The Huskies got back on track a week ago against Auburn. And, unfortunately for Washington, Clemson hasn’t been forced into a situation where they’ve had to get back on track. That said, Washington could be the team to force that situation tonight, especially if Ohle has the ball in the closing seconds of a close game. That said, Clemson would like to enter conference play 3-0. Here’s how they can.
The Tigers are going to put themselves in the best possible position to win. They have a knack for it. The biggest reason is because quarterback Javon Mack has been ferocious in the bright orange of the Tigers. Mack has three rushing touchdowns in two weeks and only one passing touchdown in that same time-frame. Oh, and he’s averaging a little over 10 yards a pass. In part because of receivers Anthony Robertson III, Jay Moe, and Keith Blazer. All three have been able to put together some really nice games already. The reason that’s been possible has been through halfback Mike Chadwick, who finds a way to generate yards and points. This offense is clicking.
This Clemson defense has been a nightmare for teams to contend with. Linebacker Kobe King has upped his game in the last couple of weeks, alleviating any concerns by the transfer of his new partner, linebacker Jack Tyler. Safety Barry Allen has stepped up too, as he recorded 12 tackles and a tackle for a loss a week or so ago. Bottom line, this defense has been ferocious, and that’s without the high level of play that defensive end Mike Miller has brought to the table in the past couple of seasons. The Tigers need him to up the ante tonight.
Quarterback Doug Ohle has made a name for himself late in close games. When a play is needed in a tight game, Ohle finds a way to deliver more often than not. He did that a week ago with a long touchdown pass against a blown coverage to a wide open receiver in Lord Helix. And he wasn’t the only one to play well a week ago. Receivers Jace Rosser and Kayode Imani both answered the bell when Ohle looked their way. Even halfback Ron Dayne Jr. had some inconsistencies on occasion, meaning this game really leaned upon the plays made by Ohle. And he rewarded Washington with the win.
Speaking of rewarding, about the Washington defense. Safety Digger Graves was all over the place, as was safety Bubba Bullard. Between those two and linebacker Erik Langston, their opponent had a tough time getting the running game off the ground. Factor in how Raekwon Dong, as a defensive tackle, was able to open the rush lanes for defensive end Richard Bradley, and you can see the might of the Washington defense.
HB Mike Chadwick vs. FS Digger Graves
It’s odd that a halfback and free safety is the pivotal collision, but hear me out. These two are going to collide. A week ago, Graves was living off the line of scrimmage, and I expect he’ll do the same. If Graves can cap Chadwick, then the rest of the defense is free to tee off on Javon Mack. And Clemson could wind up in a bind as a result.
Look, this game should be exciting from start to finish. And to be fair, it’s tough to call. Clemson is the last undefeated team in the SEC, and if they lose tonight, the playoff landscape might have a different atmosphere. Washington would carry momentum into conference play. Javon Mack can escape, and he will cause all sorts of fits for the Washington secondary. But something tells me the Huskies will get the last laugh. I can see Dong or Bradley causing enough trouble in the pocket that Mack could slip up and that would be enough for Washington to get the win. I’m calling for the upset, but only just.
CLEMSON 34, WASHINGTON 37