Painful memories

CLEMSON - Dalton Freeman remembers all too well what happened the game after Clemson clinched the school's first ACC Atlantic Division title.

Just a week after knocking off Virginia at home on Senior Day in 2009, the newly crowned ACC Atlantic champs were handed an embarrassing 34-17 defeat by rival South Carolina.

Clemson has two more regular season games left on this year's slate before they head to Charlotte for the ACC Championship.

That same mistake won't be made again. With games against N.C. State and South Carolina still on the schedule, Freeman said no one has looked ahead to the first weekend in December.

"That's something that we brought up in our leadership council [on Monday]," he said. "It's just a totally different mindset than years past. It's something that we've done a great job in the offseason. That's where it starts -- those mat drills, winter workouts, spring practice and all summer.

"It's the mindset that you've got to have. I think we're a lot mentally tougher team that's got more discipline and a lot more focus week in and week out than we've ever had."

Plenty has changed around Clemson over the last two years. Plus, there are too many players on this team who were around back in 2009.

No need to classify Saturday's trip to Raleigh as a trap game.

"We've got a totally different set of guys, totally different set of coaches and a totally different mindset," Freeman said. "We're only guaranteed 12 games a year and we work 365 days for it. I don't think this is a trap game by any means."

A win against the Wolfpack would make the Tigers the first ACC Atlantic champion to run the table against divisional opponents. It would also be the first 10-win season in Clemson history since 1990.

"There's a lot at stake and I think our guys are ready for the challenge," Freeman said. Top Stories