College Football

more stats

(9) Clemson (7-1) at Virginia (2-6)



Saturday, November 2, 3:30 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Scott Haynes, Senior College Football Editor

GAME NOTES: The ninth-ranked Clemson Tigers continue their run through the ACC, as they invade Charlottesville this weekend for a conference showdown with the Virginia Cavaliers.

Dabo Swinney's Tigers got back on track following a rout at the hands of Florida State two weeks ago, by dispatching Maryland in College Park this past weekend, 40-27. With the win, Clemson moved to 7-1 on the season and 5-1 in the ACC. The team sits a game behind Florida State (in the loss column) in the Atlantic Division standings heading into November action.

Mike London's Cavaliers are at the opposite end of the ACC spectrum, at 2-6 overall and 0-4 in league play. Virginia sits in the basement in the Coastal Division and is tied with NC State (0-4) as the only winless teams in conference play. The Cavs haven't posted a victory since Sept. 21 against VMI (49-0). The team has lost five straight games since, including a 35-25 setback to Georgia Tech last weekend.

Clemson holds a 37-8-1 advantage in the all-time series with Virginia, including a 16-5 mark in games played in Charlottesville. However, these two teams have split the last six meetings. The last meeting came in 2009, a 34-21 win by Clemson.

After a disappointing performance against the Seminoles, Clemson got back to what it does best, as the Tigers rolled up 551 yards of total offense against the Terrapins. The team got a great effort from tailback Roderick McDowell, who rushed for 161 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Quarterback Tahj Boyd showed no ill-effects from the debacle against FSU, completing 28-of-41 passes, for 304 yards and one TD, while rushing for another score.

Boyd's Heisman campaign got a little off track against Florida State, but the senior has had a strong showing overall, completing 63.9 percent of his throws, for 2,243 yards, with 17 TDs against just five interceptions.

All-American Sammy Watkins, who hauled in 14 balls, for 163 yards against Maryland, has returned to form in 2013, leading the team in receptions (58), receiving yards (813) and TD catches (5).

McDowell hasn't been a workhorse all season long, but certainly has the potential to do so, leading the team with 607 yards (5.1 ypc).

Swinney still sees room for improvement offensively.

"I know everybody wants us to be up 35-0 in the first quarter of every game, but that's not really realistic," Swinney said. "It's a four-quarter game, especially on the road and you've got good players on the other team with a lot of pride, as well. The biggest issue that I have with us offensively is the turnovers."

Clemson's defense, with the exception of the FSU game, has played extremely well. The Tigers have been particularly strong in terms of rushing the passer with 29 sacks.

Leading the charge in that regard is defensive end Vic Beasley (29 tackles), who has registered more than half his tackles behind the line of scrimmage (15 TFL), including 10 sacks. Linebackers Stephone Anthony (team-high 80 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 4.0 sacks) and Spencer Shuey (78 tackles, 4.0 TFL) have been extremely active playmakers as well.

Despite a career day from quarterback David Watford (376 yards, two TDs), the Cavaliers couldn't slow down the Yellow Jackets and dropped their fifth straight game. Watford wasn't the only player to enjoy great success, as wideouts Darius Jennings and Tim Smith combined for 23 catches, 270 yards and two TDs.

"I was pleased that David had a career day in terms of yardage and the number of passes," said London. "I was pleased that Tim Smith also had a career day, and Darius Jennings. Those are two wide receivers that if you remember we talked about making some changes there because of the lack of production, and ever since those two young men have taken it personal and have worked hard in practice, and the game was representative of the type of way they've been practicing. It was good to see that."

The offensive eruption for Virginia was certainly not the norm, as the team has been mediocre at best in that regard. The team averages a healthy 162.6 yards per game on the ground, but a more modest 219.9 through the air.

Watford has completed 60.8 percent of his passes, for 1,715 yards, but he has a disturbing TD-to-INT ration at 7-to-9. The team's top offensive weapon has been tailback Kevin Parks, who has rushed for 614 yards on the season with nine TDs, while ranking second on the team in catches (29) for 285 yards and one more score.

Virginia has struggled to stop the run this season and it was never more evident than last week, as Georgia Tech churned out 394 yards on the ground, with three players going over 100 yards on the day. The horrific effort now leaves the team with a rush defense that yields 182.0 yards per game on 4.6 yards per carry. The pass defense however, has been up to the task, with foes netting just 211.8 yards per game through the air.

Linebacker Henry Coley currently leads the team in tackles with 64 stops, with 7.5 TFL and one sack. Strong safety Anthony Harris has been the most opportunistic defender for Virginia, ranking second in tackles (62), with a team-high five interceptions. Defensive end Eli Harold (36 tackles) has made an impact upfield, with 8.0 TFL and a team-high 5.0 sacks.

The Cavaliers are finding ways to lose games at this point. There is no room for error for Clemson going forward, so expect the Tigers to be focused on the task at hand, and keep Virginia at arm's length the entire game.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Clemson 37, Virginia 17

10/30 10:40:12 ET

Other Stories

  • PGA: RBC Heritage

    Today at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: RBC Heritage

    Tomorrow at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Saturday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MLB: Atlanta Braves at NY Mets

    Tonight at 7:05 on 99.9 The Fan

  • MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox

    Tomorrow at 7:05 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
NOR 0
DUR 3
 
7:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
Final
CHC 1
CIN 4
Final
PIT 3
MIL 5
Final
WAS 3
STL 1
Final
CLE 2
TOR 3
Final
DET 6
ANA 11
Final
NYM 0
ATL 6
Final
BOS 4
BAL 8
Final
TAM 11
NYY 5
Final
MIA 8
SEA 4
Final
TEX 12
CWS 0
Final
KAN 5
MIN 0
Final
COL 12
PHI 1
Final
OAK 11
HOU 3
Final
LOS 2
ARI 4
Final
SDP 2
SFG 1
1:05pm Today
WAS
STL
1:05pm Today
CLE
TOR
1:08pm Today
DET
ANA
1:35pm Today
BOS
BAL
2:10pm Today
KAN
MIN
2:20pm Today
CHC
CIN
4:05pm Today
OAK
HOU
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
MIL
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
ATL
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
NYY
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
SEA
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
CWS
8:10pm Tonight
LOS
ARI
8:10pm Tonight
COL
PHI
8:40pm Tonight
SDP
SFG
12:30pm Today
TOR
BRK
3:30pm Today
LAC
GSW
7:00pm Tonight
IND
ATL
9:30pm Tonight
OKC
MEM
Final
TAM 1
MON 4
Final
BOS 0
DET 1
Final
ANA 3
DAL 2
3:00pm Today
STL
CHI
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
CLB
9:30pm Tonight
COL
MIN
Final
NOR 0
DUR 3
 
7:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR