CLEMSON, SC -- A week from today, the Clemson Tigers will be playing in their second consecutive college football playoff national championship final. Once again, the Tigers find themselves the underdogs as their top ranked defense tries to slow down the top ranked LSU offense.
"Tell me something we don't know. Tell me something about a player who's not playing or something like that. I would love to be asked about LSU," said senior safety K'Von Wallace.
The "Tigerbowl" is the personification of the question: what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? For Clemson, the key revolves around the quarterback. They need to contain Heisman winner Joe Burrow and also prevent plays from breaking down.
"The main thing is keep pressure on him. The guy can throw the ball and I guess from my standpoint, play within the defense and keep pressure on him," said junior defensive lineman Justin Foster.
"When you get the quarterback dead in the rights, you've got to make the play. We did that a few times with Justin Fields where we didn't make the play on him: wide open sacks, tackles for loss, things like that. You gotta make the play," added senior safety Tanner Muse.
The Clemson defense is certainly looking forward to that challenge of slowing down Joe Burrow and showing just how legit they are and that they've earned that number one ranking. Meanwhile for the offense, it took them until the second quarter to get things going against Ohio State in their last game, and this is an environment where they can't afford to do the same thing in back to back games.
"It's definitely going to be in our best interest not to fall behind because those guys are really, really good on offense. We just have to go out there and just play. Hopefully we don't get behind, keep ahead, and hopefully we come out with a 'W'," said junior wide receiver Tee Higgins.
It's a homecoming for junior running back Travis Etienne who hails from Louisiana and turned down LSU for Clemson.
"It's also a unique opportunity in itself being a kid from Louisianna getting to play in the Superdome against the home state team for a national championship. You couldn't have scripted this up any better," stated Etienne.
Clemson's offense is nothing to sleep on either. It'll likely come down to one or two plays in the fourth quarter and that's where experience could bode well for the Tigers.
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