3 Keys to Victory

It's time to put away the turkey and focus on the task at hand- beating the South Carolina Gamecocks.

STOP THE RUN: Last year the Tigers had no answer for South Carolina's offense as the Gamecocks rolled up 208 yards on the ground and 284 through the air. This year, the Gamecocks rank dead last in the SEC in rushing at 116.7 yards per game. The Tigers can ill-afford running backs Cory Boyd and Mike Davis breaking off six and seven yard runs like they did last year in Death Valley and expect to win. Simply put, the Clemson defense has to take away either the pass or the run to keep an offense that's found a rhythm in its last two and a half quarters against Tennessee, Arkansas and Florida in check. If Clemson can keep the South Carolina ground game in check and force the Gamecocks exclusively to the air, the Tigers are much more equipped to handle QB Blake Mitchell and WR Kenny McKinley than the Mitchell-Rice combination from a year ago.

RUN, RUN, RUN: While the Tigers enter Saturday's game averaging a respectable 153 yards/game on the ground, good enough for second in the ACC, it's not nearly the production that was expected entering the season with running backs James Davis and C.J. Spiller. The good news is the Gamecock defense has been susceptible to the run, giving up 208 yards/game. Davis and Spiller were vocal this past week about not letting the Boston College loss beat the Tigers twice. They'll have to show that passion to end the season on a good note by putting up big numbers Saturday night at Williams-Brice Stadium. The onus here also falls on Clemson's offensive line, which hasn't been consistent in opening running lanes this season.

GET AHEAD EARLY: There's a thought by those close to the program the Gamecocks have already given up on their season. A once promising start that featured six wins in their first seven games has ended with a thud after four consecutive losses. If the Tigers can get ahead early in the game, it could be lights out long before the fourth quarter. If the week off for South Carolina has made a difference in the team's attitude, expect a 60 minute war.

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