Preview of #1 Clemson at South Carolina

#1 Clemson is 11-0 and looks to finish the regular season undefeated for the first time since 1981, winning its second consecutive Palmetto Bowl along the way. The annual grudge match will take place in Columbia this year, and nothing would make the Gamecocks happier than to deprive Clemson of another national championship. Enjoy my preview of the Palmetto State's Super Bowl!

Welcome to the State Championship edition of What We Are Hearing! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, and I appreciate your patience with the WWAH, as this has been a hectic week to say the least. I guess this season a true state champ can’t be declared unless the winner of Clemson and South Carolina plays The Citadel, but that’s a technicality. I’m not sure Nostradamus would have foreseen the scenario we are witnessing this week—an undefeated #1 Clemson team rolling into Columbia to play a beleaguered South Carolina team that is coming off a historic home loss at the hands of The Citadel. Not to knock The Citadel, who always gives Clemson and South Carolina a good fight, but for the record Clemson has NEVER lost to an FCS opponent. The Orange Crush was resurrected last season, as South Carolina was swept by Tennessee, Florida and Clemson like so many years before. The Crush is two-thirds complete this season, and is awaiting Clemson to close the deal. I’m not sure our Gamecock friends could have envisioned a worse fate for themselves than to lose Spurrier and finish a bowless season by losing at home to The Citadel and getting hammered by Clemson at home, 2003 style. That would make for a LONG wait until baseball season, wouldn’t it? Perhaps their fine women’s basketball team can give them something to get excited about over the holidays.

But enough about the toils and tribulations of our rivals for now. This season has been all about Clemson, and that is why this team has been able to take care of business week in and week out. This team has prepared for each and every opponent as if it’s the last game they will ever play, and it’s why Dabo Swinney has mad Clemson one of the two most consistent programs in the entire nation over the last 4 years. Clemson has now won 38 consecutive games against unranked teams for one reason. They don’t overlook anyone. A lot of coaches and players say that, but Dabo has figured out to make the cliché a reality. Of course, it also helps when you recruit as well as Dabo has and more often than not have far superior talent than your opponent, but that didn’t stop Clemson from losing to inferior opponents in the old days under Tommy Bowden. Those days are a distant memory, as this team shows up with focus and effort no matter who is on the field with them, and the standard that they expect from themselves does not vary. They know that they are a good enough team to beat any team if they stick to their high standard of preparation, and they don’t deviate from it no matter what. That is why Dabo just shakes his head every week when he gets the obligatory questions about how to keep his team focused and not looking past an opponent, despite being the #1 team. He honestly sounds like a broken record at times, and in his ACC teleconference the other day, he said, “Sooner or later, y’all are going to stop asking me those types of questions.” Dabo’s cynicism and frustration are understandable. You’d think after 4 years and 38 straight wins versus unranked teams that the media would get the message: this team does not have “let downs.”

Saturday’s game versus Wake Forest was yet another televised demonstration of that truism. The Tigers had every reason to underestimate the 3-7 Deacs and take a win for granted, but once again this team showed that they are impervious to such a mentality. Both sides of the ball dominated and took a 30-7 lead into the locker room at halftime. The only touchdown the defense allowed came after an interception gave Wake a short field. The defense shut Wake out for the rest of the game until the last few minutes when several backups were in. Aside from a few turnovers, the Tigers played inspired and with no let up. Clemson was minus the Wayne Train, as Gallman spent the game convalescing on the sideline, but the Tigers were still able to rush for 200 yards. Watson made a couple of bad throws, but he redeemed himself in spades with 3 touchdown passes and another touchdown on the ground. He was 24-35 with nearly 400 total yards. Greg Huegel continues to be Mr. Automatic (on field goals, anyway), splitting the uprights two more times against Wake. He remains perfect in ACC play for the season. Let’s hope that continues in tomorrow’s SEC game! As mentioned, Wayne Gallman benefitted from a week off to heal his ankle, and Mackensie Alexander also took a hiatus. True freshman Jake Fruhmorgen got his first start at right tackle in Joe Gore’s stead, as he missed a couple of days due to a personal matter. Tyrone Crowder and Ray-Ray McCloud were also out of action, but you wouldn’t know it from the way the Tigers performed. Much has been made of some other teams’ injuries this season, but many seem to forget that Clemson lost starting linebacker Korrin Wiggins in August and All-ACC WR Mike Williams in the very first game. The Tigers have had several players banged up along the way, such as starting center Ryan Norton, but have had the depth to be able to recover with little or no drop off. Knock on wood!

