MIAMI (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – A pair of the nation’s top quarterbacks will face off in South Florida on Saturday afternoon.
Clemson realized it had a special talent when highly touted quarterback Deshaun Watson arrived on campus, but midway through his sophomore season Watson has developed into one of the nation’s best signal-callers.
The sixth-ranked Tigers play at Miami on Saturday looking to keep pace with fellow unbeaten Florida State in the ACC’s Atlantic Division, and Watson’s passing the past two weeks has accelerated the Tigers’ rise into the national playoff picture.
Earning ACC offensive player of the week honors after completing 27-of-41 passes for 420 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s 34-17 thrashing of Boston College, Watson has thrown for 685 yards while completing 67.6 percent of his attempts the past two games.
The Hurricanes own the best turnover margin in the nation (plus-13) but suffered a key blow in last week’s 30-20 victory over Virginia Tech when linebacker Raphael Kirby – the team’s leading tackler – suffered a lower extremity injury that will sideline him for the rest of the season.
Sophomore quarterback Brad Kaaya leads the ACC with 1,795 passing yards, and is critical to Miami’s upset hopes in a matchup of the top two passing squads in the conference.
TV: Noon ET, ABC. LINE: Clemson -6.5
ABOUT CLEMSON (6-0, 3-0 ACC): Watson recorded the second 400-yard passing game of his career, and just the sixth in school history.
Center Jay Guillermo played every snap last week, earning conference offensive lineman of the week honors for the second consecutive week in helping the Tigers roll up 532 yards of total offense.
Clemson ranks 10th nationally in total defense (281.7 yards per game) and 14th in points per contest (16.7).
ABOUT MIAMI (FLA.) (4-2, 1-1 ACC): Kaaya, last season’s ACC rookie of the year, passed for 296 yards and two touchdowns last week and is averaging 300 yards passing per game.
Receiver Rashawn Scott caught two touchdown passes against the Hokies and is ranked second in the league with 74.3 yards receiving per game.
Cornerback Artie Burns intercepted two passes last week and has five on the season, tops in the conference and tied for third nationally.
- Kaaya has not thrown an interception in his past 125 pass attempts, the second-longest streak at Miami in the past 10 years (Stephen Morris, 182).
- The Tigers have dominated opponents before halftime this season, outscoring the opposition 137-33 in the first half of games.
- Clemson and Miami have not played since 2010; the Hurricanes have won six of the nine meetings in the series.
Listen to the Miami Hurricanes take on the Clemson Tigers this Saturday at 12:00 p.m. on Sports Radio 560 WQAM, your official radio home for the Canes!
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