On Saturday, the third-ranked Clemson Tigers and fifth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs will open their seasons up in a top-five showdown at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Tigers will begin their post-Trevor Lawrence era with new starting quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei. Uiagalelei will have some big shoes to fill, as Lawrence went 34-2 as a starter during his three years at Clemson while winning a national championship. He led the Tigers to three college football playoffs and two national championships appearances.
Uiagalelei has already proven himself on the field during the 2020 season. He took over for Lawrence during his COVID-19 absence as he had two phenomenal performances against Boston College and Norte Dame. In those two matchups, he threw for 781 yards and four touchdowns with zero interceptions.
Final Preparations ☑️ pic.twitter.com/kJBnn53g55
— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) September 1, 2021
Georgia looks to start off the year with a win against Clemson behind quarterback JT Daniels. Daniels will hope to build off of his success towards the end of last season. Last season, He threw for 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions in four straight wins after becoming the starter.
Daniels will look to open the offense with his wideouts and create explosive plays downfield to help his team build a lead against a tough Clemson defensive. He will be without star wide receiver George Pickens, who was injured during spring practice with a knee injury in March.
The Bulldogs will also look to rebuild their secondary after losing four players to the 2021 NFL Draft. They were able to add Tykee Smith through the transfer portal but he unlikely to play after suffering a foot injury in fall camp. Smith was a great cornerback during his time at West Virginia. Georgia also was able to add Derion Kendrick, an ALL-ACC cornerback for the Clemson Tigers during his time there.
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) September 2, 2021
Clemson vs. Georgia history
Georgia holds a 42-18-4 advantage in the series dating to the teams’ first meeting in 1897. The Bulldogs won the first three games in the series, all in Athens between 1897 and 1899. Clemson’s first win against Georgia during a 39-5 victory, also in Athens, in 1900.
In 2014, Georgia defeated Clemson 45-21 in Athens behind a tremendous ground game in their last meeting. The Bulldogs had 328 yards on the ground, with Todd Gurley accounting for 198. Both teams will look to gain their first win of the season Saturday evening as they look to make the college football playoff.