The Football team will be going into Clemson's Death Valley Saturday, ready to face one of the best defenses in the country.
The team is coming off its first win of the season against Indiana State last Saturday, and has been preparing for the Tiger defense.
"Your first inclination is, well they're such a good rushing defense so we have to throw it," head coach Bill Lynch said. "The problem with that is that their pass rush is so good."
Coming into to week three, the Clemson Tigers are ranked No. 17 in the country in defense, No. 19 in rush defense. In three games, they have only allowed 268 yards on the ground, an average of 89 yards per game. The Tigers only allow 2.8 yards per carry as well. Lynch said, however, the team cannot just rely on the passing game.
"We got to bang away at them," Lynch said. "We got to find a way to run the ball a little bit so that we're just putting ourselves in constant passing situations."
For the past week, the team has been working on not giving up the big plays, Lynch said. This showed last Saturday when Indiana State came out on the first play and threw an 84-yard touchdown pass. The team is also working on ways to produce the big plays on offense.
"We're winning time of possession," Lynch said. "We're having some nice drives, but you got to score points. We got to find a way to get some bigger plays on offense and defensively, we've got to stop giving up the big plays."
Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden said the team is fully capable of coming out and playing a good game. This year the Mid-American conference is 2-1 against Atlantic Coast Conference teams. Miami, Ohio beat North Carolina last week, Northern Illinois beat Wake Forest and Akron lost to Maryland.
"We definitely want to play a great ballgame, but at the same time keep our cool and just kind of let things happen," senior tailback Marcus Merriweather said.
The running game wants to come out focused and determined for Saturday's game. The Cardinals realize how good the Clemson defense is, and wants to execute on fundamentals to accomplish a successful running game.
"From our standpoint, we just know we're going up against a much better defense and have to be solid up front and stay on blocks," Merriweather said.
The whole team wants to go into South Carolina and come out improved.
"We found improvement from first game to second game," Lynch said. "We got to make that same kind of improvement this week so when we go to Connecticut next week, we have more to build on."
The Cardinals will face the Tigers at 1 p.m. Saturday at Clemson Memorial Stadium. The only time the two teams met was in 1992 with Clemson winning 24-10. The team is ready to face the Tigers for the second time.
"We're pretty much all locked in and on the same page," Merriweather said. "It's just all about executing and everybody giving a good effort."