Clemson vs. Ball State: Inside the game
Here’s a look at what might be the difference when Ball State plays at No. 12 Clemson today:
Searching for depth
Clemson has a considerable talent advantage today so the outcome should not be in question. Whether Clemson can build a comfortable enough lead to build experienced depth by playing reserves is the bigger question and important for Clemson’s long-term goals this season. Freshman tackle Shaq Anthony will start in place of Gifford Timothy (knee) at right tackle but Clemson also wants to play young offensive linemen Ryan Norton and Kalon Davis. On the defensive side, Brent Venables wants to get more snaps for freshman tackles D.J. Reader and Carlos Watkins.
Stopping the run
Clemson allowed 5.6 yards per rush when taking away sack yardage last week against Auburn. Clemson ranked 81st in rush defense a year ago. Can the Tigers tigthen up their run game against a Ball State team returning four starting linemen and 5-9, 230-pound tailback Jahwan Edwards (11 touchdowns, 786 rushing yards last year)? Clemson needs improvement in this area.
With Sammy Watkins serving the final game of his two-game suspension, this is an ideal time for Charone Peake to make the most of his extended playing time. Can Peake have a big day and prove that he deserves more playing time after Watkins returns?
Clemson trailed Troy at the half last season, 16-13, and was tied with Wofford at the break. But even if the Tigers are sluggish early, they have too much talent and should pull away for a win in their first home game of the season.
CLEMSON 51, BALL STATE 23