mostly lights-out football in the second half. It will be interesting to see which of those defenses shows up, as the Clemson offense is much more potent than the Minutemen. Led by sophomore Heisman candidate QB Deshaun Watson (74% completion rate, 641 yards, 7 touchdowns), the Tiger offense is replete with playmakers. This should definitely concern Irish fans, as big plays have really been the Achilles heel for VanGorder’s squad.
Overall, it should be a very exciting game, and likely a high-scoring affair, as both teams have defenses with talent but offenses that will likely put up points regardless. It could come down to winning the turnover and time-of-possession battles, with the defense that makes the most big-time plays coming out on top. One team will emerge from this battle a bonafide College Football Playoff contender, while the other will have a lot of work to do if they still hold that dream.