No. 3 Clemson, No. 5 Georgia start with possible CFP preview

No. 3 Clemson (0-0) vs. No. 5 Georgia (0-0), Saturday at 7:30 p.m. EDT (ABC).

Line: Clemson by 3 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Georgia leads 42-18-4.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

A season on the knife’s edge for the loser of this one. Both teams are strong contenders for the College Football Playoff and whoever loses must navigate the rest of the season trying to avoid a second defeat that likely ends any chance of playing for the national championship.

KEY MATCHUP

Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei vs. Georgia’s defensive front. Uiagalelei is the sophomore taking over for NFL top-draft pick Trevor Lawrence. Uiagalelei showed his talent last year in Lawrence’s COVID-19 absence with a pair of stellar game, including throwing for 439 yards at Notre Dame in a Clemson loss. The Bulldogs, though, are mean and nasty up front with tackles Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt and ends Jalen Carter and Travon Walker.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Clemson DT Bryan Bresee: If the Tigers hope to slow down Georgia’s running game, sophomore tackle Bresee will have to play a major role. Bresee is fast and focused with the ability to penetrate the line much like Dexter Lawrence did for the Tigers in the 2018 national title season.

Georgia: CB Derion Kendrick is a former Clemson starter projected to be a first-round NFL draft pick when he’s done with college. Kendrick was dismissed from the Tigers this past spring and landed at Georgia in time to face his old team in this crucial game.

FACTS & FIGURES

Clemson has won its past six games at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium, including the past five ACC Championship games. … Georgia quarterback JT Daniels, the former Southern Cal passer, threw for 1,231 yards, 10 touchdowns and just two picks in his four games last year. … These schools are about two hours apart and have played 64 times in a series that began in 1897. … Their last game was a 45-21 Georgia win in Athens in 2014. The year before, Clemson outlasted the Bulldogs in a top-10 matchup at Death Valley. … Clemson will face its third consecutive top-five opponent after beating No. 2 Notre Dame for the ACC title and falling to No. 3 Ohio State in the CFP semifinals. … This marks the first time Georgia has ever faced a team ranked in the top five to start the season. … Georgia is 9-9-1 when it faces a ranked opponent to open the season. … Clemson has lost three of its past five games against top 10 opponents.

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up