NOTES: South Carolina at Clemson

Clemson and South Carolina meet for the 112th time this coming Saturday inside of Memorial Stadium.

Tigers, Gamecocks meet for 112th time
•This will be meeting number-112 between Clemson and South Carolina and the 106th consecutive year the two schools have met. That is the second longest active streak of consecutive years played in a rivalry in the nation. The only rivalry longer is Minnesota vs. Wisconsin at 107 games. The two teams also play on November 29.

•The series dates to 1896 and the first year of football at Clemson, the fourth season for South Carolina. Clemson holds the advantage 65-42-4 since that first meeting in Columbia, a game won by South Carolina, 12-6. Clemson’s first win took place the following year, an 18-6 victory in Columbia.

•Clemson’s last win over South Carolina (31-14) took place on November 29, 2008. This year’s game will be held on the same November 29 date.

•South Carolina has won five straight in the series, the longest winless streak in the series for Clemson since the Tigers were 0-5-1 between 1959-54.

•Clemson has more wins over South Carolina than any other school and those victories represent nearly 10 percent of Clemson’s all-time victory total (687). When Clemson won in 2004 it was Clemson’s 600th all-time win.

•The two teams played in Columbia as part of Big Thursday every year through 1959. For the 57 Big Thursday games, Clemson had a 33-21-3 advantage. Since the teams have gone to a home and home schedule in 1960, Clemson has a 32-21-1 advantage. Clemson’s winning percentage is nearly identical home and away over that time. Clemson is 16-10-1 against South Carolina at home since 1960 and 16-11-0 in Columbia.

•The visiting team won seven years in a row between 1991-97.

•Clemson classes who have beaten South Carolina four consecutive years were the seniors of 1900, 1919, 1930, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1983, 1991, 2000 and 2005. In 2005, Charlie Whitehurst became the only quarterback for either team in the series to start four victories.

•Clemson has a record of 49-32-3 in Columbia over the years, including a 30-21-2 mark in Williams-Brice Stadium.

•This weekend’s game will be played on the Saturday after Thanksgiving for the ninth year in a row. Clemson has a 9-8 record against South Carolina when the game is played the Saturday after Thanksgiving or on Thanksgiving Day. The only game played on Thanksgiving was the 1963 contest that was moved from the Saturday before Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving due to the death of President John F. Kennedy.

Top 10 Unusual Facts about the Clemson vs. South Carolina Series
10. Twenty-nine is an unusual number for a point total in football. Yet four times in the last 32 years the winner of the Clemson-South Carolina game has scored 29 points. That includes 2010 when South Carolina defeated Clemson 29-7. Clemson beat South Carolina by the same score in 2004. Clemson won 29-10 in 1988 and 29-13 in 1981.

9. Charlie Whitehurst is the only starting quarterback to lead a team to four wins in the history of the series. He did that for the Tigers between 2002-05.

8.Josh Cody had a 4-0 record for Clemson against South Carolina between 1927-30. He is the only coach in the series to have a perfect record, given a minimum of three games coached.

7.Paul Williams is the last player to letter for both schools. He lettered for Clemson in 1978 and for South Carolina in 1980.

6. A Clemson captain actually played for South Carolina. Cary Cox lettered for the Gamecocks in 1943. After the war, he enrolled at Clemson and served as captain for the Tigers in 1947. Cox died in 2008.

5. Clemson had three touchdown plays of at least 76 yards against South Carolina in 2006, yet lost the game. Jacoby Ford scored on 76-yard touchdown pass, C.J. Spiller on a 80-yard run and Jock McKissic on a 82-yard interception return. It is the only game in Clemson history in which Clemson has had three scoring plays of at least 75 yards….and lost the game.

4. In 1948 and 1981 a blocked punt returned for a touchdown proved to be the pivotal play in a Clemson victory, victories that allowed Clemson to go on to an undefeated season. In both instances, the original line of scrimmage was the South Carolina 28-yard-line.

