Boyd Understands Importance of Rivalry

Junior tailback Cory Boyd has his share of stories to tell about the South Carolina -Clemson rivalry, whether it be enduring the 63-17 debacle his freshman season or witnessing the bowl-snatching brawl in his sophomore campaign, but after being suspended last season and watching the Gamecocks fall to 0-3 against the Tigers during his career, he is ready for another crack at Clemson this weekend.

As a redshirt junior, Boyd is one of the few elder statesmen on the youth-filled Gamecocks squad, but he has done his part this week in expressing the significance of the South Carolina - Clemson rivalry to his younger teammates. "Yeah, there definitely is (more intensity this week). We tried to install that into the guys this week, that it's not just a regular game," said Boyd "There's a lot at stake, and hopefully they'll get it in their heads, and we'll have a good week of preparation."

Boyd originally hails from New Jersey, but after spending his last four years in the Palmetto State, he has grown to understand the importance of the dominant in-state rivalry. In fact, much like the South Carolina fans, Boyd has grown tired of the one-sidedness of the rivalry in recent years. "I'm tired of hearing about the Clemson guys and how many championships they've won and how many times they've beat us. It really takes a toll on you, even if you're not from South Carolina," said Boyd. "Personally, I just want to go out there and get a win against those guys, and finally let them know that we can compete with them."

Boyd, who prides himself in being a dual-threat player in the Gamecock backfield, has been a key contributor in the Carolina offense this season, as he has totaled 623 yards rushing and another 352 yards receiving. Boyd knows that he and his teammates will have to bring their ‘A' game on Saturday to be successful against a Clemson defense that ranks 5th in the country in total defense and 9th in scoring defense. Boyd commented on the Tigers defense by saying, "They have great team speed, team chemistry, and they play together as a team. They have a great pass rusher, and we'll just have to go out there and play. Hopefully we can start off early and not start out the way we used to in the past."

When asked if the Tigers defense compares to any previous opponents the Gamecocks have faced this season, Boyd replied that each team they match up against has their own unique style and tendencies. "They really don't compare to any defense. Every team has their own unique style," said Boyd. "I believe they have great players over there on their defensive line, Gaines Adams and a couple other guys. They really don't show too many different things. They don't blitz as much as many teams in the SEC, so we have a great chance of making things happen on offense. "

Coach Steve Spurrier mentioned in his Tuesday press conference that, with a win against arch-rival Clemson on Saturday, the Gamecocks could turn the up-to-this-point average 2006 season into a good year. Boyd echoed those sentiments, as he said, "Yeah, I definitely agree. We had our chances early in the season to be a much better team than we were, but I believe if we go out here and play to the best of our ability, we can make an average season look a little better than what it is."

It is no secret that the Clemson offense possesses one of the most dynamic tailback combinations in America in James Davis and C.J. Spiller, and the two have combined this season to account for over 1,800 yards rushing. However, Boyd believes that the Gamecocks running back stable, led by he and Mike Davis, will be able to hold their own when matched up against the Tigers on Saturday. "I really don't pay too much attention to their team… They've got a great team, but hopefully with Mike Davis coming back, and me also, and a couple other guys - Bobby Wallace and Taylor (Rank) - we can go out there as a running back corp and show them that we've got some dynamic duos in the backfield as well."

Saturday's match up between South Carolina and Clemson will be the 104th meeting on the gridiron between the two Palmetto State schools. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. (EST), and the game will be nationally televised by ESPN.

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