No. 5 Clemson is fresh coming off an open date.The last beat Syracuse on Oct. 22 to improve to 8-0 overall and 6-0 in the ACC. Now they hit the Mason Rudolph Jersey road and put their unbeaten record and the longest winning streak in FBS on the line at Notre Dame.Saturday's non-conference game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., and The Fighting Irish are 5-3 after a 41-24 victory at Syracuse in Week 9 and host the Tigers for the second time in three years.Here are five storylines to follow heading into a critical game for Clemson in a tough environment:1. Self-evaluation: The Tigers certainly needed the rest during the off week after eight consecutive games, but they also needed time to improve some areas. Obvioulsy, the quarterback situation will be under scrutiny, and DJ will be looking for a bounce-back game after getting benched against Syracuse. The is coming off a dominant second-half effort in the last game, but it's looking for four quarters of that kind of play.During the weekly grind, it can be difficult to truly a se s strengths and weakne ses. The coaching staff had plenty of time to figure out areas of improvement and get an early start on Notre Dame. We'll see if it pays off and if the Tigers can put together a complete effort, something Dabo feels his team is close to doing.2. Remembering 2020: This is a big game for a lot of people. Clemson fans didn't get to experience the bucket-list item of a trip to Notre Dame. COVID-19 limited attendance to 11,000 two years ago in South Bend. But on the flip side, the Tiger faithful weren't on hand to witne s the team's only regular-season lo s that year. DJ Uiagalelei started in place of Trevor Lawrence, who was in COVID Devin Bush Jersey protocol and threw for 439 yards and two touchdowns.But Notre Dame shut down Travis Etienne late and won 47-40 in overtime. The Tigers eventually got their revenge with a win in the ACC title game the one year the Irish played a conference schedule. There are a lot of current Tigers who played in that game, and they'll have plenty to say about a return trip to the historic venue that's hosting Clemson for just the second time in three seasons.Scroll to Continue3. CFP start: Tuesday is the day. The College Football Playoff committee will release the first rankings of the 2022 season. Will Clemson start in the top four? Or will they begin the playoff push at five or six? It may or may not matter in the long run. Time will tell, but it's something everybody will be paying attention to and talking about this week.Clemson's already failed some analysts' "eye test," so the reaction to the initial rankings will be as Stephon Tuitt Jersey intriguing as the unveiling.It also provides an opportunity to hear what the committee thinks about the succe sful start and how they compare to others. Notre Dame was supposed to provide Clemson with a game that could build the Tigers' case, but the Irish fell from No. 5 in the preseason to out of the AP Top 25. It's still an important game against a big brand in college football.4. Dame defense: The Irish have a formidable stop unit awaiting the Tigers. Notre Dame ranks in the top 30 in ESPN's SP+ defensive rankings, and it's a spot below Clemson in yards allowed per game at 334.5. This will be one of the best fronts the Tigers have seen this year, so it'll be a big week for the Clemson offensive line that's done a good job protecting Uiagalelei.Opening up run lanes won't be easy against the Irish, but Clemson running back is one of the top playmakers in the ACC and is on a hot streak. Chris Wormley Jersey With an extra week to prepare, will Clemson unveil some new looks and formations to help Shipley get in space? Also, ND will try to put a lot of the game on Uiagalelei's shoulders, and he'll have to prove the Syracuse game was just one bad week in what's been a good season for him.5. Run stoppers: The Clemson defense struggled early in the season against the pa s as it dealt with injuries and inexperience, but in the last two games, Clemson's been challenged by the run. The Tigers gave up 206 yards rushing at Jack Lambert Jersey FSU followed by 124 to Syracuse. The QB runs have especially been tough to stop, and there's been a lack of continuity up front as a couple of players worked their way back from injuries.Notre Dame has struggled to move the ball with consistency through the air and is not an explosive team. The Irish rank 80th in plays that have gone for 20 or more yards. Having to rely on Drew Pyne, a backup quarterback to start the year, has led to i sues on this side of the ball, but Notre Dame has found itself in the run game, producing more than 200 rushing yards in four of its last five games.Audric Estim averages 5.6 yards per carry and has eight rushing touchdowns.Interact with fellow Tiger fans and hear directly from publisher Zach Lentz, deputy editor Brad Senkiw, recruiting analyst Jason Priester and staff writer Will Vandervort on any subject. Get your Tiger tickets from SI Tickets Do us a HUGE favor and like, subscribe and follow us on social media:LIKE us on Facebook: SUBSCRIBE: FOLLOW All Clemson on Twitter:More on All Clemson: