2012 Virginia Tech Football: Clemson Game Guide

Streeter Lecka - Getty Images

Virginia Tech Hokies (4-3, 2-1) vs. Clemson Tigers (5-1, 2-1)

Time: 12 p.m. EDT
Date: Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012
Place: Clemson, Sc.
Stadium: Clemson Memorial Stadium
(Cap: 81,500, Open: 1942, Field: Grass)
TV: ABC
Radio: VT IMG, XM 85, Sirius 85
Spread: Virginia Tech +8.5
Weather: High of 71, 0% Chance of Rain

Clemson: The Tigers are coming off a bye week. They have won two in a row since their 49-37 loss at Florida State on Sept. 22. In their last game, the Tigers beat the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at home 47-31. The Tigers struck first in that game early on with a 1-yard Tajh Boyd rushing touchdown midway through the first quarter, but Georgia Tech quickly tied it on a Tevin Washington touchdown pass (that's correct, you read that right). Then after a Chandler Catanzaro field goal made it a 10-7 Clemson lead, the Yellow Jackets scored again on an Orwin Smith 13-yard run, making it 14-10 in favor of the visitors after one quarter. Clemson opened up the second quarter by scoring a 2-yard Roderick McDowell run and another Cantanzaro field goal, pushing their lead to 20-14. The Yellow Jackets then responded with a 1-yard Tevin Washington run, regaining the lead momentarily, 21-20. Then DeAndre Hopkins took a Tajh Boyd pass 58 yards for a score to make it 27-21 at half in favor of Clemson. The Yellow Jackets regained the lead four minutes into the third on another Washington run to make it 28-27, a score that would hold until Clemson added another Catanzaro field goal with a minute left in the quarter giving them a 30-28 advantage. David Scully added on a field goal for the Yellow Jackets just two minutes into the fourth to make it 31-30 in favor of the visitors, but from that point on it was all Clemson, scoring the last 17 points of the game.

Trends: The Hokies lost both meetings with Clemson last year, a 23-3 loss at home to the Tigers and a 38-10 drubbing in the ACC Championship Game. In the first game, the Hokies amounted only 258 yards of total offense. Logan Thomas was under repeated pressure and was sacked four times. He threw an interception and David Wilson coughed up a fumble which added to the woes. Tech was also an abysmal 4-of-16 on 3rd downs and 0-of-1 on 4th down. In the ACC Championship Game, the Hokies fumbled on their first play from scrimmage, leading to a Clemson score. On their third possession of the game, the Hokies tied it up on a 45-yard Logan Thomas pass to D.J. Coles. The Tigers added a Catanzaro field goal on their first second half possession to make it 10-7. After the Hokies had stopped Clemson on 3rd down for the fourth time in six possessions to open the game, a controversial roughing the kicker penalty was assessed to the Hokies, as the replay clearly showed the ball being tipped by a Hokie defender before contact was made. Despite a review, the officials upheld the penalty, allowing Clemson to run a couple of additional minutes off the clock (which would ultimately force the Hokies to have to try a field goal as time ran out) and halted the Hokies' momentum. From that point, the second half was all Clemson, capitalizing on injuries by torching the Virginia Tech secondary. Tech was unable to establish ACC Player of the Year David Wilson at all in the game (who complained about his touches after), and two Logan Thomas interceptions late helped to seal the deal. Prior to those two games, the Hokies were 2-0 against Clemson as ACC members and had won five in a row in the series dating back to 1998.

History Lesson: The following information is all provided via Hokiesports.com. Virginia Tech has played Clemson a total of 32 times, 10 times under Frank Beamer. Beamer holds an 5-5 record against the Tigers, including a 0-2 record against fourth-year Tiger head coach Dabo Swinney. The Tigers hold an 19-12-1 advantage over the Hokies all-time. The series dates back to 1900, when Clemson beat the Hokies 12-5 in Charlotte, Nc. The Hokies have played at Clemson 15 times, compiling a 6-8-1 record and a 4-7 record at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Tech is 3-7 against Clemson when the Tigers are ranked. The Hokies have won three of their last four at Clemson.

What to Expect

  • The Tigers run primarily out of the Spread formation offensively
  • Defensively the Tigers run a 4-3 scheme.
  • Clemson ranks No. 13 nationally in total offense with 526 yards per game.
  • The Tigers rank No. 11 in passing offense with 325 yards per game.
  • Clemson also ranks No. 32 nationally in rushing offense, with 201 yards per game.
  • The Tigers rank No. 100 nationally in total defense, giving up 446 yards per game. They are also No. 70 in the nation in scoring defense, giving up 27.3 points per game.
  • The Tigers rank No. 102 nationally in rushing defense, giving up 203 yards per game, and No. 80 in passing defense, giving up just under 243 yards per game.
  • Clemson is led on the ground by senior Andre Ellington with 597 yards and 6 TD's.
  • So far Clemson junior wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is making a case for conference player of the year, pulling down 49 receptions for 777 yards and 8 TD's through six games.

Hokies Win If: They continue playing the way they did in the second half against Duke. That and if Clemson's entire team breaks a mirror walking under a ladder chasing a black cat.

Clemson Win If: They don't beat themselves and take the Hokies seriously.

Dot-dot-dots: Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd is 10-0 at home as a starter. With a win Saturday, Frank Beamer would move into sole possession of seventh place all-time in wins among FBS coaches with 256, passing former Nebraska head man Tom Osborne. The average score in the series is a 17-14 Clemson advantage. Both teams have been shutout in the series, as there was a 0-0 tie between the teams in 1906. Clemson freshman and combat veteran Daniel Rodriguez, made famous by his workout tapes in hopes of walking on to his childhood favorite Virginia Tech team, will be carrying the American flag for Clemson's Military Appreciation Day.

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