Notre Dame looks for 1st ACC title ever vs. favored Clemson

No. 2 Notre Dame (10-0, 9-0, No. 2 CFP) vs No. 4 Clemson (9-1, 8-1 ACC, No. 3 CFP) , Saturday at 4 p.m. EST (ABC).

Line: Clemson by 10 1/2.

Series record: Clemson leads 3-2

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Plenty. Clemson is seeking its sixth straight ACC Championship under coach Dabo Swinney, while Notre Dame, an independent for over a century until joining the league temporarily during this pandemic-altered season, is looking for its first conference title ever. The winner is a lock for the College Football Playoff, which has never had a two-loss participant. Clemson’s only loss this season was a 47-40 double-overtime thriller at Notre Dame.

KEY MATCHUP

Notre Dame QB Ian Book vs. Clemson’s defense: The winningest QB in Notre Dame history with 30 victories, the fifth-year senior led a key drive in that win over Clemson and finished with 310 passing yards (22 of 39) and added 67 yards rushing on 14 carries.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Clemson: QB Trevor Lawrence: Clemson was without the services of the junior quarterback in the last meeting as he recovered from COVID-19. He has since returned and played well. His replacement, freshman D.J. Uiagalelei, threw for a Notre Dame-opponent record 439 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a third score. Lawrence, the likely No. 1 pick in next year’s NFL draft, could put up big numbers against the Irish defense, too.

Notre Dame: RB Kyren Williams: The 5-foot-9, 195-pound sophomore finished with 1,011 rushing yards on 180 carries (5.6-yard average) and 12 touchdowns and added 268 receiving yards on 24 catches and another TD after seeing limited action as a freshman. Williams scored three touchdowns against Clemson earlier this season and finished with 140 rushing yards on 23 attempts.

FACTS & FIGURES

After 131 years as an independent, Notre Dame has a chance to win its first football conference championship. … The Irish, who enter the game eighth against the run at 99.7 yards per game, limited the Tigers to 34 yards on the ground on 33 carries. … Clemson RB Travis Etienne struggled in the last meeting with just 28 yards rushing on 18 carries. He also fumbled once into the hands of Notre Dame rover Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who returned it 23 yards for a touchdown. Etienne only has two 100-yard rushing games this season. … Owusu-Koramoah leads the Irish with 49 tackles, including nine vs Clemson. … Clemson has a 3-2 lead in the series, including a 30-3 thrashing of the Fighting Irish in a CFP semifinal following the 2018 season.

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