College Football

What You Need to Know: Clemson vs. Miami

October 9, 2020

Saturday features a marquee matchup of two undefeateds, with No. 7 Miami (3-0) traveling to take on No. 1 Clemson (3-0).

The ACC doesn't boast many tilts between teams ranked in the top 10, and this is only the 17th meeting between AP top 10 teams in the ACC.

The last was the 2017 ACC Championship, which also featured Clemson and Miami, resulting in a 38-3 win for the Tigers.

Will Miami suffer a similar fate or is this their year? Let's dive in.

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(All odds provided by FOX Bet)

The Basics

Miami will head into the defending ACC champion's house, Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina, to take on the Tigers, and the Hurricanes lead the all-time series with the Tigers, 6-5. 

You can watch the clash at 7:30 pm ET on ABC.

Clemson is favored (-14) with the O/U at 62.

Youth vs. Experience

Miami is new to the top 10 scene.

The Hurricanes began the season unranked, but climbed to No. 17 after a season-opening 31-14 win over UAB. They then jumped to No. 12 after a 47-34 win at then-No. 18 Louisville, and rose to No. 8 after a 52-10 demolition of Florida State on Sept. 26. 

They now sit at No. 7 and will take on the top team in the nation, which hasn't boded well for Miami in the recent past, considering the Canes have lost their last three games when ranked in the top 10, and they haven't finished a season in that group since 2003.

The last time Miami was ranked in the top 10 prior to this season was when it entered the 2018 season ranked No. 8 in the nation. 

The Hurricanes lost their season-opener to No. 25 LSU.

Meanwhile, Clemson – the five-time ACC champs – have won 32 regular season games in a row.

Clemson has scored at least 37 points in every game so far this season, led by quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne.

Lawrence hasn’t thrown an interception since Oct. 19, 2019. He's hitting on 73.3 percent of his passes, racking up 848 yards and seven touchdowns this season.

Lawrence is averaging 11.3 yards per throw and ranks second among ACC quarterbacks with four completions of 40 yards or more.

Heading into Saturday, Miami quarterback D’Eriq King is in his first year leading the offense. He is averaging 6.7 yards per play and the Hurricanes are putting up 43.3 points a contest.

King has been a playmaker since transferring from Houston. For the season, he's connected on 67.1 percent of his passes for 736 yards and six touchdowns, while adding 157 yards and one score on the ground.

The Numbers

The Tigers head into the showdown with their offense averaging 42.3 points a game and 6.8 yards per snap, but Miami pass-rushers have proven tremendously effective, with Quincy Roche and Jaelan Phillips combining for a total 17 quarterback pressures, with the defense racking up 10 sacks.

Even with a stout defensive line, the Canes' defense still ranks 10th in the ACC against the run, which does not bode well for stopping Etienne.

The good news is that on the opposite side of the ball, Miami boasts the No. 1 offense in the ACC, averaging 499.0 yards per game and ranking 12th nationally.

However, the Tigers' defensive front has also been disruptive this season, with 13 sacks and 27 tackles for a loss.

Clemson's defense is also holding teams to just 4.3 yards a snap and only giving up 2.3 yards per carry.

Additionally, opponents are completing a mere 50 percent of their passes and has allowed just one completion of 40-plus yards.

Expect a showdown, as King has completed passes of 75 yards, 47 yards, 40 yards and 31 yards in his first three games as a Hurricane.

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