The Clemson Tigers will collide with the Virginia Cavaliers in the ACC Championship game Saturday night from the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC. The #22 Virginia Cavaliers are ACC Coastal champions for the first time in program history. They enter the ACC title game riding a stellar four-game winning streak which included a big 39-30 home win against rival Virginia Tech last week.
The Hokies feature a strong passing game and a terrific defense. QB Bryce Perkins was outstanding down the final stretch. The Hokies title chances appeared bleak when they were 2-2 in ACC play after four games and their offense gelled nicely late in the season to finish 6-2 in conference action. Virginia climbed into the AP Top 25 this week, coming in at #22.
The #3 Clemson Tigers remain one of only three unbeaten teams in the country along with LSU and Ohio State. The Tigers have completely demolished their opposition this season and they eclipsed 50 points five times on the year which included a 59-7 win against Boston College. They concluded their regular season with a 38-3 victory against South Carolina. Clemson also features a dominant defense that held their last two opponents to only a field goal. This is the first meeting between these two schools since the 2013 season.
Virginia Targets First ACC Championship
The Virginia Cavaliers are peaking at the right time. They piled on the points in their current four-game winning streak to land them in their first ACC title game. Virginia needed to beat #24 Virginia Tech in their regular-season finale last week and prevailed with a big 39-30 home win.
Bryce Perkins is having a terrific season. He registered 311 passing yards against Virginia Tech in the regular-season finale. The senior QB surpassed 300 passing yards three times this season and has accrued 2949 passing yards with a 16:9 TD to INT ratio accompanied with a team-leading 687 rushing yards. If Perkins can scramble for yards on the ground it will go a long way in solving Clemson’s stifling defense.
Wayne Taulapapa is the Cavaliers #1 running back. The sophomore RB has only rushed a combined 21 times in his last three games and he has tallied 416 rushing yards on the year. The Cavaliers feature a deep receiving core led by Hasise Dubois. The senior WR has a tough matchup against this defense but he has the ability to find an open field. Dubois has made 55 receptions for 849 yards. The Cavaliers offense relies on their passing game for a good portion of their offense but will need to do some damage on the ground to have a chance.
The Hoos met w/media today to talk @ACCFootball Championship. Here's what @UVACoachBronco, @3_ToDaNeck, @mandy_alonso55 & @zzandier had to say on the O&B Report. #GoHoos ⚔️ vs. 🐅 pic.twitter.com/Vr2XSIvihk— Virginia Football (@UVAFootball) December 3, 2019
The Virginia defense wasn’t quite as sharp as their offense down the final stretch. They allowed 30 points in two out of their last four games. The Cavaliers are effectively limiting the run with a rush defense that ranks 27th while their pass defense is 57th overall. Bronco Mendenhall's team is playing the remainder of the season without their #1 cornerback in Bryce Hall which is a big loss. Virginia is currently averaging 33.7 points, placing them 34th in the country. They are allowing an average of 23.5 points, positioning them 42nd in the FBS.
Undefeated Clemson Looks to Make History
The Clemson Tigers can advance to the College Football Playoff for the fifth consecutive year with a win in this game. A victory will make Clemson the first program to win five consecutive conference championship games. The Tigers went a perfect 12-0 (8-0 in ACC play) this season and made it look easy.
Trevor Lawrence played some of his best football down the final stretch of the season. The sophomore QB has not thrown an interception in five straight games and connected on over 70% of his pass attempts in those five games. Lawrence has collected 2870 passing yards with a 30:8 TD to INT ratio on the season.
Watch for Travis Etienne in this one. The talented junior RB eclipsed 100 rushing yards in six out of his last seven games and has accumulated 1386 rushing yards on a dazzling average of 8.3 yards per attempt. He will be challenged by a very good Virginia rush defense in this one. Etienne has been recognized for his performance as he was awarded ACC Player of the Year on Wednesday. Tee Higgins should be able to resume his dominance against a mediocre pass defense. The junior WR has accumulated 900 receiving yards on the season.
The Tigers' vaunted defense is the best in the entire country. They have neutralized every single opponent this season, and as a result, they stand first in pass defense and 11th in the FBS against the run. They also force a ton of turnovers. Clemson is scoring an average of 45.2 points, good for fourth in the country. They are holding opponents to an FBS-best 10.1 points per game.
The Virginia Cavaliers are:
- 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 games after accumulating more than 280 passing yards in their previous game.
The top supporting trends found on covers.com are: The Clemson Tigers are:
- 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games in December.
- 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games against a team with a winning record.
- 14-3 ATS in their last 17 neutral site games.
- 17-5 ATS in their last 22 games overall.