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

Story posted December 18, 2020 in Sports, CommRadio by Alex Rocco

We have officially hit championship weekend in college football and there are some great matchups, however none better than the Clemson Tigers vs. the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

These two teams squared off earlier in the season and in arguably the game of the season. The Fighting Irish pulled off a 47-40 victory in two overtimes. However, Clemson was without star quarterback Trevor Lawrence as he had to sit out with COVID-19.

The Tigers enter the game ranked No. 3 in the AP Poll and with a record of 9-1.

Clemson has one of the most electric offenses in college football, averaging 46 points per game. That offense is led by the nation’s best quarterback in Lawrence. Lawrence, in just eight games, has logged 2,431 yards, 20 touchdowns and just three interceptions.

The Tigers also have one of the nation’s best running backs in Travis Etienne. Etienne on 148 carries this season has rushed for 758 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also is a great pass catcher out of the backfield as this season he has 41 catches for 512 yards and two touchdowns.

Leading the charge for the Tigers at wide receiver is Amari Rodgers. This season, Rodgers has racked up 845 yards on 61 catches as well as finding the endzone six times. Redshirt Senior Cornell Powell has stepped up big time this season as he has 41 catches for 684 yards and five touchdowns.

Clemson has a great defense also, as their opponents are averaging just 18 points against them.

On the defensive line, Myles Murphy is playing extremely well. Murphy has eight and a half tackles-for-loss and three and a half sacks.

At linebacker, Baylon Spector has 56 tackles and three and a half sacks. Jake Venables has recorded 30 tackles and six and a half tackles-for-loss.

In the secondary, safety Nolan Turner is the leader of this unit and on the season he has 44 tackles and three interceptions. Cornerback Derion Kendrick has five pass deflections along with one interception.

Notre Dame comes into this matchup ranked No. 2 in the nation with a 10-0 record.

Just like the Tigers, the Fighting Irish have an explosive offense averaging 38 points per game.

Quarterback Ian Book has played well this season, throwing for 2,382 yards, 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Book is a dual-threat quarterback, so the Tigers have to watch for Book running as on the season he has 465 yards and 8 touchdowns on 91 carries. 

Notre Dame’s offense is led by star running back Kyren Williams. Williams on 180 carries has 1,011 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also has 24 catches for 268 yards and one touchdown.

At wide receiver, the Fighting Irish are led by Javon McKinley who has racked up 660 yards and three touchdowns on 37 receptions. Ben Skowronek has been a solid second option as he has 21 catches for 344 yards and five touchdowns in just seven games.

Notre Dame is known for its defense and this year is no exception. The Fighting Irish are allowing just 17 points per game this season.

The heart of this defense are linebackers Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Drew White. Owusu-Koramoah has 48 tackles, nine tackles-for-loss, three pass deflections and one interception, and White has 45 tackles and eight tackles-for-loss on the season.

Pass rushers such as Adetokunbo Ogundeji and Isaiah Foskey have generated a lot of pressure this season. Ogundeji has five and a half tackles-for-loss and five and a half sacks. Foskey has five tackles for loss and four and a half sacks.

Cornerbacks Nick McCloud and Clarence Lewis are enjoying excellent seasons. McCloud has eight pass deflections and an interception while Lewis has six pass deflections.

Safety Kyle Hamilton has been all over the field as he has recorded 46 tackles and five pass deflections.

The game will take place on Saturday, Dec. 19 at 4 p.m. at Bank of America Stadium in North Carolina.

 

Alex Rocco is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at afr5646@psu.edu.