The difficultly of facing an opponent of Clemson’s caliber is amplified by the rowdy environment of Memorial Stadium. The Eagles know they will be facing a highly explosive offense led by quarterback Kelly Bryant, and one of the best defenses in all of college football. They are also prepared play in an atmosphere that lives up to its moniker of Death Valley.
Since 2012 Clemson (3-0, 1-0 ACC) has gone 34-3 in Death Valley. Their only losses coming against Pitt last season, FSU in 2013, and rival South Carolina in 2012. Led by head coach Dabo Swinney Clemson had undefeated home seasons in 2014 and 2015.
When the Eagles enter Memorial Stadium they will be greet by 82,500 fans clad in orange, ready willing, and able to make their day as difficult as possible.
“I’ve been there once, my freshman year, and it’s very loud, it gets going, it gets rocking,” said junior free safety Lukas Denis. “It’s definitely a different environment, you can feel the energy. When your there it motivates you.”
Upper-classmen have helped prepare the younger players on what to expect in Death Valley, facing the Tigers.
“When we started talking about Clemson on Sunday, a couple of the older receivers said it’s the craziest place they’ve played.” Said redshirt-freshman wide receiver Kobay White. “They said, there is nothing you can do to prepare for it you just have to be focused and detailed.”
Junior defensive tackle Ray Smith is one player who enjoys the environment and is looking forward to it. “It’s awesome place to play, great atmosphere, it is going to fun.” Smith said.
“We’re playing an outstanding football team, in a tough environment, on the road, arguably maybe one of the, if not the best team in the country, certainly one of the top three teams in the country.” Addazio said. “It is going to be a tough challenge, tough environment. And we’re looking forward to going down there and playing our best football game.”
The Eagles and Tigers kickoff the ACC matchup at 3:30 p.m. in Clemson, SC and can be seen on ESPN2.