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THE COLUMN: Virginia vs. Clemson Complete Preview

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TIME: 7:30 PM (EST)

DATE: December 7th, 2019

LOCATION: Bank of America Stadium | Charlotte, NC

HOW TO WATCH: ABC


The Lowdown

It’s a good year to be a Hoo. The men’s basketball program obviously won it all earlier this year and, last week, the football program shook a 15-year monkey off its back after finally beating Tech 39-30. It’s a huge step for Bronco Mendenhall who has posted a better record every year since he took the job in Charlottesville. A (hopefully) rejuvenated competitive rivalry with Tech signals for an era of sustained success at Virginia.

It’s fitting that a win that big and that symbolic had huge implications for the Hoos. They secured the ACC Coastal Division for the first time, became ranked at No. 23, and punched their ticket to the ACC Championship game. Now staring the team in the face are the Clemson Tigers.

Yikes.

A lot has been talked about the Tigers this year over the capabilities of Trevor Lawrence and their often-scrutinized ACC schedule. Make no mistake though, this Clemson team is good. Really good. They are ranked No. 1 in scoring defense, No. 4 in scoring offense, No. 2 in yards defended, and No. 3 in offensive yards. With another stacked roster, Dabo Swinney will look to lead his team to back-to-back National Championships.

Virginia currently is a 28.5 underdog to Clemson. It will most likely take a heroic effort from Bryce Perkins along with some fortuitous turnovers and big plays for the Cavaliers to be competitive in this matchup. Anything is possible though and this would be a historic upset, and one that would knock Clemson out of the CFP, if Virginia were to win. All eyes are on Saturday to see if the Hoos can ride the wave and pull off back-to-back program defining wins.


The Statistics

from Danny Neckel

It’s not that UVa is bad, it’s that Clemson is elite

Category UVA Category Clemson
Category UVA Category Clemson
Scoring Offense 32nd (33.7) Scoring Defense 1st (10.1)
Scoring Defense 41st (23.5) Scoring Offense 4th (45.3)
Yards Offense 82nd (390.3) Yards Defense 2nd (232.8)
Yards Defense 27th (336.5) Yards Offense 3rd (541.8)
Passing Offense 38th (261.8) Passing Defense 1st (126.5)
Passing Defense 51st (213.3) Passing Offense 25th (285.3)

Hoo’s Hoo?

Virginia Cavaliers

Bryce Perkins, QB

Bryce Perkins has cemented himself in Virginia football history. Last week, the Cavaliers needed him to show up big time - and he did. Out of Virginia’s 494 total yards, Perkins accounted for 475 of them. He ran for a career best 164 yards in the game and ripped off two huge touchdown runs in the first quarter that set the tone for the Cavaliers. This week, he’ll get to show off his abilities against the best of the best.

Virginia Cavaliers

Noah Taylor, LB

Many positive things can be said of the versatile Virginia linebackers. Second-year Noah Taylor deserves extra recognition for his efforts against Tech where he racked up two interceptions, six tackles, and one sack. Taylor has shown his natural ability to be a dynamic linebacker who can cause havoc for opposing offenses. He is second on the team in sacks, with 6.5, and will be a big disruptor against Clemson.

Virginia Cavaliers

Hasise Dubois, WR

Going into this year, we knew that fourth-year Hasise Dubois would most likely be the No. 1 wide receiver. His steadiness all-year long has been paramount for Virginia’s passing offense. Last week, Dubois hauled in 139 on four receptions. He has 849 receiving yards on the season and will have the test-of-all-tests against the No. 1 passing defense.


Clemson Tigers

Trevor Lawrence, QB

Clemson’s sophomore quarterback is one of the most scrutinized players in college football - and not just because of his hair. He ranks third in the ACC in passing yards behind UNC’s Sam Howell and Bryce Perkins. However, Clemson only needs Lawrence to complement the team’s other ubertalented offensive players. He’s mostly done that and has thrown 16 touchdowns and zero interceptions in the Tigers’ last five matchups.

Clemson Tigers

Travis Etienne, RB

Junior running back Travis Etienne is now the ACC all-time leader in career rushing touchdowns (53) and career total touchdowns (57). The likely NFL Draft first-round pick has broken all sorts of records for Clemson and is their offense’s biggest threat. While tenth in the country in rushing yards (1,386), Etienne has accomplished that in only 168 carries compared to the 309 attempts of the No. 1 ranked Chuba Hubbard.

Clemson Tigers

Isaiah Simmons, LB

Another likely NFL Draft first-round pick for the Tigers is Isaiah Simmons. The junior linebacker leads the team in total tackles (84) and sacks (6). Originally recruited as a safety, Simmons has shifted to become an extremely dynamic linebacker/hybrid safety similar to the SABRE position that UVa has. He has elite ability to put pressure on the quarterback but also and drop back to provide pass defense. Look for Simmons to be all over the field on Saturday.


Poll

Virginia beats Clemson on the condition that you are stuck in room with snakes and spiders during the game, would you do it?

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    Yes, sacrifice me.
    (139 votes)
  • 42%
    Nah, sorry.
    (102 votes)
241 votes total Vote Now

#tbt

November 24th 1956 | Clemson won 7-0