Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4-0) vs Clemson Tigers (3-0, 1-0 ACC)
Where: Clemson Memorial Stadium at Frank Howard Field, Clemson, SC
Kickoff: 8:00 PM
Announcers: Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Heather Cox
For the third time in the past two seasons, the small town of Clemson, South Carolina will be the center of the college football world as ESPN’s College Gameday comes to broadcast live from Bowman Field, and ABC’s Saturday Night Primetime Game will be broadcasted from Death Valley as the Tigers square off with the Fighting Irish. With both teams undefeated, there are definitely playoff implications with this game. The two teams met in a home and home series in 1977 and 1979. In the first game, Notre Dame came away from Death Valley with a 21-17 victory. Clemson returned the favor in 1979 by earning a 16-10 win in South Bend at historic Notre Dame Stadium. The two teams meet this year due to Notre Dame’s new deal with the Atlantic Coast Conference. Notre Dame’s olympic sports teams are currently members of the conference, however the football team has continued its tradition of being an independent. In order for the olympic sports teams to be let into the conference, Notre Dame had to agree to have the football team play 5 ACC schools per season. Each of these games will be counted as a non-conference game for the ACC schools.
The Tigers come in off of a well deserved bye week that was preceded by a hard fought 20-17 victory over the Louisville Cardinals on a Thursday night in Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium. The Tigers also have wins over in-state foe Wofford and recently joined FBS member Appalachian State. Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson will be continuing to play without arguably his best target, Mike Williams, who suffered a scary neck injury after colliding with a goal post while making a touchdown grab against Wofford. Freshman Ray Ray McCloud has shown some flashes a talent, as has fellow freshman Deon Cain. The Tigers will continue to rely on Wayne Gallman as the work horse at running back. Gallman ran for 139 yards against the Cardinals, and may be a big key for Saturday’s game
The Irish leveled the UMass Minutement 62-27 last week en route to a 4-0 start. The Irish also have wins over Texas, Virginia, and Georgia Tech. With the injury to quarterback Malik Zaire, the Irish are being led by sophomore Deshone Kizer. Kizer is a sizable quarterback at six foot, four inches and two hundred and thirty pounds. The Tigers will have to make good, solid tackles in order to get this big fellow down to the ground. Will Fuller and other Notre Dame players have made comments through social media that have implied some cockiness and readiness for this game. Clemson safety Jaylon Kearse has taken notice, so best believe that the Clemson defensive backs will be ready for what the Irish bring.