Clemson Versus Miami: Preview and Prediction

Miami, FL

Dabo Swinney takes his Clemson Tigers (4-2, 2-2) into balmy south Florida in search of another ACC win and more momentum heading into the second half of the 2023 season. The ’23 Tigers are fresh off a bye week and seemingly healthiest they have been since the start of the season. With key starters Antonio Williams and Nate Wiggins both expected back in the line up. Expect this team to be focused and well prepared as they take on a Miami (4-2, 0-2) team reeling after two consecutive ACC losses. Mario Cristobal’s squad has flashed at times and with QB Tyler Van Dyke having a very productive first half of the season, the Cane’s are looking to right the ship and find their first conference win, Standing in their way is a Clemson squad that has two losses inside the ACC and overall and find themselves clawing for respect and relevance inside the conference and nationally. The Tigers have a streak of 13 straight 10 plus win seasons and sit just outside the top25 and look to find a path to keep the trend heading upward.

The Hurricane’s come into this match up averaging 37 points a game and 500 yards per game, and a defense that only allows 19 point per game. That stat a little skewed as three of these the Cane’s 4 victories came over less than comparable competition (Miami OH, Bethune-Cookman, Temple). The Miami defense is very athletic and active and has garnered 16 sacks on the season and six interceptions on the season. Van Dyke has accumulated 1721 yards through the air and 16 TD’s but has found the tendency to turn the ball over in critical times. Regardless the Cane’s signal caller has a savvy wide out in Xavier Restrepo (574 receiving yards) that is the go-to for Cristobal’s offense . On the ground the Miami team counts on Henry Parrish Jr (454 yards).

The Tigers will need to continue to progress as this defense is starting to gel as a unit. Clemson is allowing 19.3 points a game and has 5 interceptions 6 fumbles recovered and 15 sacks on the season through six games. The loss of Wiggins was a chance for the defense to build depth and experience in the defensive backfield. And in Wiggins absence Toriano Pride Jr. and Jaedyn Lukus both performed well. If Clemson can again keep consistent pressure from the front 4 and keep the Cane’s quarterback under stress this won’t allow Miami wide receivers time to get into and finish timing routes. A lot of the Cane’s big plays have come from broken plays that allow the receivers time to “Scatter”. If you can get Van Dyke to commit to a route and not let this group find open areas in between zones. You can do what others have not and that is keep this pass game contained. The Tigers will need a big game from two freshman on the defensive line in TJ Parker and Peter Woods, both have shined in their first college season. Clemson, if they can stay true to form so far this season as one of the best teams in the nation against the run ranked 4th and 14th in pass defense efficiency. Will be able to stymy a very efficient group in Van Dyke and crew. But edge pressure is key keeping a collapsing pocket in play to make Van Dyke as uncomfortable as possible.

The Clemson offense and QB Cade Klubnik also need to pick it back up as prior to the Wake Forest game all signs were trending upward. The Deacons’ managed to stop the Tigers and forced a defensive ball possession game the Tigers ultimately won. But the numerous 3rd downs and finding themselves behind the chains early in drives caused many a missed third down chances. This game the Tigers have to be crisp along the offensive line against a very active and disruptive front four the Cane’s bring into this matchup. Getting the run game established early will be a necessity for Garrett Riley’s bunch. And can the Tigers find a downfield threat? Adam Randall where are you? Can the Clemson pass game affect the deep middle zone and find success with chunk plays? These are questions coming off the bye week that a lot of Tiger fans are seeking answers to. No better time to uncork a over the top zone stretching pass game than now. Cade Klubnik was quoted recently as wanting to “let it go” more often than so far this season.

With all these factors taken into factor and a Clemson team fresh off a bye and healthy going against a talented but tired and beat up bunch on 2 game skid. I think Clemson will be better prepared and able to hold the potent Miami offense to well under its season average. Look for the Tigers to hold the Cane’s to 375 total yards or less and well beneath Miami season averages. And a Clemson offense that is primed to take a step ahead with more weapons available a fresh off the bye, ready to prove they are explosive and can create big plays. Tigers will win this one and continue towards the goal of winning out the rest of the ’23 regular season. n

the PICK:

Clemson 28 Miami 21

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