When prepping for the majority of his team's foes, Wofford football coach Josh Conklin can point to one or two players on the opposing team that his team must focus on stopping or at least slowing.
The Terriers' Saturday game at No. 4 Clemson presents a much different challenge.
"That's the biggest issue with these guys -- who do we take away," Conklin recently asked reporters. "You go down through the list, and where does it stop? There are seven or eight guys on offense, and then on defense they've got a plethora of players who are playing at a very high level. It's not a matchup that's advantageous for us, obviously."
Indeed, Clemson (8-0) is a 47-point favorite in the game and has never lost to a FCS opponent, going 33-0.
Wofford, however, isn't one's average FCS foe. The Terriers, who have won five in a row, will bring a 5-2 record into the game. They are perennial contenders in the Southern Conference as well as the FCS playoffs.
"I know our players are going to be excited to go match up against the best of the best," said Conklin, a former defensive coordinator at Pittsburgh who is in his second season at the Wofford helm. "I don't think anybody expects us to be in the football game, but let's go down there and compete for 60 minutes.
"We'll try to move the sticks as much as we can and control the clock and see if we can't keep it close for as long as we can and try to give them a little bit of a game."
Wofford has done that before. In a 2011 contest at Clemson, the Terriers and Tigers were tied 21-21 at halftime before Clemson rallied for a 35-27 victory.
"I remember getting booed coming off at halftime," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "They were tough, man. It's not easy. Everybody thinks you can just roll out there and win. Their scheme kind of neutralizes you a bit."
Wofford employs an option offense with varied personnel groupings and plenty of misdirection. The Terriers rank No. 2 nationally among FCS teams in rushing, averaging 361.7 yards per game. Senior quarterback Joe Newman leads the way with a 108.6-yard average.
"I know they'll be pumped up and ready to play Clemson," Swinney said.
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is coming off one of his best games this season in a 59-7 win against Boston College. He completed 16 of 19 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns and found a "hidden" weapon in graduate wide receiver Diondre Overton, whose three receptions each went for scores.
Overton finished with 119 receiving yards, more than he had on the season overall coming in.
Clemson's defense, meanwhile, ranks among the national leaders in several categories, including opponents' scoring (tied for sixth), total defense (fourth), tackles for loss (tied for ninth) and sacks (tied for ninth).
"After eight games, we've had an excellent season," said Swinney, whose team has won 23 consecutive games. "We're clicking into November now, and it's what we call our championship phase. It's an exciting time."
--Field Level Media
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