“(S)aturday (N)ight (L)ights”

Saturday Spotlight

(1) Clemson Tigers at (4) Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Clemson: It’s been quite the week. First, Trevor Lawrence, unfortunately, tested positive for COVID-19. I wish him the absolute best in his recovery. Switching gears, they still had a game to play against the Boston College Eagles which people thought would be another cakewalk. It was far from one. I think everyone thought we were about to see one of the biggest upsets of the year. Clemson at one point was down by 15 points. Then came the comeback. I was happy to see them receive a challenge for once. Backup quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei handled his business filling in for Trevor. This is no disrespect to D.J. whatsoever. He can win you games, Trevor wins you championships. Look where they’ve been since he became the starting quarterback. They win it all in 2018 and get back to a title game a year later. Tonight, they’ll be in South Bend.

Notre Dame: Sometimes, I can’t figure them out. They have games in which they blow their competition away and then they have moments where they play down to their opponents. You’re not wrong to say they’re a hit or miss group. The last two weeks, however, they’ve handled their business with dominating wins against Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech. Most importantly, the Irish stayed focused on who was in front of them. I remember watching their opener this year earlier in the season and my one takeaway was how quickly they moved as a defense. The verdict is still out on Ian Book. He has a 26-3 record as the starting quarterback but seems to struggle against top teams. Tonight, they will play their biggest game in recent memory with the ACC’s best team in town.

Clemson X-Factor: Frank Ladson Jr– Someone needed to step up for this receiving group. That’s been Frank. Whether you need him to run the underneath route or get down the field vertically, he does it. Frank also moves well after the catch. Notre Dame will look to lock up Etienne, Rodgers, and Cornell Powell.

Notre Dame X-Factor: Daelin Hayes– The beautiful thing about being an edge rusher is you can still affect the play even if you don’t record a sack. I see Daelin all over the place swarming to get to the football. He’s solid in the run and pass coverage. I can’t wait to see what he does in this game.

Final Thoughts: The hype surrounding this game is down some without Trevor. However, it’s still number one against number four. What an opportunity for Notre Dame to show they belong in the elite conversation. All Clemson needs is for D.J. Uiagalelei to be himself. Stay within your box. Can the Irish limit Travis Etienne? He reminds me a lot of Alvin Kamara. Also, make D.J. beat you from the pocket.

Prediction: Clemson 31 Notre Dame 24

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