Clemson preview capsule

July 27, 2013 

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney

JEFF BLAKE — jblake@thestate.com Buy Photo

  • TIGERS SCHEDULE

    Aug. 31 Georgia

    Sept. 7 S.C. State

    Sept. 19 at N.C. State

    Sept. 28 Wake Forest

    Oct. 5 at Syracuse

    Oct. 12 Boston College

    Oct. 19 Florida State

    Oct. 26 at Maryland

    Nov. 2 at Virginia

    Nov. 14 Georgia Tech

    Nov. 23 The Citadel

    Nov. 30 at USC

THE TIGERS WILL CONTEND IF: Senior quarterback Tajh Boyd shakes off the departure of two offensive weapons, and a no-name defense can develop a couple of standouts.

COACH: Dabo Swinney (sixth year, 40-21)

2012 RECORD: 11-2 overall, 7-1 ACC

2012 Bowl: Beat LSU 25-24 in Chick-Fil-A Bowl.

RETURNING STARTERS: Six offense, six defense

TAJH THE TIGER: Boyd earned All-ACC honors in 2012 with a statline of 3,896 passing yards, 514 rushing yards and 46 total touchdowns. But DeAndre Hopkins, Boyd’s top target, is now with the Houston Texans, and 1,000-yard rusher Andre Ellington also is gone.

STRONG SCHEDULE: Clemson’s championship hopes will rest on two tough non-conference games. Clemson hosts Georgia in the season opener and the Tigers travel to South Carolina for their regular season finale. Georgia and South Carolina combined for a 23-4 record and two bowl game conquests in 2012.

GETTING DEFENSIVE: Clemson led the ACC in scoring last season (41.0 points per game) and its defense limited opponents to 24.8 points, the conference’s third-best mark. However, safety Rashard Hall was the only defender to earn All-ACC honors — and last year was his final season. Who will step up this fall? Keep an eye on defensive end Vic Beasley, the only Tiger to land on a preseason watch list for a defensive award.

THE PAST FIVE YEARS

2012: 11-2 (won Chick-Fil-A Bowl)

2011: 10-4 (lost Orange Bowl)

2010: 6-7 (lost Meineke Car Care Bowl)

2009: 9-5 (won Music City Bowl)

2008: 7-6 (lost Gator Bowl)

TOTAL: 43-24; 2-3 in bowls

RETURNING LEADERS

PASSING: Tajh Boyd, 287-427-3,896 yards, 36 TDs/13 INTs

RUSHING: Tajh Boyd, 186-514-10 TDs

RECEIVING: Sammy Watkins, 57-708-3 TDs

TACKLES: LB Spencer Shuey, 93

SACKS: DE Vic Beasley, 8

RETURNING ALL-ACC

QB: Tajh Boyd (1st team)

OL: Brandon Thomas (1st team)

K: Chandler Catanzaro (2nd team)

From Staff and Wire Reports

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