3. Willie Underwood had two interceptions to lead Clemson to victory over South Carolina in 1980. A starter for four years, the strong safety never had recorded an interception in any of his first 46 games as a Tiger, then had two against the Gamecocks in his 47th and final game. One of the thefts was a 37-yard return for a touchdown, the only touchdown of his career.

2. In a placekicking career that spanned five years, Bob Paulling made 107 of 109 extra points. Both of his misses were at South Carolina, one in 1981 and one in 1983. He had a streak of 70 consecutive made extra points (second longest in Clemson history) in between the two miscues.

1. In the 30 games that Frank Howard coached for Clemson against South Carolina, Clemson scored 411 points and South Carolina scored 411 points.

Throw out the Record Books?
We always hear the phrase, “You can throw out the record books when these two teams get together.” While there have been some upsets in this series, usually the team with the better record comes away with the victory. The team entering the game with the better overall record has a 19-9-1 record in the series since 1981. That computes to 67 percent over a 33-year period. Four times during that era both teams had the same record.

However, the norm has been broken in recent years. Seven of the last nine years the team with the better overall record entering the game has lost. For the history of the series, Clemson has a 40-18-3 record when it enters the contest with the better record, a 68 winning percentage.

Clemson has had the better record in 61 of the 111 previous meetings. The teams have had the same winning percentage entering the game nine times and Clemson has a 6-3 record in those situations.

Thus, Clemson is 47-21-3 (.693) against South Carolina over the years when the Tigers enter the game with at least the same record as South Carolina. Clemson has a 65-42-4 advantage in the series overall, so the Gamecocks have a 21-18-1 record in the series when they enter the game with the better record.

Clemson Defense vs. South Carolina Offense
When South Carolina has the ball this Saturday, one of the top offenses in the nation will be going against one of the top all-around defenses.

Clemson is ranked number-one in the nation in total defense, allowing just 252.5 yards per game. Clemson also leads the nation in third-down conversion defense, allowing opponents to convert just .271 of the opportunities. Clemson also paces the country in tackles for loss per game at 9.9. Clemson led the nation in that category last year with 10 per game.

Clemson ranks in the top 10 in the county in rushing defense, passing defense and scoring defense as well. The Tigers are limiting opponents to just 151.5 yards per game through the air, second in the nation, and allowing just 100.8 yards per game on the ground, seventh best nationally. The Tigers are allowing just 17.6 points per game, eighth best in the country.

South Carolina’s offense will be a big challenge for the Tigers as the Gamecocks are #22 in the nation in passing yardage, averaging 282 yards per game through the air. They are also #16 in getting first downs (271), and 20th in redzone offense, scoring either by a touchdown or field goal 88.9 percent of the time. The Gamecocks average 34.8 points per game, #31 in the nation and gain 461 yards per game, #26 in the country. Three players stand out for the Gamecocks on offense and will keep the Tigers defenders busy. Dylan Thompson is #17 in the nation in passing yards per game at 275.5 and he is 32nd in passing efficiency. He quarterbacked South Carolina to victory at Clemson in 2012.

His favorite target is Pharoh Cooper, who has eight touchdown catches and averages 83.7 receiving yards per game. He needs just 79 receiving yards to reach 1000 yards for the season. He also averages 8.2 yards per rush out of the Wildcat formation and has thrown two touchdown passes. He threw a touchdown pass against Clemson last year.

Mike Davis is the top rusher this year with 888 yards and he has 2,346 for his career with 22 touchdowns. Davis is the younger brother of former Clemson All-ACC running back James Davis, who played for the Tigers from 2005-08 and is still Clemson’s #2 ranked rusher of all-time with 3881 yards.

Clemson Has Two Shutouts
Clemson recorded its second shutout of the season in the win over Georgia State, a 28-0 Tigers victory. Earlier in the year Clemson shut out N.C. State, 41-0. This is the first time Clemson has shutout two teams in the same year since 1998. That was an odd year in that Clemson had two shutouts one defense and two on offense.

