Clemson University

College Football Today

Cullen Harper and the rest of the Tigers look to bounce back against the No. 15 Hokies.
Cullen Harper and the rest of the Tigers look to bounce back against the No. 15 Hokies.

See page 7D for more pre-game coverage of the Tigers, including notes, statistics, quotes and more.

NO. 15 VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES (4-1, 1-0 ACC) AT NO. 22 CLEMSON TIGERS (4-1, 2-1), 6 P.M.

• TV: ESPN (cable channel 25 in Rock Hill)

• Radio: WRHI-AM (1340)

• Series record: 17-11-1 Clemson

• Last game: Virginia Tech 27, Clemson 7, Oct. 26, 2006, at Blacksburg, Va.

• Last week: Virginia Tech beat North Carolina 17-10; Georgia Tech beat Clemson 13-3

• Rankings: Virginia Tech is 15th in the AP poll and 14th in the USA Today/coaches poll. Clemson is 22nd in each poll

• Tickets: Sold out

TIGERS' KEYS TO VICTORY

• Harness: The Death Valley crowd will no doubt be stung by the memory of last week and of last year against Virginia Tech. With a TV audience to count on, perhaps the Tigers can set a defensive tone early.

• Catch: Cullen Harper didn't have a great chance to have an effective game last week after his receivers dropped eight passes. That can't continue.

• Pull the trigger: It may be Mark Buchholz is feeling the strain of playing two sports during the fall or it may be he just had a bad day against Georgia Tech. But if he misses another kick, and it's a close game, coach Tommy Bowden needs to turn to backup Richard Jackson. Put it this way -- if Jackson misses, at least Bowden can say he tried.

PREDICTION

Virginia Tech is ranked higher than Clemson but the Hokies have been a mystery all season. They haven't been dominant at all and seem to be going through the motions. Clemson's wounded pride has a chance to heal today, and against the very same opponent that begun the Tigers' tailspin last year. A defensive stop could settle Clemson down early, and a quick touchdown -- preferably a rushing one -- would tell the Hokies it won't be as easy last year. Should be a close game, but Clemson's ache to get back in the race wins it.

TIGERS 24, HOKIES 21

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