In its third straight game against teams from Alabama, Clemson will host the Trojans of Troy this Saturday in Death Valley. The Tigers come into the contest at 1-0, fighting until the bitter end to defeat Auburn in the opener.
Troy is looking to improve upon last season’s 4-8 record. The Trojans are off to a nice start following an easy 57-17 victory over FCS member Austin Peay.
The two teams have only met up once with Clemson winning 43-19 back in 2011.
Troy at Clemson
Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 10 at 12:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ACC Network/Watch ESPN
Spread: Clemson -36
Three Things to Watch
1. Clemson Pass Rush
Troy had more than 300 yards passing and rushing against Austin Peay. Obviously, that won’t happen this week. Clemson’s bigger, more athletic front should be able to contain a running game that ranked 118th in the FBS last year. Troy’s only hope of generating any offense will be with quarterback Brandon Silvers throwing the ball. But even that will be difficult if Carlos Watkins, Christian Wilkins, and Dexter Lawrence are in his face all afternoon.
2. Spreading the Wealth Offensively
Deshaun Watson targeted Mike Williams a lot against Auburn and with good reason. The junior wide receiver was getting open all night long. Now it is time to get others involved. Tight end Jordan Leggett did not catch a pass last Saturday. Expect that to change. Hunter Renfrow and Artavis Scott should have their moments, too. And in the second half, look for the reserves to get plenty of opportunities.
3. Emotional Homecoming
This will be Clemson’s first game at Memorial Stadium since defeating Wake Forest on Nov. 21. Obviously a lot has happened since then, and everyone in orange will be sky high, still riding the wave of all the team accomplished in 2015. It will be loud and raucous when the Tigers make the trip to the top of the hill and will continue until the game is in hand. As long as the Dabo Swinney’s charges are able to channel their emotions in a proper way, that shouldn’t take long.
Troy has 14 starters back from last year and could be one of the more improved Group of Five teams, but the Trojans’ season really starts next week at Southern Miss. This week, Troy is to Clemson what poor Austin Peay was to the Trojans last week. Clemson will establish the run with Wayne Gallman and then open things up and put this away early. The Tigers didn’t have many explosive plays last week but they will against Troy. Clemson gets to 2-0 in a very big way.
Prediction: Clemson 52, Troy 10
— Written by Jon Kinne, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a college football fanatic. Kinne has been writing about recruiting for the Irish Sports Daily for 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.