If you haven’t already done so, you can read my grades and analysis of the Wake game HERE.

As we approach the final game of the regular season, Watson has steadily improved his position in the Heisman race, and he is now firmly in the top 2 or 3 in the minds of most voters. He is almost a lock for a trip to New York as a finalist, but if he wants to make a late surge to the forefront, he’ll need to put up some stellar numbers in the next two games. In my opinion, the pure statistics are not on Watson’s side. He has very good numbers, but they are not as good as we’ve seen from past Heisman winners like Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston. However, DW has a couple of things that are very much in his favor. First, he is the only quarterback in the thick of the race. Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield has an outside chance. He has more touchdown passes and fewer interceptions than Watson, and he had that memorable “Heisman moment” at the end of the Baylor game in Waco a couple weeks ago. However, Mayfield did not play most of the game against TCU last week, and it doesn’t help his cause that he had a mediocre performance in the loss to unranked Texas. As the solitary quarterback in the top 3, Watson has a tremendous advantage. 2009 is the last time a QB did not win the award. Ironically, that was the year in which C.J. Spiller was robbed of his rightful Heisman because of Clemson’s W-L record, and the award went to Alabama’s Mark Ingram—Spiller’s current running mate in New Orleans. Perhaps this will be the year that the quarterback trend breaks, but certainly the law of probability is in Deshaun’s corner. The other thing working in Watson’s favor is the fact that the ACC Championship Game is looking to be a much bigger stage than originally anticipated. If North Carolina is able to win its rivalry game at NC State, the Heels will come into Charlotte as one of the hottest teams in the nation and potentially a top-10 team. Florida, on the other hand, looked terrible last week and barely avoided a catastrophic home overtime loss to Florida Atlantic. They have a shot at some redemption against FSU in the Swamp tomorrow, but if they lose that one badly, the SEC Championship will be a far lower profile game than that of the ACC. So Watson could have the perfect opportunity to leap past Alabama’s Derrick Henry in the minds of the voters just before they submit their ballots. Finally, the exact same factor that prevented Spiller from winning the Heisman in 2009 could help win it for Watson. He is the best player on the #1 team in the nation—and possibly the only undefeated team in the nation—going into the voting. That shouldn’t determine the Heisman winner, but the reality is that it very much does and has influenced the voting more often than not over the years. It’s obviously been a dream season thus far, but the dream would be made complete with Clemson winning both the Heisman and a National Title!

As for recruiting, this is shaping up to be yet another great class in February. Things are looking very good for Clemson’s chances of landing 5-star DT Dexter Lawrence from North Carolina. If you haven’t yet read Gary’s Recruiting Radar we published yesterday, you can view it HERE. Check out his update on Big Dexter, as well as some score predictions for the big game tomorrow from some of Clemson’s commits and prospects!

Gary's recruiting photo gallery from the Wake game can be viewed HERE. For the first time this season, I will have some help for a road game. Gary will be there as well as John Bolton and Joni, so we will have some great photos for you next week, from the tailgating scene all the way through the game and (hopefully) Clemson's post-game celebration with the Orange-clad fans in the stands! 

 

