Here are five numbers of significance to keep in mind as third-ranked Clemson prepares to host South Carolina State on Saturday in Death Valley. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:04 p.m.
16: Percent of the time opponents have converted third downs against Clemson this season. Only five of 32 third down plays have resulted in a first down when the Tigers’ defense is on the field, fifth-best in the country. Only Central Michigan, Buffalo, Michigan, and Wisconsin have been better at getting the opposition off the field on third downs. Prowess in this area has been a staple of Brent Venables’ tenure at Clemson, especially recently. The Tigers have finished inside of the nation’s top five in third down defense in each of the past three seasons.
21: Offensive tackles ranked higher than South Carolina State offensive tackle Javarius Leamon in the class of 2012, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. The Woodruff standout was the second-ranked player in the state of South Carolina, behind only South Carolina’s Shaq Roland. Among the in-state players ranked behind Leamon were Cordrea Tankersley, Shaq Lawson, and North Carolina wideout Quinshad Davis. The 6-7, 310-pound left tackle—dubbed “the left tackle” by Dabo Swinney in his Tuesday press conference—originally committed to Clemson but signed with the Bulldogs due to academic concerns. Pro scouts are monitoring the senior as a prospect for next year’s NFL Draft, and he should prove a worthy adversary for Clemson defenders trying to attack the edge.
30: All-time wins for Clemson against FCS (formerly Division I-AA) competition. The Tigers have never lost to a team from that level in 34 years of competition. Only once has a game against an FCS opponent been decided by single digits, and the average margin of victory for Clemson in those games is 33 points. Three of those matchups have featured South Carolina State, and all have been contested in the past nine seasons. Clemson has outscored the Bulldogs by a combined score of 179-20 in those meetings.
66: Margin of victory in the most recent meeting between Clemson and South Carolina State. The 73-7 beatdown took place on September 6, 2014, in Memorial Stadium and featured the largest margin of victory by a Tiger team against any opponent since 1957. Clemson piled up 735 yards of total offense during the game, including a combined ten receptions for 247 yards by current wideouts Artavis Scott (6-164) and Mike Williams (4-83). Wayne Gallman carried the ball ten times for 77 yards, and Deshaun Watson—the backup quarterback in the game, behind Cole Stoudt—threw for 154 yards and three touchdowns.
399: Games coached at the collegiate level by Clemson associate head coach/defensive line coach Dan Brooks. Saturday will mark his 400th game on the sidelines or in the coaches’ box, an important milestone for any football coach. A lifelong assistant, Brooks has a career winning percentage of .693 (275-121-3), including a 73-24 record (.753) in his eight seasons as a member of Dabo Swinney’s coaching staff. Five of his former players are on NFL rosters this season, a testament to his acumen as a teacher and mentor. Prior to his time at Clemson, Brooks coached defensive lines at Florida, North Carolina, and Tennessee for 25 years. Only twice since 1992 has a team that has Brooks on its staff failed to qualify for a bowl game.