Clemson is looking to right the ship this weekend when the Tigers play host to Florida State (3-4, 2-2 ACC). According to the odds, Clemson is entering Saturday’s game as 9.5-point favorites against Florida State. Despite another lackluster performance at Pittsburgh (12-25, 128 yards), quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei is expected to start his eighth straight game. Uiagalelei may be helped this week with the return of receivers E.J. Williams and Joseph Ngata to the lineup. Both Williams and Ngata were unavailable in the 27-17 loss to the Panthers. But the backfield is a little thinner with the loss of leading rusher Kobe Pace to COVID protocols.
Former players Will Merritt (All-ACC OG at Clemson) and Carl “The Thrill” Hill (freshman All-American OLB at South Carolina) joined SportsTalk, Wednesday, to share their thoughts on where both the Tigers’ and Gamecocks’ seasons are heading, and preview Clemson’s upcoming matchup with Florida State.
Hill was bullish on the Seminoles’ chances of pulling the upset, Saturday, “There’s blood in the water. Their opponents know, if they’re going to get Clemson, you’d better get them now.”
Merritt remains confident the Tigers’ fortunes will turn, provided the offense can get out of neutral, “I’m not worried about the defense …. our defense is still good enough to win championships, but the questions about the offense are still lingering. How long has it been since we’ve seen a Clemson offense that doesn’t put up points?”
The numbers support Merritt’s analysis. Clemson remains among the nation’s leaders surrendering just 14.6 points/game, but ranks just 115th in scoring offense at 20.0 points/game.
With the Tigers offense scuffling last week at Pitt, head coach Dabo Swinney pulled Uiagalelei in favor of reserve quarterback Taisun Phommachanh. But Uiagaleleli returned in the fourth quarter and is listed atop the depth chart for Saturday. Merritt thinks the decision to stick with Uiagalelei is the right one, “The coaches are going to put the best player out there, and right now, that’s still D.J. (Uiagalelei).”