MISCELLANEOUS

Players of the game against Wake Forest were Germone Hopper on offense, Kevin Dodd on defense and Dorian O'Daniel on special teams.....Shaq Lawson is #2 in the nation in tackles-for-loss. The Lombardi and Nagurski Award finalist has 19 TFL's on the season and trails only Penn State's Carl Nassib, who has 19.5.....Deshaun Watson is a finalist for the Maxwell and O'Brien Awards. He is now 14-0 in games he has started and finished.....Jordan Leggett is a finalist for the Mackey Award....The Clemson offensive line is a finalist for the Joe Moore Award.....Clemson has the longest win streak in the nation, at 14 games. If Clemson wins tomorrow, it will tie the school record for consecutive wins....Clemson finished the ACC regular season 8-0 for the first time in school history.....The Clemson senior class broke the 2014 class's record for wins, with 43. This senior class also has a school record for win percentage and ACC wins, with 27....Clemson has won 38 consecutive games against unranked teams, dating back to 2011....This is meeting 113 between Clemson and South Carolina and the 107th consecutive meeting. That is the second-longest active streak in the nation, behind only Minnesota and Wisconsin, at 108 games. The only reason it is not the longest streak is because it was discontinued for 7 years in the early 1900's due to riots between the two fan bases.....Clemson leads the all-time series 66-42-4. Clemson has won exactly 700 games in program history. It has beaten South Carolina more times than any other team. Wake Forest is second on the list, with 63 wins for Clemson....Clemson's win over South Carolina in 2004 was win #600 in Clemson history....The two teams used to play on Big Thursday every year through 1959. Clemson was 33-21-3 in those games. Since then, Clemson leads 33-21-1.....The visiting team won 7 straight years from 1991-97.....Charlie Whitehurst is the only QB for either school to win 4 games in the series. Deshaun Watson told his high school coach that one of his goals was to beat South Carolina every time he played them.....Clemson holds a 49-31-3 lead in Columbia and 30-20-2 in Williams-Brice Stadium. However, Clemson has not won in Columbia since 2007 and has not won an afternoon game there since 1999....The disparity in wins between the two teams (8) is the largest in series history. The previous record was in 1999 when Clemson was 5-5 entering the game and beat an 0-11 South Carolina team....This is the first time in history either team has held a #1 ranking entering the game....Clemson was 11-0 and ranked #2 in 1981 when it defeated South Carolina 29-13 and went on to win the national title. South Carolina's hisghest rank entering the game was #9 in 1984, when they defeated Clemson 22-21....29 is an unusual point total in football, yet 4 times in the last 33 years, the winner of this game has scored 29 points. 3 of the 4 were won by Clemson, in 2004, 1988 and 1981....Cary Cox lettered for the Gamecocks in 1943 and was later Captain for the Tigers in 1947, after serving in WWII....In both 1948 and 1981, a blocked punt returned for a touchdown proved to be a pivotal play in a victory for an undefeated Clemson team against South Carolina....In the 30 games that Frank Howard coached for Clemson against South Carolina, each team scored exactly 411 points....

 

SOUTH CAROLINA NATIVES OF NOTE ON THE CLEMSON ROSTER

 

Ben Boulware, Anderson

Kelly Bryant, Calhoun Falls

Hunter Renfrow, Myrtle Beach

Jadar Johnson, Orangeburg

Charone Peake, Moore

B.J. Goodson, Lamar

Shaq Lawson, Central

Kevin Dodd, Taylors

C.J. Davidson, Clemson

Cordrea Tankersley, Beech Island

Ryan Norton, Simpsonville

Stanton Seckinger, Isle of Palms

C.J. Fuller, Easley

Marcus Edmond, Hopkins

Jalen Williams, Columbia

Kendall Joseph, Belton

Albert Huggins, Orangeburg

Cannon Smith, Columbia

Jay Jay McCullough, Fort Mill

Judah Davis, Clemson

J.D. Davis, Clemson

Rod Byers, Rock Hill

T.J. Burrell, Goose Creek

Taylor Hearn, Williston

Martin Aiken, Smoaks

Jim Brown, Walterboro

 

 

CLEMSON STATUS

Just to reiterate, this Clemson team does not need a reason to self-motivate, regardless of the opponent. We have heard the same company line from every coach and player since August when they were preparing for Wofford: “It’s all about Clemson and playing to our standard. Nothing else matters.” Consequently, it wouldn’t make a difference if this team were about to play Wake Forest again or their in-state arch rivals. The team would go about their business and routine the exact same way. However, don’t think that this game doesn’t carry “a little extra juice,” as Dabo likes to say. The veterans on this team finally got over the hump last year and ended the five-year funk against Spurrier and the Gamecocks, and it was in large part thanks to 3 freshmen: Wayne Gallman, Artavis Scott and Deshaun Watson, who was essentially playing on one leg. The demons of the past were exorcised for the older players on the team, and many of the younger ones don’t know what it’s like to lose to South Carolina. What often goes overlooked about this team is the fact that it is one of the youngest teams in the nation. Only Rice and Boise State have played more freshmen this season than Clemson. Between the dominant win last season and the youthful exuberance on this year’s team, the ghosts that haunted this team during that five-year losing streak seem long gone. That being said, the senior leaders on this team like Eric Mac Lain, B.J. Goodson and Charone Peake have never won in Columbia, and you can bet that they desperately want to change that tomorrow. In fact, Peake talked about how nice it would be to be able to return to his hometown with bragging rights on all the Gamecock fans. You know that this game also holds a special significance for the other numerous South Carolina natives on this roster, such as Ben Boulware, Hunter Renfrow, Stanton Seckinger, Shaq Lawson, Kevin Dodd, Cordrea Tankersley and Jadar Johnson. LB Jalen Williams saw quite a bit of playing time last week against Wake Forest, and he hails from Columbia, so you know he will be fired up when he sees the field tomorrow. Since I brought up Tankersley, he has been one of the unsung heroes of this team all season. Everyone knew he would be challenged by every team because of Mackensie Alexander's reputation, and Tank has been equal to the task. In fact, he recorded his 4th interception of the season against Wake when he did a great job staying at home in coverage on a trick play. He leads the team in picks and had that big pick-six before halftime at Miami.

