No. 2 Clemson might finally have a significant issue to deal with this season.
The defending national champions have looked just about perfect on offense and defense this season. But this week, the Tigers are starting life without junior kicker Greg Huegel, who's been an integral part of the team's past two seasons of success.
Huegel got rolled up on by a defender Wednesday at practice while the team was going through a two-minute drill. Huegel tore a knee ligament and will need season-ending surgery.
“It is a big loss, we are talking about a two-time all-conference kicker," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said.
Huegel had scored 21 points this season with 15 extra points and two field goals, including a career-long 49 yarder last week at Louisville.
Huegel's loss means the Tigers will go with backup junior Alex Spence, a kicker who's never attempted a college field goal in game action. Spence, a junior, has kicked off twice and made an extra point in Clemson's blowout win over Kent State three weeks ago.
Clemson's prolific offense _ it put up 613 yards at Louisville last week _ can sometimes make it seem like worrying about kicks is the same as a billionaire pinching pennies.
Still, the Tigers have soared the previous two seasons with few injuries to their most important players. Swinney is eager to see how his specialists will respond.
"I have confidence in our kickers," Swinney said.