Constant reminders

CLEMSON - From the Midlands, Grand Strand, Pee Dee, Lowcountry and Upstate, every town in the state of South Carolina has pockets of orange and garnet.

When it comes to the rivalry with South Carolina, the last few years have been particularly rough on the Clemson faction.

Not that anyone who calls themselves a Tiger needs the reminder, but no player on this year's team has participated in a Clemson win over South Carolina.

As Clemson rolled through the 2012 season, winning 10 of the first 11 games, Florence's Malliciah Goodman had plenty not so subtle reminders from Tiger fans.

"Even [when] we won," Goodman said, "It's like, ‘Great win, but make sure y'all get that last one.'"

That last one is Saturday, when the Gamecocks head into town for a 7:15 kickoff in Death Valley.

Clemson's Memorial Stadium was the site of the Tigers' last win over the bitter rival from Columbia. Then, Goodman was a senior at West Florence High School.

"People asked me a lot about South Carolina last week and I was like, we've got N.C. State," he said. "Now that it's here, we've just got to prepare like we've prepared every other week."

Jonathan Willard, who's from Loris, is more than happy to match up with South Carolina one last time.

"One of my favorite teachers is a South Carolina fan so she's always messing with me and reminding me, three times, three times, three times," Willard said. "It's about like that. It kind of gets under your skin a little bit."

Brandon Ford, who grew up in the Charleston area, isn't bothered by the either of the fan bases, whether it's the Clemson fans pleading for a win or the South Carolina fans reminding him that it's been a few years.

"That's just how fans are. Some try to get under your skin, others always want to know how the team's doing, if they're ready," he said. "It's the life we live in. It doesn't bother me at all."

But the losses certainly do.

The three-game skid isn't easy on anyone who that sits on the orange side of the fence, particularly those that have stepped onto the field in each of those three contests.

"It's been tough [on] my senior class not being able to beat them," Willard said. "It's been a little bit difficult, but at the same time, we're really not going to look back in the past. That's done. We can't really change. We're just looking toward the future, to this game coming up."

And it's a big one.

Clemson [10-1, 7-1 ACC] is ranked 11th in the BCS. South Carolina [9-2, 6-2 SEC] is one spot back at 12.

The Gamecocks' three-game winning streak is the longest since 1968-70. The only time that South Carolina has won four straight over Clemson was from 1951-54 when all games were played in Columbia.

Saturday's game in Clemson has all the makings for another memorable clash.

"It's going to be a great environment," Goodman said. "It's going to be hyped up a lot this week. You've just got to stay focused and don't get too caught up in the rah, rah that everybody's doing."

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