Saturday, November 28, 2020, Memorial Stadium, Clemson, South Carolina, 3:30 p.m. ET
Panthers at Tigers Betting Preview: Panthers (+24), Tigers (-24)
Pittsburgh Panthers Betting Preview
The Panthers (5-4, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) have come back to life with the return of quarterback Kenny Pickett following an ankle injury. Pickett is coming off a 404-yard passing game in a 47-14 win against Virginia Tech.
In seven games, five of them Pitt wins, Pickett has completed 63.3 percent of his passes for 286.1 yards a game with 10 touchdowns against four interceptions.
“Everything starts with their quarterback,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “He’s a really good player — a veteran guy, he’s savvy, understands what they’re doing.”
The Panthers have had issues running the ball in averaging only 109.6 yards a game on the ground. But they have been even tougher stopping the run in holding opponents to an average of just 87.3 yards a game rushing.
Clemson has rushed for 150 yards a game and passed for 353.6 even with Trevor Lawrence missing two outings after testing positive for COVID-19. Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi, however, is focused on his own team and what it does, not Clemson.
“You really worry about what we do — not worrying about Clemson and who they are,” Narduzzi said. “It’s about us executing.”
Swinney has respect for Narduzzi’s Panthers. Pitt has posted two straight impressive victories, rolling past Florida State and Virginia Tech by a combined 57 points.
“Pitt’s a good football team,” Swinney said. “A lot of people had them ranked really high early in the season and when you watch them, you’ll see why. They’re 5-4, but they easily are a 7-2, 8-1 team. They had two one-point losses.
“They’re first in the country in tackles for loss, second in the country in sacks. A fun team to watch on tape, to be honest with you, because they play the game the way I think it should be played — physical, tough, great effort, aggressiveness. We know we’ll have our hands full with this group.”
No. 3 Clemson Tigers Betting Preview
Lawrence may finally get back in a game. Clemson’s junior quarterback hasn’t played in more than a month said this week he is eager to return against Pitt after missing two games after testing positive for COVID-19.
He was set to play last week at Florida State, but that game was postponed. Lawrence hasn’t played since an Oct. 24 win against Syracuse.
“I had a really good week of practice and was ready to go,” Lawrence said. “I felt like I was in a good spot. Hopefully, everything goes well this week and we get to play.”
The No. 3 Tigers (7-1, 6-1 ACC) also may welcome back three key defenders who have missed substantial time with injuries. They are linebackers James Skalski and Mike Jones Jr. and All-ACC defensive tackle Tyler Davis.
Clemson is riding a 27-game home winning streak and hasn’t lost at home in 1,477 days. That defeat came 43-42 at the hands of Pitt on Nov. 12, 2016. The Tigers never lost again that season, reeling off five straight victories en route to the national title.
The Tigers’ only defeat this season came in a 47-40 double-overtime loss at Notre Dame on Nov. 7, the last time they got to play.
Narduzzi is perhaps most impressed with Clemson’s balance. The Tigers are one of only two teams to rank among the top 17 nationally in both total offense and total defense.
“Those are two really, really good ratings when you’re both,” Narduzzi said. “A lot of times you see a team that’s got a top-rated offense and maybe not as good of a defense and vice versa, but they’re good at everything they do. We know they’re a talent-rich football team.”
Pitt Panthers at Clemson Tigers Betting Prediction
The Tigers have won 27 consecutive home games, the nation’s longest current such streak, since losing 43-42 to the Panthers in 2016. That was the Panthers’ second win in two meetings with the Tigers after a 34-3 Pitt win in the 1977 Gator Bowl.
The Tigers scored their only win over the Panthers 42-10 in the 2018 ACC title game with Travis Etienne rushing for 136 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries and Trevor Lawrence passing for two touchdowns but only 118 yards.
Panthers at Tigers Betting Pick:
Tigers 45, Panthers 24
Pitt Panthers at Clemson Tigers Best Bet
The Tigers haven’t played since losing at Notre Dame 47-40 while the Panthers have been on an offensive spree their last two outings. They won 41-17 at Florida State and 47-14 at home against Virginia Tech.
Panthers at Tigers Best Bet: OVER 55.5
–Field Level Media