The 2021 Cheez-It Bowl features the 9-3 Clemson Tigers against the 7-5 Iowa State Cyclones. Here is the 2021 Cheez-It Bowl Preview.
Clemson Tigers (9-3)
Clemson took a step backward this season, but still had a solid season with nine wins to keep their bowl streak alive. The Tigers defeated four bowl-eligible teams this season: Boston College, Louisville, Wake Forest and South Carolina. All three losses came to bowl-eligible teams.
The Tigers score 26.8 points per game, tying them for 78th in the country. They rush for 171.3 yards (ranked 57th) and pass for 191.5 passing yards per game (ranked 103rd).
D.J. Uiagalelei had a lot of hype coming into the season, but did not have a great season for Clemson. He has passed for 2,059 yards, nine touchdowns and nine interceptions on 54.7 percent completion. Three wide receivers have over 200 receiving yards on the season. The leading receiver is Justyn Ross, but he isn’t expected to play in this game. Joseph Ngata has 23 catches for 438 yards and one touchdown. He and Beaux Collins will be asked to step up. Collins has had a solid freshman season with 28 catches for 387 yards and three touchdowns.
Freshman Will Shipley has led the team with 678 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Kobe Pace has chipped in with 590 rushing yards and six touchdowns. From the quarterback position, Uiagalelei has 304 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
The defense has been stout, allowing 15.9 points per game, which ranks them second in the country. They give up 98.8 rushing yards (ranked eighth) and 209.6 passing yards per game (ranked 38th). Linebacker James Skalski leads the team with 85 total tackles. Cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. has been impressive at cornerback with five passes defended and three interceptions.
Iowa State Cyclones (7-5)
Iowa State won seven games to make their fifth-straight bowl game. They won games against two bowl-eligible teams in Kansas State and Oklahoma State. All five losses came to teams that qualified for a bowl game.
The Cyclones score 32.8 points per game, tying them for 33rd in the country. They rush for 169 yards (ranked 59th) and pass for 268.8 yards per game (ranked 28th).
Brock Purdy is the longtime starter at quarterback for the Cyclones. He has had a solid season with 2,984 passing yards, 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions on 73.1 percent completion. Six pass-catchers have over 200 receiving yards. Their leading receiver is Xavier Hutchinson who has 82 receptions for 953 yards and five touchdowns. Tight end Charlie Kolar has been productive for years now and this season has 58 receptions for 723 yards and five touchdowns.
Breece Hall has led the rushing attack and is also one of the top running backs in the 2022 NFL Draft. He has 1,472 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns. The second-leading rusher is Purdy from the quarterback position who has 224 rushing yards and one touchdown.
Their defense allows 20.6 points per game, ranking them 20th in the FBS. They give up 122.1 rushing yards (ranked 23rd) and 188.2 passing yards per game (ranked 13th). Linebackers Jack Hummel and Mike Rose lead the team in tackles with 76 and 73 respectively. Will McDonald IV has led the team with 11.5 sacks.
Clemson’s offense hasn’t been great this season, but their defense has been elite. They should be able to shut down Iowa State’s offense and score just enough to win the game.
Clemson Tigers 25 Iowa State Cyclones 20
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