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Richard Shiro, Associated Press
Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins (2) watches the closing minutes of the team's 34-13 loss to South Carolina during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011, in Columbia, S.C.

CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson defense coordinator Kevin Steele says his group's dominant showing the last time it faced Virginia Tech won't have much bearing on Saturday night's Atlantic Coast Conference title game.

Steele better hope he's wrong.

The 21st-ranked Tigers (9-3) haven't looked much better than they did at Lane Stadium in a 23-3 victory on Oct. 1. Clemson gained national headlines with the win, holding the Hokies to 258 yards and without a touchdown at home for the first time in 16 years.

The Tigers haven't been as solid since then, giving up 410 yards and 35 points a game in their last six contests. Meanwhile, heading into Saturday's game in Charlotte, N.C. the fifth-ranked Hokies (11-1) have won seven straight since their lone loss to the Tigers.