Statistically, it is easy to see why Clemson has remained the #1 team in the nation for the past 4 weeks. The Tigers are #5 in total defense (278 yards per game), #20 in rush defense (122.8 yds/game), #3 in pass defense (155.4 yds/game) and #12 in scoring defense (17.6 points/game). Clemson’s defense is also #1 in the nation on 3rd down (22.5%), #1 in three-and-outs per game, #14 in sacks and #3 in tackles-for-loss.

On offense, Clemson is #14 in total offense (501 yds/game), #24 in passing offense (289.3 yds/game), #27 in rushing offense (212.1 yds/game) and #17 in scoring offense (38.0 points/game). Clemson is the only team ranked in the top 17 in both scoring offense and scoring defense. It is also the only team ranked in the top 14 in both total defense and total offense. Dominant on both sides of the ball, balanced running and passing on offense, and a great kicker. Sounds like the profile of the #1 team to me.

Injury-wise, Clemson has been a little banged up over the past few weeks, but it enters the final stretch in good shape. The Wayne Train was able to take a week off and get back to 100%, as was Mackensie Alexander. Dabo said that both of them could have played against Wake had they been needed. Tyrone Crowder will be back tomorrow as well after taking the past couple games off. Maverick Morris performed very well in Gore’s absence. Ray-Ray McCloud, however, is questionable at this time. My gut tells me that we will not see him in the game tomorrow. Watson is not wanting for weapons right now, and there is no need to risk rushing him back from the knee injury. Dabo said that he did look good in practice earlier in the week, but I imagine the staff will decide to err on the side of caution. Fortunately, Hopper is playing as well right now as he has in his entire career, and Deon Cain has become one of the most consistent big-play wide receivers in the ACC over the past month. Charone Peake has also allayed any criticisms and doubts about his ability that may have existed back in October. He and Watson seem to have a great feel for each other right now, and Peake has been a reliable option on 3rd down and in the vertical passing game.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that a few of the players mentioned the last time they were in Columbia two years ago and that the Gamecock fans threw things like batteries at them. Not that Clemson players need any extra motivation or inducement to run the score up on South Carolina tomorrow, but I'm sure they will take extra gratification in doing so because of the nasty, classless and downright threatening treatment they have received.

 

SOUTH CAROLINA SYNOPSIS

It would be a gross understatement to say that this has been season has been a misery for Gamecock fans. There’s an old saying that the higher you climb, the longer you fall, and that is a concept all too familiar in Columbia this season. After an unprecedented 5 years of success in their 120-year history, South Carolina has lost its patriarch and is on the cusp of its first losing season in over a decade. Even after a mediocre season last year, the Gamecocks were still able to win the bowl game against Miami—another program in search of a new coach—but few were expecting the fallout that was to ensue this season. Things began to look bleak for South Carolina when they were embarrassed by a Georgia team that has since been exposed as an overrated fraud. After the distraction and chaos of Steve Spurrier’s mid-season abandonment, the team seemed to be reinvigorated and reunited under the leadership of Interim Head Coach Shawn Elliott. They were at least playing hard and inspired and were involved in close games at Texas A&M, at Tennessee and versus Florida a couple weeks ago. However, the façade came crashing down at the hands of a feisty team from The Citadel last week, as the Gamecocks were stunned by a loss on their own turf to the in-state FCS foe. As if the odd weren’t stacked high enough against South Carolina’s chances of beating the #1 team in the nation, the dose of reality administered by The Citadel seems to have completely eradicated any hope that even the most fervently loyal Gamecock fans have of pulling off the miracle upset tomorrow. Many have surmised that there will be more Orange and metallic silver visible in the stands than garnet and black. While it’s entirely possible that many will forego the risk of witnessing a massacre first-hand, I will not be surprised in the least to see an enthused—albeit fragile—fan base at Williams Brice come kickoff. Many of them may leave early if things start to get out of hand—such as they did in 2003—but keep in mind that this is close to a national championship game for Gamecock fans. The opportunity to beat a #1 Clemson, robbing the Tigers of their dream season and national championship, is a prospect that would surpass by great lengths the disappointment of a losing season. That would keep South Carolina fans warm inside throughout the frigid winter months and give them a reason to remain excited about football. I have a feeling the thought of that—no matter how remote the possibility—will be too good for most ticket-holders to ignore. Remember, too, that even when this program was riding the nation’s longest losing streak 15 years ago—at over 20 consecutive losses—the stadium was still full of fans every week.

