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Clemson Football

Keys to Victory: No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 7 Miami

October 10, 2020

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Each week we give you a look at the history of the game, three keys to success, plus Swanny’s prediction.

The Match-Up:

#1 Clemson (3-0 overall, 2-0 ACC) vs. #7 Miami (3-0 overall, 2-0 ACC)

Clemson vs. Miami 2017 (ACC Championship)

Series History:

Overall: Clemson trails 5-6
at Clemson: Clemson trails 0-2
at Miami: Clemson leads 4-3
Neutral: Tied 1-1
Last Meeting: Clemson won 38-3 (Dec. 2, 2017)
Last Miami win: 30-21 (2010)
Streak: Clemson has won 2 straight in the series




Chasing History:

Etienne > Tebow: Defenses around the country have had their hands full with Clemson running back Travis Etienne since his arrival on the college football scene in 2017. As a freshman, Etienne had a rushing touchdown in that 2017 game against Miami, one of 38 career games in which he has scored a touchdown either by rush or reception.

Etienne is presently tied with Florida's Tim Tebow and Louisiana Tech's Kenneth Dixon for the FBS record for most career games scoring a touchdown, a record he can hold outright with another touchdown this week.

Courtesy of ACC Media Portal
Travis Etienne would set a new NCAA record for games scoring if he finds the endzone against Miami this weekend.


Stat of the Week:

ESPN’s College GameDay is in town for tonight’s contest. This is the 17th time since the start of the 2015 season Clemson has played at the site of College GameDay; the most appearances for any team. The Tigers haven’t lost a regular-season game with GameDay in attendance since the 2013 Florida State game.

Lee Corso has picked Clemson 11 times and is 9-2 with his headgear picks, including eight straight wins. He has picked against Clemson 12 times and is 5-7 with those 12 picks.

Corso picked against the Tigers in both the CFP Semifinal vs Ohio State and CFP Championship against LSU last season. 

Today, Corso looked Miami’s mascot Sebastian in the eyes and picked the Tigers to win.


Key 1: Win the Trenches

Tonight’s game features two defenses that have been among the nation's most productive behind the line of scrimmage in recent years. Since 2016, Clemson and Miami rank No. 1 and No. 2 in the country, respectively, in both sacks and tackles for loss. 

Winning upfront will be a huge part of this evening’s outcome. The Tigers replaced four players on the offensive line this season and there is no doubt that this is their biggest test so far.

As for Clemson’s defensive front, keep your eyes on No. 11 (Bresee) and No. 98 (Murphy), two true freshmen who can disrupt things for Miami’s fast-paced offense.

Key 2: Play Tight

Miami tight end Brevin Jordan will present another formidable task for the Tigers on Saturday. Last weekend, Clemson did s nice job slowing down UVA’s lengthy tight end and wideout combo. The Hurricanes' tight end will play a role in this game, and you might argue that he has become D’Eriq King’s favorite target. 

The 6’3, 245-pound athlete as 15 receptions for 212 yards and three touchdowns already. Clemson’s “main” tight ends last season, in fifteen games, only tallied 25 receptions for 234 yards and no touchdowns. That should give you an idea of the emphasis that Miami is placing on Jordan in the passing game. 

Key 3: Slow Cam’Ron Harris

Miami running back Cam’Ron Harris has been a weapon for the Hurricanes this season and his speed is an issue. He’s got the top-end speed that’s as good as anyone the Tigers will face this season. 

With King’s ability to keep the Tiger defensive front honest, Harris has a chance to face several one-on-one situations against Clemson’s linebackers. If Harris wins the majority of those battles, the Tigers will surely give up plenty of yardage tonight. 

That being said, this isn’t FSU or Louisville’s defense and my hunch is that Clemson’s personnel will win the day on the defensive side of the ball.


Last weekend’s 41-23 win over UVA didn’t thrill a portion of the fan base. The debate about whether fans are spoiled or the Tigers were a bit complacent can be argued, but the reality is that this team has a chance to do something that’s only been done five times in the history of the program tomorrow night, win the first four games of a season by that 18 points or more, joining 1900, 1929, 1940 and 2000 teams in pulling off the feat.

Clemson has never beaten Miami in Death Valley, trailing 0-2 in the series at home and will attempt to improve to 22-3 against AP Top 25 teams since 2015. At 21-3 in those games presently, Clemson's 87.5 percent winning percentage against AP-ranked opponents in that time frame is the best in the country, ahead of Ohio State (84.0) and Alabama (83.3).

We expect the Hurricanes will challenge Clemson early, but the Tigers’ overall depth takes control as the close in on the half. D’Eriq King is will pose a threat, but like Jamie Newman and Bryce Perkins found, Brent Venables’ defense is a different monster.

The Tigers will pick up their school-record 25th consecutive home win by a decent margin.

Swanny’s Prediction: 38-20 Clemson

Date 2020 Schedule Predictions Swanny’s Prediction Actual Score
9-12-2020 No. 1 Clemson at Wake Forest 55-17 Clemson 37-13 Clemson
9-19-2020 No. 1 Clemson vs. The Citadel 52-6 Clemson 49-0 Clemson
10-3-2020 No. 1 Clemson vs. Virginia 47-17 Clemson 41-23 Clemson
10-10-2020 No. 1 Clemson vs. Miami 38-20 Clemson ???


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Keys to Victory: No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 7 Miami

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