Written by Garin Turner
The Clemson Tigers came up short last year against the Alabama Crimson Tide in last year’s national championship game. They look to return this year as they start the season at home Saturday against Furman 12:30 PM EST on ACC Network Extra.
Clemson has dominated this series 42-10-4 having won 30 straight. The last time Furman beat the Tigers was 1936. The Tigers return 61 lettermen from last year’s 12-2 squad. The Tigers are also seeking their fourth consecutive ACC title and a fourth straight College Football Playoff berth.
Head coach Dabo Swinney enters his 11th season with the Tigers. “This is just so much fun to have the opportunity to get out there and play,” Swinney said. Senior quarterback Kelly Bryant will get the start but expect to see freshman backup Trevor Lawrence to see game action. Bryant threw for 2,802 yards and 13 touchdowns but also had eight interceptions. He also contributed in the run game with 192 carries for 665 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Travis Etienne, a sophomore running back, carried the ball 107 times for 766 yards and 13 touchdowns last year. Junior running back Tavien Feaster also carried 107 times adding 669 yards and seven touchdowns, so the Tigers have a balanced rushing attack.
Wideout Hunter Renfrow (60 rec, 602 yards, three touchdowns) will have a bigger role than last year as Deon Cain and Ray-Ray McCloud III are in the NFL. 23 different receivers caught passes last year for the Tigers.
Clemson returns eight starters on defense and look to give opponents starting with Furman, fits all year long. Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence, Clelin Ferrell, and Austin Bryant represent the entire Preseason ACC Conference defensive line. The Tigers ranked second nationally in scoring defense last year (13.6 points per game) and finished fourth in total defense (276.7).
If Clemson wants to make it to the promise land again they’ll have to win tough games against Texas A&M away. They also travel to #19 Florida State on the last weekend of Oct. The following week they host Louisville and they finish the regular season at home against South Carolina.