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Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Ask Mark: Clemson's opener

By Mark Schlabach

ESPN.com columnist Mark Schlabach is stopping by the ACC blog this week to answer some of your most pressing questions about the league as it enters the 2014 season. You can tweet your questions to Mark here.

Mark: Clemson's opener against Georgia at Sanford Stadium on Aug. 30 is really going to be big for both teams. The Bulldogs have to replace quarterback Aaron Murray, and Huston Mason is going to get a big test after starting the last two games in 2013. Clemson has to replace quarterback Tajh Boyd, as well as star receivers Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant.

Clemson used a 38-35 win over Georgia at Death Valley last season to really jump out of the gates as a national contender. The Tigers won their first six games and then ran into a buzz saw in Florida State.

Clemson senior Cole Stoudt will start his first game at quarterback on the road in a hostile stadium, so offensive coordinator Chad Morris will have a good idea of how he’ll be able to handle the pressure. Georgia's pass defense was atrocious last season, and the Bulldogs kicked safeties Josh Harvey-Clemons and Tray Matthews off the team. Cornerback Shaq Wiggins also transferred to Louisville, where former UGA defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is now working.

If Clemson can run the ball to take some pressure off Stoudt, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another shootout. Clemson ran the ball surprisingly well against Georgia last season, and a couple of turnovers really doomed the Bulldogs in the end.