College Football Game of the Week: Clemson vs. Notre Dame

Story posted November 4, 2020 in Sports, CommRadio by Christopher Hess

In what could potentially be a tease of the ACC championship game, No. 1 Clemson (7-0) will travel to South Bend and square off against No. 4 Notre Dame (6-0) in a battle of perennial powers.

The head storyline of this matchup is that Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence will not be playing due to a positive coronavirus test. So, DJ Uiagalelei, who played last week against Boston College, will be getting the starting nod.

In five appearances this season, Uiagalelei has completed 42 passes on 60 attempts for 444 yards and two touchdowns, with nearly all of his stats coming from last week.

Travis Etienne has established himself as one of the top running backs in the nation, and he has given opposing defenses fits, rushing for 606 yards and nine scores to complement 434 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns.

Amari Rodgers and Frank Ladson Jr. are the leaders in yards among wide receivers with 586 and 272 respectively with a combined nine touchdowns. Cornell Powell and tight ends Braden Galloway and Davis Allen have also teamed up for seven scores and 50 receptions.

The defense, led by linebacker Baylon Spector, is one that loves to play mean and aggressive, bullying the opposition.

The Tigers have a total of 28 sacks through seven games, and Marcus Murphy is the ringleader with 3 ½. Former five-star Bryan Bresee isn’t far behind with three.

Safety Nolan Turner tops all Clemson defenders with three interceptions, and a number of other players such as Andrew Booth and Mike Jones Jr. have one.

Notre Dame will play its toughest opponent yet and will likely be the favorite in each of its remaining games after this one. However, this is obviously the one that could make or break the season.

Quarterback Ian Book has been playing some of his best football recently, as the senior has thrown for 1,225 yards and seven touchdowns with just one interception through six games. He also has 212 yards on the ground, accompanied by hitting paydirt five times.

Kyren Williams has been the bell cow in the backfield for this Fighting Irish squad. He has towed the rock 105 times for 600 yards and seven scores. Chris Tyree is also another reliable option out of the backfield and as a kick returner.

The wide receivers have a bit of variety, but replacing Chase Claypool has been a daunting task for Brian Kelly’s team.

Javon McKinley has been the leader in receiving yards with 264, but has yet to reach the end zone. Freshman tight end Michael Mayer has the most receiving touchdowns with two alongside Northwestern graduate transfer Ben Skowronek. The two have combined for 311 receiving yards.

Four Notre Dame defensive players have over 20 tackles. That list consists of safeties Kyle Hamilton and Shaun Crawford and linebackers Drew White and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.

Isaiah Foksey and Adetokunbo Ogundeji are the sack leaders with 3 ½ and three respectively.

The Irish have also racked up four interceptions, courtesy of Bo Bauer, Shaun Crawford, Nick McCloud and the aforementioned Owusu-Koramoah.

No. 1 vs. No. 4 is sure to be a great one from start to finish, and it is slated for a 7:30 p.m. kick on NBC.

Will Clemson be able to survive on the road without the best player in college football? Will Notre Dame finally get a win over the No. 1 team for the first time since 1993?

Only time will tell.

Expect a bare-fisted street brawl right from the jump, as both teams will refuse to back down. However, Clemson’s explosive athletes and depth at almost every position will be why the Tigers come out of South Bend victorious.

Notre Dame will keep up for a block of time, but Dabo Swinney’s team will be too much to handle.

Prediction: Clemson 34, Notre Dame 20

 

Christopher Hess is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email christopherhess22@gmail.com.