It’s been two years since Clemson and South Carolina fans had a rivalry game.
For the first time in 111 years, the two teams did not meet on the gridiron last season, forcing the Tigers into waiting an extra year to get that coveted seventh straight win and tie the record for most consecutive wins by either team in the history of the rivalry.
While the Tigers were all but guaranteed to get that win a season ago, that isn’t quite the case this season. Clemson has struggled on the offensive side of the ball, and even more so away from home.
If the Tigers are going to come out of Columbia with a win, the recipe is simple. Run the ball. Then run it some more.
The Gamecocks come in ranked among the bottom third nationally in stopping the run (171.1 ypg). Their pass defense has been fantastic, though, ranking No. 14 in the country, allowing just 186 yards per game. They’ve also picked off 14 passes this season, and only eight teams in the country have more.
The Tigers got the best performance of the season from the interior of the offensive line last week and will need to carry that momentum over into this game, against a bigger, more physical defensive front.
On the other side of the ball, you know Brent Venables group is going to bring it. Jason Brown is making just his fourth start of the season for UofSC and he has yet to see anything remotely close to what Venables will throw at him on Saturday night.
The best indicator of future behavior is past behavior and outside of last weeks performance against a terrible Wake Forest defense, this Clemson team has had to win games ugly. Expect the same on Saturday night.
The defense will be dominant, while the offense…. not so much. There is a lot of youth on that side of the ball who has yet to play in the kind of environment they will see in Willy B. It will be a factor, but it will not be enough. The Tigers’ defense is just to good.
Clemson 23 UofSC 13
Fun Fact: Clemson will have held the lead in its all-time series with South Carolina for 44,935 consecutive days (123 years and 10 days) at the time of kickoff on Saturday. South Carolina won the series opener in 1896 before Clemson evened the series in 1897. Clemson won the third game in the series on Nov. 17, 1898 to take a 2-1 series lead that Clemson hasn’t relinquished.
Sam Clemons: After last weeks awakening, I see good things continuing this weekend. The Defense will probably allow some points early. The offense needs to play with the same intensity as last week and that should be enough to bring home the Palmetto Trophy for the seventh straight year.
Clemson 35 South Carolina 21
Freddie Huth: One thing the Gamecocks did not want to see was for the Tigers to get it together offensively going into their game but that has been exactly the case in Clemson’s games following their bye week. It is still the rivalry game and I expect both teams to come out ready to play but also believe the Tigers will take control and pick up their seventh straight.
Clemson 34 South Carolina 17
Ted Jackson: This is very likely going to be much closer than people think. Clemson has not been a very convincing road team this year, and Williams Brice will be the most intimidating stadium they have played in this year, particularly at night. Gamecock fans will come out in force, as they smell blood in the water with Clemson. The Tigers are more vulnerable than they have been in a very long time. Clemson’s offense has been showing signs of improvement but still far from clicking on all cylinders. This game will come down to Clemson’s ability to run the football and prevent turnovers, as we all know the defense will be ready. It truly could go either way. In a tight game it’s usually a good bet to roll with the team that has the best players, and that would easily be Clemson.
Clemson 27 Gamecocks 24
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