Dye: Gamecocks are capable

CLEMSON - Xavier Dye didn't know much of about the Clemson/Carolina rivalry until the 2004 Death Valley Brawl.

Sitting in the upper level at about the 50-yard line, his first true glimpse of the heated rivalry came that Saturday when the Tigers and Gamecocks threw fists, and even a couple of helmets.

And even though he grew up not far from Clemson in Greenwood, Dye admitted on Monday that he didn't know much about Clemson until that game.

"I had heard here and there about Clemson," he said. "I knew who South Carolina was because my cousin played there."

The brawl game and Clemson's 35-14 win over Florida State that following season peaked Dye's interest in the Tigers. Now in his third year at Clemson, Dye, like every other player that will wear an orange and white uniform Saturday, is very well aware of what it means when Clemson is playing South Carolina.

"You just don't like hearing people talking about Carolina beating you," he said. "You can't live with it. I can't. It's hard to talk about (losing the game).

"I guess they're kind of used to it because they know what to expect."

It's the must win game before the start of every season.

If Clemson was to go 1-11, Dye believes the South Carolina game would have to be the one win--assuming that nightmare of a situation was to ever become reality. He would even go as far to say that losing to an FCS school wouldn't be as suffering defeat to South Carolina. There's just too much pride on the line when it's Clemson/Carolina.

Despite the typical late season slide in Columbia and the current six-game winning streak in Clemson, Dye said the 6-5 Gamecocks are going to give the 8-3 Tigers "their best shot."

"They're very capable of beating us. They're going to be ready and prepared… we just can not lose this game," he said.

With the Georgia Tech rematch in Tampa for the ACC Championship on tap the following week, Dye said losing to South Carolina would take away some of the momentum Clemson has gained over the last six games.

A win this Saturday would push Clemson one game closer to closing this season with nine straight wins.

"There's thin air up there," Dye said. "Not many schools can be 11-3. We have a good chance of being in the top-10. But we're just taking it one game a time."

The one game at a time philosophy starts at practice Monday.

"The coaches come out there fired up. They get after us like none other during the Carolina week," Dye said.

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