As with Clemson, the statistics tell the tale for South Carolina’s 3-8 record. The Gamecocks are 101st in the nation in total offense (359 yds/game), 86th in passing offense (206.3 yds/game), 92nd in rushing offense (152.3 yds/game) and 109th in scoring offense (21.0 points/game). Defensively, it’s not much better. They are 91st in total defense (422 yds/game), 41st in pass defense (206.4 yds/game), 113th in rush defense (215.7 yds/game) and 63rd in scoring defense (26.6 points/game). Their red zone defense is 47th in the nation (81.0%) and red zone offense is 58th (84.4%). South Carolina's 3rd down offense is #106 in the nation (34.9%) and their 3rd down defense is #107 (45.1%). Clemson is ranked #23 and #1 in these categories, respectively.

They gave up exactly 350 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns in the loss to The Citadel last week, but it should be noted that the Bulldogs run the notorious triple-option offense. The Citadel only had 37 passing yards in the game. Probably more disconcerting for the Gamecocks was their inability to score on The Citadel—especially at home. They were only able to muster 22 points and gained just 72 rushing yards. South Carolina will find that Clemson’s D is a little stingier than that of the Bulldogs from Charleston. There is always the possibility that the Gamecocks were looking ahead to the Clemson game and thought they could beat The Citadel without their best effort. In that respect, I expect to see a better product at Williams-Brice tomorrow than was exhibited last week.

For South Carolina, Pharoah Cooper is their Luke Skywalker—he is their only hope. Without Cooper, the Gamecocks would resemble Kansas and some of the other worst teams in the entire country. He is as dynamic and explosive a player as you will find in the SEC, and he is the one player on the South Carolina roster who would start for Clemson without a doubt. Shawn Elliott and company will get the ball in his hands any way possible and use him in many creative capacities. They will undoubtedly run the wildcat formation with Cooper behind center, and they will even let Cooper throw the ball. They successfully executed a trick play against Florida a couple weeks ago, in which Cooper threw a touchdown to Perry Orth. They will probably even use Cooper as a decoy on several plays, expecting Clemson to be preoccupied with him, so the Tigers’ secondary will have to caution against letting another receiver get behind the coverage for a deep ball. Clemson was able to exploit Sammy Watkins successfully in that very same way, and Pharoah Cooper provides the same type of threat. Fortunately, the Tigers have a couple of lock down, physical corners in Mackensie Alexander and Cordrea Tankersley, and I like their ability, along with Kearse and Green, to mitigate the big plays by Cooper.

Offensively, expect the Gamecocks to bring the kitchen sink tomorrow. Much like Syracuse, they don’t really have a true identity on offense, so the Clemson defense will see a little bit of everything. Again, they will get the ball to Pharoah Cooper as much as possible, and we will see a lot of misdirection. I expect to see a heavy dose of screens from Perry Orth tomorrow. He will have to get rid of the ball quickly in order to avoid the Clemson pass rush. Orth does move very well in the pocket, though, so he might be able to exacerbate the Tigers’ pass rushers long enough to find Pharoah Cooper, another receiver or tight end. There will also be no shortage of trick plays on both offense and special teams. The Gamecocks have nothing to lose, and it’s the last game of the season for them, win lose or draw, so they won’t leave anything up their sleeves.

Defensively, the Gamecocks have had a hard time generating a pass rush. It is a stark contrast to the defense they had during the greatest 5-year stretch in their history. They simply don’t have the talent and the athletes they had on those teams. South Carolina is #83 in sacks and #73 in tackles-for-loss. Clemson, on the other hand, is 20th in sacks allowed and 25th in tackles-for-loss allowed. On the other side of the ball, Clemson’s D is #14 in sacks and #3 in TFL’s. The South Carolina offense is 59th in sacks allowed and 47th in TFL’s allowed. Advantage in the trenches: Clemson.

