<
>

Meineke Car Care Bowl preview: Clemson (6-6) vs. South Florida (7-5)

5/19/2011

Here’s a quick preview of Clemson’s game against South Florida:

WHO TO WATCH: Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker. This will be his last game for Clemson before joining the Colorado Rockies as a first-round Major League draft pick, and he wants to go out on a winning note. He and coach Dabo Swinney have been at odds during times this season, but Parker came back because he didn’t want to be perceived as a quitter and because he didn’t want his last collegiate pass to be an interception in a loss to rival South Carolina. Parker has been pushed by backup Tajh Boyd this season, and it’s possible that competition could remain through the bowl game.

WHAT TO WATCH: Clemson’s receivers against South Florida’s secondary. DeAndre Hopkins, Jaron Brown and tight end Dwayne Allen have each developed into more dependable options in the passing game, but the Bulls have the No. 21 pass defense in the country, allowing 187.83 points per game. South Florida will use a lot of man coverage, so it will up to the Tigers to win those battles and help Parker out. Hopkins needs one touchdown reception to set the Clemson single-season freshman record.

WHY WATCH: This game features two of the nation's stingiest defenses, and considering the Bulls beat Miami, nothing is a given. A win would give Clemson an 11th consecutive winning season, and the Tigers are trying to avoid their first losing season since 1999, when the Tigers were 6-6 in Tommy Bowden’s first year as head coach. A win would also give Clemson a bowl victory in consecutive seasons for the first time since the 1986-90 era, when Clemson won a bowl game in five straight seasons.

PREDICTION: Clemson 17, South Florida 10: Clemson’s defense will be the difference, especially up front, where the defensive line, led by Da’Quan Bowers, will have the edge. Bowers needs one sack to become Clemson’s single-season record holder.