❚ Who has the edge?

Goodyear Cot­ton Bowl Clas­sic

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - INSIDE - Paul Myer­berg

When Clem­son runs: Notre Dame’s de­fense has held ranked op­po­nents to 2.6 yards per carry. Still, the op­po­nents were Michi­gan, North­west­ern and Syra­cuse. Clem­son’s Travis Eti­enne has run for 1,463 yards and 21 touch­downs in one of the top run­ning at­tacks in pro­gram history. EDGE: Clem­son

When Clem­son passes: Notre Dame has one of the na­tion’s top pass de­fenses, al­low­ing just seven touch­downs through the air all season and hold­ing three of its final five op­po­nents to un­der a 50 per­cent com­ple­tion rate. EDGE: Notre Dame

When Notre Dame runs: Dex­ter Wil­liams brought a new di­men­sion to the run­ning game af­ter tak­ing over as the pri­mary run­ning back in late Septem­ber. But Clem­son’s de­fen­sive line has the abil­ity to dom­i­nate the line of scrim­mage and shut down Wil­liams and the Notre Dame ground game. EDGE: Clem­son

When Notre Dame passes: Chris­tian Wilkins, Clelin Fer­rell and com­pany will stress Notre Dame’s offen­sive line every time Ian Book drops back to pass. The Tigers’ abil­ity to cre­ate havoc with just four rush­ers makes things sub­stan­tially eas­ier for the se­condary. EDGE: Clem­son

Spe­cial teams: Clem­son has the edge in cov­er­age. Notre Dame’s kick­off team is one of the na­tion’s worst. There’s no real gap sep­a­rat­ing each team’s re­turn groups. But Notre Dame is definitely more re­li­able on field goal at­tempts thanks to se­nior kicker Justin Yoon. EDGE: Clem­son

Coach­ing: Brian Kelly did a fan­tas­tic job reload­ing his staff af­ter a dis­mal 2016. But Dabo Swin­ney knows ex­actly what but­tons to push to get his team ready to go in this sort of at­mos­phere. EDGE: Clem­son

BOB DONNAN/USA TO­DAY SPORTS

Clem­son quar­ter­back Trevor Lawrence, hand­ing off to run­ning back Adam Choice, ac­counted for 25 TDs.

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