CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WIS) - Round 2 between Clemson and Notre Dame will take place Saturday at Bank of America Stadium.
This time, it’ll be for the biggest prize in the Atlantic Coast Conference and possibly a trip to the College Football Playoff.
“We’re ready,” said Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney. “I mean, ready to go play the game. We’ve had two great weeks. I feel like we’ve used our time very well. The team is super excited to go play and compete for the championship.”
The last time these two teams met was in South Bend when the Tigers and Irish were each undefeated. Despite missing several starters on both sides of the ball, including quarterback Trevor Lawrence due to COVID-19, The two teams slugged it out with the Fighting Irish coming out on top with a 47-40 win in double overtime.
Despite having a previous contest against Notre Dame, Swinney believes there’s no true advantage to seeing them once before.
“It’s just neutral,” he began. “It’s like going and having, you know, three scrimmages in the fall, and you scrimmage the same defense, and they scrimmage the same offense. Sometimes the scrimmage is the defense wins, sometimes the offense wins and you’re familiar with each other. It all comes down to this moment, this day. Yeah, it’s kind of neat when you can actually watch the tape. We play a lot of opponents every year, where you can look back and study, but teams
change every year. So, it’s unique that you can look at a game from your season, and kind of see the matchup and have a little more feel for the personnel involved. It still comes down to these four quarters, blocking, tackling and who executes the best.”
Clemson and Notre Dame are among the top five in several offensive and defensive categories this year. Clemson averages 46 points per game while Notre Dame scores an average of 37.7 points per game. Defensively, both teams are as stingy as they come. The Tigers give up an average of 18.3 points per game while the Irish surrender 17.1 points per game.
Although there may be a lot riding on the result of the game for both teams, Swinney said the approach and the message have remained the same for his team during their preparation.
“Just routine, our normal routine,” Swinney said. “We’ve been doing the same things we’ve done the last years and years and years to get ready. It’s very consistent in how we prepare, very consistent in how we build up to that moment. And so, really just the same things. We played in a lot of games where there’s a lot of hype and those type of things, but you know we just do what we do.”
This is Clemson’s sixth straight appearance in the ACC Championship game. Last year, they defeated Virginia 62-17 in Charlotte to advance to the College Football Playoff. A berth in this year’s CFP would also give the Tigers a sixth appearance in the postseason tournament.
Clemson takes on Notre Dame at 4 p.m. Saturday in Charlotte.