CLEMSON — There will be football at Clemson on Saturday.
While most colleges across the Carolinas have canceled their football games because of Hurricane Florence, Clemson decided to play anyway, pointing out that the storm is not expected to hit the Upstate until Sunday.
The game was moved up to noon from 3:30 p.m., and will be broadcast on ESPNU. Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm Friday afternoon.
And so the second-ranked Tigers (2-0) are pressing on, ready to play a non-conference game against Georgia Southern (2-0) at Death Valley. Here are four factors that could have an impact on the game:
The weather ... again
The Upstate might not be getting heavy rain until Sunday, but this storm's unpredictability means anything can happen, and Clemson will need to be ready.
Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow predicted earlier this week that Clemson would be doing wet-ball drills in practice, but it's not just the players who need to be prepared for the storm.
Clemson's athletic department and emergency preparedness team have plans in place to deal with traffic, parking and safety issues. They will not have the large presence of state troopers that usually work home games. The parking lots will open at 6 a.m. and fans have been asked to depart the parking lots within two hours of the game ending. Clemson is encouraging fans to monitor the weather, make informed decisions about travel plans, stay hydrated because there might be limited concession stands open, and be extra patient with traffic flow.
It's not often a football player passes up an offer from a Power 5 Conference school like Clemson for a smaller school, but that's exactly what Georgia Southern quarterback Shai Werts did. Werts, a redshirt sophomore from Clinton who played high school ball at Newberry, had an offer from Dabo Swinney as an athlete. But Werts wanted to go where he knew he could play quarterback.
"He's their leading rusher, leading scorer and he just does a good job for them," Swinney said of Werts.
Can Clemson's secondary redeem itself? It will be difficult to gauge how much progress Clemson's secondary actually made this week given the Tigers' opponent. Clemson is projected to beat Georgia Southern by more than 30 points, meaning this is not exactly the type of test the Tigers can use to see improvement. Nonetheless, all eyes are going to be on Clemson's secondary for the rest of the season after Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond lit the Tigers up for a whopping 430 passing yards last week.
By all means, this should be a matchup in which Clemson can continue to get its younger players more experience. Look for the Tigers' promising freshmen — running back Lyn-J Dixon, wide receiver Justyn Ross, defensive linemen K.J. Henry and Xaiver Thomas, and offensive lineman Jackson Carman — to get into the mix.
Clemson 49, Georgia Southern 13