Clemson’s senior class looks to make historic mark at Death Valley

Clemson’s senior class looks to make historic mark at Death Valley
Clemson's Amari Rodgers rushes in overtime in the No. 1 Clemson vs. No 4. Notre Dame matchup inside Notre Dame Stadium. (Source: Notre Dame Athletics)

CLEMSON, S.C. (WIS) - Clemson’s senior class roars down the hill Saturday chasing history.

They can become the first Clemson class to go undefeated in Death Valley since the stadium opened in 1942.

“I hate losing,” said Clemson senior wide receiver Amari Rodgers. “It’s definitely something I take pride in, especially protecting our home stadium in Death Valley.”

How fitting it would be for this senior group to achieve this milestone against Pittsburgh. Pitt is the last visiting team to win inside Memorial Stadium. It was an upset victory back in 2016, against the eventual national champions.

If Clemson has title aspirations in 2020, they’ll need a victory over the Panthers. Head coach Dabo Swinney sees Pitts as a tough out. The Panthers rank first nationally in tackles for loss and second in sacks.

“They really play the game the way I think it should be played,” said Swinney. “Physical, tough, great effort and aggressiveness, that’s how they play. I think that’s a reflection of Pat (Narduzzi). He does a great job with them in getting them ready. We will have our hands full with this group.”

This weekend, Trevor Lawrence finally returns to action. The Tigers quarterback has not played since October 24 due to ACC COVID-19 protocol. Lawrence says it’s been a strange experience to have five weeks between games played in the regular season.

“It’s been weird,” added Lawrence. “I’m ready to get back for sure. I feel good. Obviously, performing and playing on Saturday has not been there. I feel good with how we’ve prepared in practice to get me back and ready.”

And ready for perhaps his final home game and last time running down the hill.

“I’ll take the time to enjoy it,” Lawrence said. “I think that’s important. You don’t get that back. I’ll know when to shift my focus before the game.”

A win Saturday ties the school record for most wins all-time as Clemson’s starting quarterback with 32. The victories and lessons learned away from the field mean just as much to Lawrence.

“It’s really changed my life being here, been so fortunate to be at a place like Clemson,” Lawrence said. “There’s going to be a lot of emotions. I don’t know how strong they’ll be when I’m up there. But it’s a lot of hard work, commitment, and fun that I’ve had here. It’s all going to come to fruition for sure.”

Game time Saturday against Pittsburgh is set for 3:30 p.m. from Memorial Stadium.

Copyright 2020 WIS. All rights reserved.