Tuesday was the first of November, the start of championship season in the mind of Clemson coach Dabo Swinney. There’s an ACC division title, an ACC championship and a state title to contend for in the weeks ahead, and Swinney said his team is in a good place coming off their open week.
First up though, a trip to South Bend and a battle with Notre Dame. The 5th ranked Tigers are 8-0 with the nation’s longest winning streak at 14. A win Saturday would also complete an unbeaten road schedule for the Tigers who are 34-4 away from home since 2015, the best record in the nation in that span.
Clemson has won four of the six meetings with the Irish, the last coming in the 2020 ACC Championship Game which the Tigers won 34-10 to avenge a loss earlier in the season in South Bend. That loss ended the Tigers 36-game regular season winning streak. Notre Dame will go into Saturday’s game riding a 26-game regular season winning streak verses the ACC.
Some key comments from Dabo Swinney
- Off week was good for them after a 12-week grind, a good reset for everyone, it’s November 1 and good to be in the position they are in, they have fought all year to get to this point, far from perfect but found ways to win games, that’s a skill.
- Health-wise they are in a good spot going into this phase of the season.
- Notre Dame is a really good team, Freeman has done a good job of settling them in after two tough losses, shows the type of leader he is in managing his staff and his team.
- Notre Dame has been hurt by injuries, quarterback, receiver, tight end. The had tough losses early but they’ve settled down, won five of six, Pyne has settled in at quarterback, the have three grown men at running back.
- Notre Dame is a very physical group, all three running backs can beat you, they have a good group of receivers, they have a style of play and you’re either ready for it or you’re not, can’t give them a short field so can’t suffer turnovers.
- Notre Dame defense is very well coached, well positioned, a physical mind-set, do a nice job on the back end, three linebackers are outstanding, lots of experience. Excellent punter and kicker.
- You have to stop the run to have a chance against Notre Dame, they are creative with how they get to their power formations, they have a good package.
- Notre Dame has blocked a punt in three straight games and five on the season, they will be on high alert for that.
- Expects Uiagalelei to bounce back from a bad day vs Syracuse, he’s shown all season he can bounce back from a bad play or bad outing.
- Will have LB Barrett Carter back from concussion and that’s important because he’s a great player. He makes a big difference with the defense.
- The week off was good for Shipley, feels they’ve done a good job of managing his workload.
- Feels they have three elite backs in Shipley, Mafah and Pace and feels all three will play in the NFL one day.
- Xavier Thomas continues to come along with his foot and he is looking forward to him having a great November and post-season, same with Bresee.
- They have not played a complete game yet, they’ve had moments and quarters, next thing is for them to put it all together and play with precision.
- Very little interest in tonight’s CFP ranking release, doesn’t matter, wouldn’t matter unless they were telling them where they were playing in the postseason tonight.