Analysis – Brice Perkins
The Clemson Tigers will face the Virginia Cavaliers on Saturday in Charlotte for the ACC Championship. With Virginia winning the coastal, it marks the 7th year in a row that a different coastal team has won the division. Every team in the Coastal DIvision has now won the division over the last 7 years. The problem is, the last four have lost to Clemson. When the Hoos pull into Charlotte on Saturday, look who is waiting for them…….the #3 ranked Clemson Tigers.
Virginia comes into the game riding a high after beating rival Virginia Tech, breaking a 15 game winning streak by the Hokies. The biggest takeaway from the UVA-VT game is Bryce Perkins. The man was a one man wrecking crew. Against Virginia Tech, the Hoos rushed for 181 yards. Perkins had 164 of those. He also passed for 311 yards. Virginia Tech just could not corral this guy no matter what they tried. Over the season, Perkins has rushed the ball 196 times for 687 yards. The rest of the team has carried the ball 191 times for 868 yards. The message here is: Stop Perkins, stop Virginia.
In Virginia’s three losses to ND, Louisville, and Miami, Perkins was 79-126 for 819 yards, 3 TDs and 3 INTs. He rushed the ball 46 times for 20 yards and was sacked 17 times. Note: in Virginia’s 9 wins, he rushed the ball 150 times for 667 yards. Is the blue print that obvious? Why yes, yes it is. During those three losses he was harrassed and the stat line also included 20 hurries from the pocket on passes.
Defensively, Clemson is ranked 2nd in the nation, behind Ohio State, total defense, giving up an average of 232.8 yards a game (Ohio State 232.3). Virginia is ranked 27th at 336.5. Offensively, Clemson is ranked 3rd, putting up 541.8 yards a game, while Virginia is ranked 82nd with 390.3. Perkins is responsible for 77% of those yards. Oh yes, Brent Venables already knows this.
All of these stats are fine, but they don’t tell the whole story. Virginia is a solid team and their 9-3 record is proof. After the game against our beloved rival, imagine the team celebration in the locker room, dancing to sandstorm, like they have done the last 6 years. Once the dancing is over, they get ready, get on the bus and head home. Envision Brent Venables sitting there on the bus, with iPad in hand, watching film and scheming for Brice Perkins. This man is a preparation animal. This Clemson team is on a mission, every person on this team is headed in the same direction. Virginia is coming into Charlotte knowing what’s in front of them. The last time they played a team from South Carolina, they had their way with them. Admit it, the last time they played a team from South Carolina, we were all UVA fans.