Scouting Virginia: how the Tigers win
1. Keep Grinding: Playing on the road isn't easy, and the Tigers will be making their second straight road trip this week. Virginia is dangerous primarily because of its defense, which has had flashes of brilliance this year. New defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta has vowed to make the Cavs' defense more disruptive, and the Tigers will probably encounter some rough spots along the way. Focus and persistence will be keys as a favored Clemson team tries to take of its business on the road.
2. Sustain Possession: With tempo and rhythm being at a premium for the Tigers, it will be important to move the chains against a Cavalier defense that ranks among the nation's best in three-and-outs, with 6.3 per game. In the first seven games of the season, more than 40 percent of opponents' possessions ended in three-and-outs. Forcing three-and-outs has also been a strength of Clemson's defense, which had nine on Saturday against Maryland. The offense that does a better job of sustaining possession will put itself in winning position.
3. Affect The Quarterback: Sophomore David Watford entered the season as Virginia's only quarterback with game experience, and he's played his way to the top of a six-man competition. Watford has had a decent year - 148-of-253 passing, with eight interceptions and five touchdowns - but he still looks to be a point of vulnerability that Clemson can exploit. The Tigers' defensive front need to win the line of scrimmage against a veteran offensive line and take the battle to Watford in the Cavalier backfield.