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8 Position Battles to Watch For In the New Year’s Six Bowl Games

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4. Clemson Defensive Line vs. Notre Dame Offensive Line (Cotton Bowl) 

Christian Wilkins is atop many NFL draft boards because of his ability to rush the passer (ESPN)

You won’t find a deeper defense on the front-end than Clemson. The Tigers’ defensive line is littered with NFL talent, from the likes of DT Christian Wilkins (40 pressures and 35 stops), to DE Clelin Ferrell (18 TFLs and 11 sacks) to DE Austin Bryant (7 sacks).

They are as cohesive of a unit as they come, and one of the best that rushes the passer. As a matter of fact, Clemson’s defensive line pressured quarterbacks on 45.8% of their defensive pass-rushing snaps in 2018, per PFF, by far the best in the nation.

This is why this group is considered one of the best defensive lines in recent college football history, and one that will challenge the will of Notre Dame’s nearly impenetrable offensive line, which starts two seniors. On the season, the Fighting Irish’s offensive line has allowed a sack on only 4.48% of QB Ian Book’s snaps this season, per Team Rankings.

This matters because Book has been much better inside the pocket than out this season, with a PFF passing grade of 82.6 in the pocket and 48.2 outside the pocket.

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