This is the first time Clemson has registered a pair of shutouts in the same year over FBS teams since 1990 when Clemson had shutouts against Long Beach State in the opener and Illinois in the bowl game.

Dye Turns in 124-Yard Game
Clemson freshman running back Tyshon Dye added to the list of outstanding performances by freshman offensive players when he had 20 carries for 124 yards and two scores in the win over Georgia State. Dye, who had six carries for at least eight yards in the game, had the high rushing total of the year by a Clemson back in helping the Tigers to that 28-0 victory.

It was just the second game of Dye’s career as he missed all of 2013 with a back injury and then suffered an Achilles injury last February. He did not get into a game this year until the Wake Forest game on November 6.

Dye is the first Clemson running back to get a 100-yard game within his first two games as a Tiger since 2005 when James Davis had 101 yards in 19 carries in his first career game against Texas A&M.

Swinney Looking for 60th Win
Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney established an ACC record for wins by a league coach in his first seven years with a conference program. The win over Georgia State was his 59th in 85 games. He broke the record of 58 that had been set by Jerry Claiborne of Maryland from 1972-78. Claiborne, who also coached against Clemson as the head coach at Kentucky, won 58 games in his first seven years at Maryland.

If Swinney and the Tigers defeat South Carolina it will give him 60 career wins in 86 games. The Clemson record for fewest games to reach 60 wins is 84 games by Danny Ford from 1978-86. So if the Tigers can defeat South Carolina he will be just two games off the pace of Danny Ford to reach the 60 win plateau. It took Frank Howard 104 games to reach 60 wins when he was the Clemson coach from 1940-69. Howard ended his career with 165 wins, still the Clemson record.

Lawson Sixth among Sophomores in Tackles for Loss
Shaq Lawson had his 10th tackle for loss of the season in the win over Georgia State. He is now second on the team behind Vic Beasley in that category. This is the second straight year Lawson has 10 tackles for loss and he now has 20 for his career, 17th among active ACC players. He is the first Clemson defensive player with at least 10 tackles for loss as a freshman and a sophomore since Anthony Simmons did it in 1995 and 1996. Lawson is also sixth in the nation among sophomore active FBS players in tackles for loss with 20.

Clemson Trying for ACC Defense Grand Slam
Clemson leads the ACC in a number of defensive categories, including total defense (252.4), scoring defense (17.6) and pass efficiency defense (100.8) . The Tigers are third in the ACC in rushing defense, trailing Louisville and Boston College, but the Tigers are just 12 yards per game behind leader Louisville.

No Clemson team has ever achieved the ACC defense grand slam (leading in all four major defense categories in the same year.)

According to the ACC media guide, the same ACC team has led the league in total, pass, rush and scoring defense in the same year nine times. Florida State has done it five years (1993, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2012.) North Carolina accomplished the feat in 1977 and Maryland in 1976. South Carolina was the first school to lead in all four categories, achieving the feat in 1957.

Turnovers and TOP the Story of South Carolina’s Five-Game Streak
South Carolina has defeated Clemson each of the last five years and the big reasons have been turnover margin and time of possession. Over the five games Clemson has committed 15 turnovers and South Carolina has just three. That includes a 12/1 margin the last four years combined. Over the last five years South Carolina leads the points off turnovers statistic, 62-0.

Over the last six years Clemson is +199 points in terms of points off turnovers against everyone not named South Carolina and outscored by 62 (62-0) against the Gamecocks. Clemson leads the opposition 62-52 in that category this year.

In terms of time of possession, Clemson has averaged possession of the ball 22:40 and South Carolina has had it on average 37:20. In terms of plays, Clemson has had the ball for just 58 plays a game he last five years, while South Carolina has had possession for 77 plays per game. Last year Clemson outgained South Carolina 352-318, but had the ball for just 21:51. Clemson had six turnovers and South Carolina scored 21 points off those turnovers in a 31-17 victory.

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