Clemson and Notre Dame face off for first time in six years

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Clemson to face Notre Dame in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl.

By Baron Ropp, Round Table reporter

Clemson and Notre Dame face each other in this year’s Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic to be played on Saturday, Dec. 29.

Both teams come into this game without a loss.This is the first time these two teams have faced each other since 2015, when Clemson achieved a slim victory after Notre Dame couldn’t convert on a two-point attempt at the end of the game.

Clemson enters as the favored team, but they need a lot to go their way to seal the deal against the undefeated Fighting Irish.

Notre Dame’s run defense is one of the best in college football. Opponents average only 3.9 yards per carry, and the longest rush against this unbelievable defense was just 58 yards. Only one opponent this year has gone for more than 100 yards against Notre Dame, but the Irish have their work cut out for them against Clemson’s 1,400-yard rusher Travis Etienne.

Notre Dame’s explosive offense is going up against what many people believe is the best front four in the country. Highlighted by monsters such as Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence, the Irish might have a hard time getting the ground game going, although Notre Dame’s starting running back, Dexter Williams, may be the X-factor the Irish need. Williams has run for 941 yards this year, even while missing the first four games of the season.

The quarterback battle in this game is going to be amazing to watch. Clemson’s true freshman quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, took the starting spot from veteran quarterback Kelly Bryant at the start of this year. Bryant has since transferred to Mizzou, and Lawrence has become the main force behind Clemson’s unreal offense.

Lawrence will be facing first-year starter Ian Book. Book has turned the Notre Dame offense into a legitimate weapon with his ability to throw the long ball, and as a result, Notre Dame is undefeated for the first time since 2012.

Clemson’s offensive line is actually highlighted by a Middletown native. Justin Falcinelli went to Middletown a few years ago and received a scholarship from Clemson. Since day one, Falcinelli has contributed to an unbelievable run game.The Tigers have had more than 3,000 yards rushing this year with Falcinelli on the field.