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Clemson vs. Auburn NCAA Football

For the third straight season Clemson and Auburn open against one another with this year’s game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Saturday night. Clemson is a 3.5-point favorite on WagerWeb.com.

The past two meetings the team that has taken a big lead has lost the game. Last year, Auburn led 21-7 but fell 38-24 in Death Valley. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd led the way, completing 30 of 42 passes for 386 yards and four touchdowns, while then-freshman receiver Sammy Watkins caught 10 passes for 155 yards and two TDs and added 44 yards rushing. Clemson totaled 624 yards of offense. The win ended Clemson’s 14-game losing streak to Auburn.

Boyd, Watkins and leading rusher Andre Ellington are all back for a Clemson offense that set numerous school records last year as the Tigers won the ACC for the first time since 1991. But Watkins will sit the first two games of the season after an offseason arrest. Watkins, voted the Atlantic Coast Conference’s preseason player of the year last month, also will miss Clemson’s home opener against Ball State on Sept. 8. Watkins was a record-setter as a freshman, finishing with 82 catches for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was also a dynamic kick returner, leading the team with a 25-yard average and bringing one back for a touchdown in the Tigers’ comeback win over Maryland last season. He was named to the AP All-America team as an all-purpose player.

DeAndre Hopkins is the likely go-to guy with Watkins missing the first two games. He had 972 receiving yards in 2011. . Clemson joins Fresno State and Southern California as the only schools with a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard receiver and 1,000 yard rusher returning.

Auburn will start Kiehl Frazier at quarterback as he beat out Clint Moseley, who started six games a year ago. Frazier was used mostly as a Wildcat quarterback as a freshman, going 5-of-12 passing with a couple of interceptions. He rushed 76 times for 327 yards and three scores. Frazier will be aided by the return of WR Emory Blake (613 yards, 5 TDs in 2011) and Second-Team All-SEC TE Philip Lutzenkirchen (238 yards, 7 TDs last year).

Auburn lost star tailback Mike Dyer off last year’s team and freshman Jovon Robinson, who had been likely to see action, was ruled ineligible by the NCAA. Plus, the offensive line has three new starters, with sophomore Tunde Fariyike replacing recently suspended center Reese Dismukes. The Tigers also have two new coordinators this season.

Auburn has a 34-12-2 lead in the series with Clemson. Auburn had won 14 straight in the series prior to last year’s Clemson victory at Death Valley. Clemson had not won since 1951 prior to that. Two of the last three meetings between the two teams have gone to overtime, and Auburn has won both, 23-20 in the 2007 season Chick-fil-A Bowl and 27-24 at Auburn in 2010.

Sportsbook Advisor staff likes Clemson to win and cover easily here. We don’t really have an opinion on the total.

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Saturday, September 1st, 2012 College Football 2012

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