At 12:30 p.m. in their first home game of the season, Clemson (1-0) takes on Ball State, a pretty talented team in the MAC who’s coming off a victory against Eastern Michigan last week.
What to watch for today:
- The play of right tackle Shaq Anthony: After a solid performance last week versus Auburn’s stellar defensive line, starter Gifford Timothy was sidelined on the last play of the game (knee). Timothy is expected to be back next week for Furman, and Anthony may not face a future NFL defensive lineman today, but I’m interested to see how the true freshman does in his first game.
- Field goals: Clemson’s Chandler Catanzaro has kicked 12 straight, and Clemson’s record is 14. Catanzaro will be a strength of this team this year.
- Will Boyd rush as much? Last week’s 58 rushing yards in 19 attempts was a career record in both aspects. His mobility presents an advantage for the offense that Clemson lacked last year, but Boyd taking hits on the go is a risk/reward situation. Similarly, Ellington will hopefully have a less work load today. We saw last week how important it is to have him healthy.
- Last week Clemson suffered two costly illegal motion penalties. In my opinion, Boyd must be better at waiting for his receivers to get set before he brings them in motion. Most likely, that will eliminate those penalties.
- Dabo said earlier this week that he expects Kalen Davis (LG), Ryan Norton (C), and D.J. Reader (DT) to get more playing time going forward. I imagine today’s game is a great opportunity to throw those guys out there. Josh Watson (DE) could also see more playing time today as well.
- Total number of snaps: Clemson had 87 last week (13th most) and Ball State had 96 (3rd most). The defenses are going to get worn down, and as a result I think you’ll see quite a few plays that go for chunk yardage for both sides.
- 5 star DT from Georgia, Montravius Adams, who many believe will ultimately choose between Clemson and Auburn will be on hand today for the game. Also here will be number one player and Clemson commit Robert Nkemdiche. It’s a good thing for the Tigers to have Nkemdiche on campus so soon after his mother spoke harsh words about Clemson. Read about that here.
-Last week Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning threw for an impressive 267 yards on 41 attempts. How will Clemson’s secondary hold up? They struggled at times last week and proved vulnerable on the play action deep. That’s something to keep an eye on today.
- The continued improvement of the linebackers: Christian and Anthony impressed me last week. Today they should have an even easier time applying pressure, and we’ll find out if last week wasn’t just a fluke.