#6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at #12 Clemson Tigers
Memorial Stadium – Clemson, South Carolina
Saturday, October 3, 2015, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: ABC
Opening Line: Clemson -1 1/2
Current Line: Clemson -2 1/2 (-120)
Opening Total: 53
Current Total: 50
Current Money Line: Clemson -110 / Notre Dame -110
Current Money Line: Clemson -150 / Notre Dame +130
The #6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish travel to the #12 Clemson Tigers Saturday in a battle of undefeated teams and potential playoff contenders. This is only the third meeting ever between Clemson and Notre Dame. The two teams split a home and home in 1977 and 1979 with each winning at home.
There was some doubt as to whether this game was going to be played as scheduled as the featured Saturday night game on ABC. Torrential rainfall is expected because of Hurricane Joaquin off the mid-Atlantic Coast.
Notre Dame is 4-0 under coach Brian Kelly. The Fighting Irish have a road win at Virginia 34-27, plus home wins over Texas 38-3, Georgia Tech 30-22 and last week against Massachusetts 62-27. After a sluggish start Notre Dame only led 21-20 midway through the second. However, the Irish finally woke up and would score 41 straight points. UMass scored a late touchdown, but Notre Dame still covered 28.5 point spread and went over the 61.5 total by themselves. It was a little alarming that Notre Dame gave up 450 total yards to lowly UMass. The Fighting Irish are 3-1 ATS and the total is 2-2 this season.
Clemson is 3-0 under coach Dabo Swinney. The Tigers have home wins over Wofford 49-10 and Appalachian State 41-10, plus a road win two weeks ago against Louisville 20-17. Clemson was a 5 point favorite against Louisville and the total was 54. Neither team scored in the first quarter but Clemson would take a 7-3 lead into halftime. Clemson expanded the lead to 20-10 early in the fourth with a field goal. However, Lousiville would run back the ensuing kickoff to pull within 20-17. The Cardinals had two more possessions but they ended with a missed 38 yard field goal and an interception on a Hail Mary on the last play of the game. The Tigers are 2-1 ATS and the total is 1-2 this season.
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Notre Dame is outscoring teams 41-20 this season. Notre Dame is in the top 40 in both categories. The Fighting Irish average 531 yards per game on offense including 247 passing and 285 rushing yards. The Fighting Irish are in the top 15 nationally in both total and rushing offense. On defense, Notre Dame is allowing 342 yards per game including 204 passing and 138 rushing yards. Notre Dame has forced 3 turnovers and has 3 of their own. The Fighting Irish average 52 penalty yards per game and opponents average 43. Notre Dame is 22/51 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 20/63. The Irish have forced 8 sacks and allowed 5 of their own. Notre Dame is 26/32 scoring in the red zone with 20 touchdowns and opponents are 14/22 with 14 touchdowns. The Fighting Irish have a punt return for a touchdown.
Quarterback Malik Zaire threw for 428 yards with 4 touchdowns, and rushed 19 times for 103 yards. He is out for the season with a broken ankle. DeShone Kizer took over at QB for Zaire. Kizer has passed for 541 yard with 5 touchdowns and two interceptions, along with 59 rushing yards on 18 carries with a touchdown.
Running back C.J. Prosise has 74 carries for 600 yards and 6 touchdowns, along with 5 catches for 31 yards. Josh Adams has 23 carries for 199 yards and 3 touchdowns. Running back Tarean Folston is out for the season with a torn ACL
Receiver Will Fuller has 22 catches for 454 yards and 6 touchdowns. Chris Brown has 16 catches for 178 yards and 2 touchdowns. Amir Carlisle has 10 catches for 111 yards. Corey Robinson and Torii Hunter, Jr. will both get some targets as well. Tight end Durham Smythe is out for the season with knee and shoulder injuries. He had a touchdown catch.
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Clemson is outscoring teams 37-12 this season. The Tigers are #11 in points allowed and #34 in scoring. Clemson averages 442 yards per game on offense including 254 passing and 188 rushing yards. The Tigers have allowed 261 yards per game including 146 passing and 115 rushing yards. The Tigers are #11 in total and pass defense and #27 in rush defense Clemson has six turnovers and has forced six turnovers as well. The Tigers are averaging 61 penalty yards per game and opponents average 50. Clemson is 22/47 on third and fourth down conversions, and opponents are 11/48. Clemson has forced 7 sacks and allowed 6 this season. Clemson is 7/9 scoring in the red zone with 5 touchdowns. Opponents are 6/6 with three touchdowns. The Tigers have a pick six this season.
Quarterback DeShaun Watson has completed 74.4% of his passes for 641 yards with 7 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, along with 23 carries for 93 yards. Back-up Nick Schuessler has taken some snaps. He has completed 66.7% of his passes for 102 yards and an interception. Kelly Bryant has completed 4 of 5 passes for 19 yards, and also has 5 carries for 32 yards.
Running back Wayne Gallman has 53 carries for 310 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 2 catches. Zac Brooks has 8 carries for 53 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Artavis Scott has 20 catches for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns. Charone Peake has 7 catches for 110 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ray-Ray McCloud has 13 catches for 113 yards. Receiver Mike Williams has a touchdown catch but is out indefinitely with a scary looking neck injury suffered when he ran into the goal post on a touchdown catch against Appalachian State.
Notre Dame is 6-1 ATS in October, 5-1 after allowing 280 passing yards or more, 4-1 in non-conference games, overall, and on grass, 8-3 against teams with winning records, 2-8 after scoring 40 points or more, 1-4 in road games, and 2-9 after a straight up win of more than 20 points.
Clemson is 4-0 ATS at home, in non-conference games, and on grass, 4-1 after rushing for 200yards or more, overall, and after allowing 20 points or less, 8-3 against teams with winning records, 11-5 after allowing 100 rushing yards or less, 2-5 after allowing less than 275 total yards, 1-5 after failing to cover, and 1-6 in October.
Notre Dame has a lot of injuries to key players but they keep winning. Death Valley is a tough place to play though and I think Clemson wins a tough low scoring game.