The South Carolina secondary has a respectable 12 interceptions (37th nationally), but their defense has only recovered 5 fumbles (99th). On the other side of the turnover margin, the Gamecocks have only lost 3 fumbles all season, which is #2 in the nation, but they have thrown 11 interceptions (#89). Given the fact that South Carolina isn’t likely to run the ball as much as pass it, and the strength of Clemson’s defense is the secondary, that plays in the Tigers’ favor. In a statistical mismatch like this, the one variable that gives the underdog a glimmer of hope is the turnover battle. The only reason Clemson came out of Columbia with a loss two years ago was that they turned the ball over too many times. If that happens again, the game will be much closer than it should be.

Elliott Fry had a good season last year and has passed Ryan Succop for 2nd place on the all-time South Carolina FG list, but he has not had a great season. He is only 6-12 on attempts 40 yards or longer. Inside 40, however, he is 13-14. Clemson will need to be wary of Pharoah Cooper on punts. Surprisingly, he has not been much of a factor in that area this season, but he is dangerous every time he touches the ball. Teasdall will need to get good hang time on his punts and limit his opportunities. Clemson's special teams has done a good job with dangerous punt returners this year in games against NC State and Syracuse, who have a couple of the nation's best return men. South Carolina has an excellent punter in Sean Kelly. He averages 43.7 per punt on the season, with a long of 69 yards. 

 

PREDICTION

When I published my 5 most dangerous games on Clemson’s schedule back in August, this game was #2 on my list. Oh, how things have changed since then. That was before I saw how woefully undermanned South Carolina was on both sides of the ball. It was quickly apparent after the Georgia game that this was not the South Carolina team we have become used to seeing under Steve Spurrier. They have lacked the good running game that they had for years with players like Mike Davis and Marcus Lattimore. They lacked the athletes on defense that they had in players like Clowney, Ingram, Taylor, Holloman, Swearinger and Gilmore. They still have an explosive play-maker in Cooper, but they used to have more than one on whom they relied—like the combination of Jeffrey, Ellington and Sanders. Most importantly, they don’t have a talented quarterback like Connor Shaw or even Dylan Thompson. Perry Orth is competent and plays with heart, but he is a former walk-on, and frankly he is not going to beat you without a lot of help.

I knew that this year’s South Carolina team would not be as talented as it was a couple of years ago, but I thought they would at least have Steve Spurrier, who has had Dabo’s number for five out of the last 6 years. If you would have told me in August that Clemson would be 11-0 when Thanksgiving rolled around, I would have been elated but also terrified of the prospect of giving the Gamecocks the satisfaction of dashing Clemson’s national championship dreams.

All of that has drastically changed over the course of the season and even the past week. The tale of the tape tells it all. South Carolina is outmatched in every phase of the game, and it isn’t even close. I have no doubt that the Gamecocks will start the game playing their guts out, and their fans will be in full throat at kickoff, but barring some outlandish catastrophe like Deshaun Watson being knocked out of the game or the Tigers turning the ball over in their red zone 5 times, this game should be over relatively quickly. The temperament and morale of both the South Carolina team and its fans  is extremely precarious. Clemson has scored a touchdown on its opening possession in 7 out of 11 games and has scored 3 touchdowns in the first quarter of each of its last two games. If Clemson can jump out to a big lead in the first quarter with a couple of three-and-outs by the defense, you will see that enthusiasm and emotion that is so very tenuous begin to wane. Gamecock defenders will stop tackling, the score will get out of hand and there will be a mass exodus at Williams-Brice that we haven’t seen since the infamous 63-17 blowout in 2003.

I believe we will see just that, folks. We will see a Clemson team show up on the road that we’ve yet to see so far this season—one with anger, aggression and focus on both sides of the ball. They will put this one out of reach early and never give South Carolina reason to hope. The second consecutive Orange Crush will be complete, and just as in 1981, Clemson will leave Columbia with a perfect 12-0 regular season. It’s on to Charlotte as the unanimous #1 team in the nation and a chance to punch a ticket for the Orange Bowl in Miami.

The prowl toward the CFP and a 15th ACC Title in ’15 continues……..

 

 

CLEMSON  41    South Carolina  13

 

 


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