CLEMSON, S.C. (WIS) - There’s no place like home.
Fresh off their big win to open the season against Wake Forest, Clemson will play their first home game of the season when they welcome The Citadel to Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
Historically, this series is one the Tigers have dominated over the years, including Clemson’s 61-3 win back in 2017. In all, the Tigers have won the last 16 meetings against the Bulldogs and leads the series 32-5-1. The last time The Citadel chalked up a win against Clemson was 1931. With that in mind, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney understands that letting their foot off the pedal against the Bulldogs won’t be an option.
“I know and our team knows that we’re going to get everybody’s best shot. So, it really doesn’t matter who we play,” he said. “We’ve just got to prepare and play to our standard.”
So far, the Tigers have taken steps in that direction. Behind record-setting performances by Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne, the Tigers beat Wake Forest 37-13. With Lawrence passing for 351 yards and accounting for three touchdowns, the junior quarterback began his final year with the Tigers by picking up the ACC’s first Quarterback of the Week award. It’s pretty hard to ask the early favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s NFL Draft to build on such a solid performance, but that’s what he’ll aim to do along with his teammates on offense.
Defensively, the Tigers will look to continue to be stingy against the opposing offense. Allowing just one touchdown against the Demon Deacons a week ago, the Tigers hope to keep the Bulldogs off the scoreboard for as long as possible.
To do that, they’ll have to stifle The Citadel’s offense. The Bulldogs are hoping to improve after last week’s 27-6 loss to South Florida. The Bulldogs were held to 284 yards of total offense and two first-half field goals. Needless to say, Brent Thompson’s squad will be looking to do more damage than that this time around with their triple-option attack.
“With an offense like this, it’s all about doing your job,” Clemson linebacker James Skalski said. “It’s really assignment football. It’s about not doing too much, not trying to make plays you’re not supposed to make, it’s being very precise and detailed with how you fit things.”
One other thing that will differ from last week is the atmosphere. For the first time this season, the Tigers will play in front of fans as Clemson will play in front of about 19,000 fans in their home opener, which will be a welcome sight for players.
“I’m very excited to hear the road of the crowd,” Skalski said. “It was a little weird out there [last week]. You’d make a play and you can only hear your guys and you don’t hear anything else. It was just like practice. It was weird, but I’m really excited to hear the roar of the crowd and have that little bit of extra juice.”
Clemson hosts The Citadel at 4 p.m. Saturday. The game can be seen on the ACC Network.