A rematch is on tap when the #3 Clemson Tigers (9-1, 8-1 ACC) and #2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-0, 9-0 ACC) face off in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship on Saturday afternoon. The two teams met in South Bend earlier this year, with the Irish escaping with a thrilling 47-40 double-overtime victory. The championship bout’s kickoff is at 4 p.m. EST at Bank of American Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. The Tigers are a 10.5-point favorite in the rematch, according to oddsmakers.
What to Know – Clemson Tigers
The Tigers’ lone loss this season against the Irish came without their starting quarterback under center. In the two games since, the Tigers have outscored their opponents, 97-27.
In their last outing, Trevor Lawrence completed just 12-of-22 passes for 195 yards, one touchdown, and a rare interception. While he was a bit off through the air, the projected top overall pick in the 2021 draft carried the ball seven times for 41 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns.
Travis Etienne led a Tigers rushing attack that posted 238 yards on the ground. Etienne totaled 66 yards on 16 carries, pushing his season total past the 750-yard mark (758).
Cornell Powell caught four passes for 90 yards and a touchdown, his third-straight game with a touchdown reception and fifth of the season. The team’s leading receiver, Amari Rodgers, was held to three catches for 32 yards.
What to Know – Notre Dame Fighting Irish
You couldn’t ask for a much better outcome for the typical independent Irish in 2020. Joining up with the ACC so they could have a season, Notre Dame rolled through their conference schedule without a blemish and silenced a lot of the naysayers in the process.
Ian Book has quietly put together a fantastic season under center for the Irish and has now won more games than any other quarterback in Notre Dame history. The senior has thrown for 2,394 yards this season with 15 touchdown passes and just two interceptions. Additionally, Book is second on the team with 465 yards rushing and eight additional touchdowns.
Book accounted for five touchdowns in their last game against Syracuse, throwing for three and rushing for two.
Kyren Williams (20 carries, 110 yards) and Chris Tyree (six carries, 109 yards, one touchdown) ran for 229 of Notre Dame’s 283 yards on the ground against the Orange, while wide receiver Javon McKinley caught seven passes for 111 yards and three touchdowns.
The Pick is In
Clemson is expected to have some of their key defensive players back that missed the last game against the Irish in addition to their star quarterback. Notre Dame has taken care of every opponent they’ve faced this season and have won by double-digits in all but two games. Clemson might pull this one out with Lawrence back under center, but Vegas is not giving the Irish enough credit. Book and company will keep this one close and could knock off the Tigers for the second time.
The Pick: Norte Dame +10.5