No. 2 Clemson seeks 4th straight ACC title vs Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh (7-5, 6-2) vs. No. 2 Clemson (12-0, CFP No. 2) at Charlotte, North Carolina, Saturday, 8 p.m. EST (ABC)
Line: Clemson by 26½.
Series record: Pittsburgh leads 2-0.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Clemson is seeking to become the first team in the ACC championship game era to win four straight titles. It’s also looking for its fourth straight trip to the College Football Playoff, something that becomes less likely should Pitt upset the heavily favored Tigers.
Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett vs. Clemson’s secondary: Pickett has been limited in his first full season as starter, throwing for 1,825 yards — the fewest for a Pitt passer who has played 10 games since 1996. But Clemson’s pass defense showed major holes last Saturday night in a 56-35 win over South Carolina. The Tigers gave up 510 yards passing and five touchdown throws to Gamecocks QB Jake Bentley.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Pittsburgh RB Qadree Ollison: The Panthers fifth-year senior led the team with 1,134 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground.
Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence: The 6-foot-6 freshman has excelled in most every situation since he was elevated to starter at the end of September. Lawrence passed for 393 yards and a touchdown in last week’s win over South Carolina. He is tied for the ACC lead with 22 TD passes.
FACTS & FIGURES
Pitt has never lost to Clemson, beating the Tigers 34-3 at the Gator Bowl in 1977 and 43-42 at Death Valley in 2016, one of just two ACC losses the Tigers have in the past four regular seasons. ... Pitt is the fourth different opponent Clemson has faced in the championship game the last four years. ... Clemson has won 17 ACC titles, ahead of Florida State’s 15 for most football championships in league history. ... Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi is 2-0 against No. 2 teams in his four seasons as head coach, defeating No. 2 Clemson in 2016 and No. 2 Miami in 2017. ... Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott was named a finalist for the Broyles Award giving the top assistant in college football. Tigers defensive coordinator Brent Venables won the award in 2016 and Scott’s fellow offensive coordinator Tony Elliott won the prize last year. ... Clemson had 18 players named the first, second or third all-ACC teams. Pitt had just four.