Each season, Clemson schedules one of the FCS schools in South Carolina. Some years they play Furman, other years it is South Carolina State, and sometimes it is The Citadel. This year it’s Wofford, from just up the road in Spartanburg that will be coming to Death Valley.
Wofford returns 10 starters on offense and nine on defense from a 6-5 team. Last season the Terriers opened the season by going to Georgia Tech, where they lost 38-19 to the Orange Bowl champs. They run the triple option so Clemson’s defensive backs will be peeking into the backfield all day long.
The bar is set high this year at Clemson and the fans will be ready when the Tigers run down the hill on Saturday.
Wofford at Clemson
Kickoff: 12:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)
TV Channel: ACC Network/ESPN3
Three Things to Watch
1. The Health of Deshaun Watson
This will be Watson’s first real action since having his ACL repaired in December. Perhaps no team in America has its hopes tied to one player as much as Clemson does to Watson. The offense looked completely different with the freshman running the show last year and backup Nick Schuessler has very little game experience. Head coach Dabo Swinney will protect his star quarterback as much as he can, but we will see how well Watson moves around on Saturday.
2. Clemson's Offensive Line
The good news for Clemson is that the Tigers have three seniors starting on the offensive line. The bad news is that only one of those seniors is a true returning starter and the depth behind the first group is very young. Center Ryan Norton has played a lot of football in his career and will lead the unit. Watson’s blindside will be shielded by true freshman Mitch Hyatt. Protecting the quarterback was not an issue last year but blocking for Wayne Gallman and the other backs was. With skill talent aplenty, this is the biggest question mark for the Clemson offense.
3. The Defensive Front vs. Wofford’s Option
The questions that surround the offensive line hover over the defensive front seven as well. With the recent departure of defensive tackle D.J. Reader, Shaq Lawson is the only returning defensive lineman that was on last year’s two-deep. The linebacker unit was stung by the loss of Korrin Wiggins and Korie Rogers. There is more than enough talent here to contain Wofford. But on Oct. 10, Georgia Tech will bring its option attack to Clemson. If the Terriers can exploit certain areas even a little, Paul Johnson and the Yellow Jackets will take notice.
For a game that will not be competitive, there will be a lot to watch in this one. Watson’s every move will be dissected by Clemson fans as well as the Tigers' upcoming opponents. The play of both lines will also be analyzed closely. Mike Williams, Artavis Scott and Wayne Gallman are always entertaining, even if we only see them for the first half. Clemson will win going away, but defending the run and offensive line play for the Tigers will be areas of intense interest.
Prediction: Clemson 48, Wofford 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.