Clemson Football: Can Kelly Bryant out-duel Tide QB Jalen Hurts?

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 02: Kelly Bryant /

Last season, Jalen Hurts nearly lifted Alabama over Clemson in the National Championship. If it wasn’t for the clutch play of Deshaun Watson, the Tigers would have lost. Can first-year starter, Kelly Bryant replicate Clemson’s success against the Tide?

Both Kelly Bryant and Jalen Hurts have played well enough to lead their respective programs to the 2017 College Football Playoff. Now, both Bryant and Hurts will face the best defenses they have played thus far.

Just a year ago, Hurts was a true-freshman looking to prove himself against veteran, Deshaun Watson. Now the tables have turned. After falling short in the national title game last season, Hurts is looking to lead the Tide back to national supremacy. Kelly Bryant looks to extend Clemson’s winning streak over Alabama to two.

Dual-threat QBs

Bryant and Hurts have similar styles of play. At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, Bryant is a physical runner, with the speed to hurt defenses on the edge. Hurts, while not as fast as Bryant, is one of the strongest quarterbacks in the country, both on the field and in the weight room.

Both Bryant and Hurts display inconsistency throwing the football, however, they make the throws necessary to win games. Much of their success in this semifinal matchup, hinges upon the defenses they will face.

Jalen Hurts has completed 60.8 percent of his passes for 1940 yards and 15 touchdowns on the year. While he displays average accuracy, he does a phenomenal job of protecting the football. In his 222 passing attempts on the year, Hurts has thrown just one interception. He will be facing a Clemson defense that ranks 8th in the country in passing defense. The Tigers have held 10 of the 13 quarterbacks they’ve faced to under 60 percent completion percentage.

Kelly Bryant has completed 67.4 percent of his passes for 2678 yards and 13 touchdowns, however, he has thrown six interceptions on the year as well. The Tide rank 7th in the nation in passing defense. Similar to Clemson, Alabama has held 9 of the 12 quarterbacks they’ve faced this year to under 60 percent completion percentage.

Next: History on Clemson's side entering 2017 CFB Playoff

Bryant must perform well through the air to give Clemson its best chance at defeating Alabama. Since Nick Saban took over in Tuscaloosa in 2007, the Tide are 7-9 when giving up three passing touchdowns or more.