Name to Know: TE Philip Lutzenkirchen
Auburn’s preseason All-SEC tight end, Lutzenkirchen might become the best to play that position in Tigers’ history. His 14 career touchdowns are a school record, and his size (6-foot-5, 255 pounds) makes him an inviting target. Clemson fans might appreciate him because he caught game-winning touchdown passes against South Carolina in 2010 and ’11.
Key matchup: QB Tajh Boyd vs.
QB Kiehl Frazier
Clemson’s Boyd won’t be able to throw to star receiver Sammy Watkins, who is suspended for two games because of an offseason marijuana charge. Like his team, Boyd started fast last season but threw nine interceptions in Clemson’s last six games. Frazier, a sophomore who is a threat as a runner or a passer, played sparingly as a freshman, mostly in wildcat formations.
Key mismatch: Auburn’s DL vs. Clemson’s OL
Clemson is replacing three starters on the offensive line, and that inexperienced group will be going against an Auburn defensive line (featuring Nosa Eguae, Corey Lemonier, Kenneth Carter, LaDarius Owens and Jeffrey Whitaker) that might be among the SEC’s deepest and best. Clemson center Dalton Freeman might be All-ACC, but he’s surrounded by inexperience.
Key number: 70
That number will probably go down in infamy with Clemson: It’s the number of points allowed in last season’s Orange Bowl loss against West Virginia. The defense is under new leadership this season with coordinator Brent Venables replacing the fired Kevin Steele.