Third-ranked Clemson will host S.C. State on Saturday in Death Valley. The game is scheduled to kick off at Noon, and will be televised by the Fox Sports Regional Network.
Clemson enter the game with a 2-0 record, the sixth time in Dabo Swinney’s eight years the Tigers have started a season 2-0. It might not seem like a big accomplishment, but it is in terms of Clemson history over the last 60 years. Between 1961 and 2008 Clemson started 2-0 just 13 of 48 seasons. Danny Ford started 2-0 just five of his 11 years, and did it just twice in his first eight years. The two victories this year have been by a touchdown or less, the first time Clemson has started a season with a pair of wins by that close a margin since 2005, and just the second time since 1958.
About S.C. State: This will be South Carolina State’s third straight game against an FBS opponent to open the season. The Bulldogs have opened with road losses at Central Florida and Louisiana Tech.
S.C. State’s offense: Buddy Pough’s team is quarterbacked by Caleb York and he has thrown for 271 yards in two games and for a pair of scores. He is also the team’s top rusher with 78 yards on 16 attempts. His top target has been Lynard Jamison, who has eight receptions for 83 yards. Quan Caldwell and Deangel Frazier have been the recipients of his scoring passes. The Bulldogs have given up just two sacks thus far.
S.C. State’s defense: Darius Leonard is the top tackler with 18 stops. Jason Baxter is second on the team with 13.5. Dayshaw Taylor leads the team in tackles for loss with three, including a sack. The Bulldogs have six sacks as a team.
Records: Clemson 2-0; S.C. State 0-2
Series record: Clemson leads 3-0
First meeting: Clemson won 54-0 in 2008
Last meeting: Clemson won 73-7 in 2014
Stat worth noting: Clemson has played S.C. State three times and in each game the Tigers have had at least one pick six. In 2008 Chris Clemons returned an interception 32 yards for a score. In 2013, Martin Jenkins ran 52 yards for a touchdown with an interception. Later in the game Darius Robinson retuned one 35 yards for score. Then, in 2014, current Tiger Jadar Johnson, who is from Orangeburg, raced 60 yards for a touchdown with an interception.
Second stat worth noting: Deshaun Watson threw for 292 yards and three scores in Clemson’s win over Troy last week. He has now thrown at least one touchdown pass in 18 consecutive games a school record. Tajh Boyd had a streak of 17 in a row between 2011 and 2013. His streak was broken in a win over S.C. State.
Third stat worth noting: In the win over Troy, three different Clemson linebackers had interceptions, the first time that has happened since two-platoon football began in 1965. According to Whitey Jordan, an assistant coach on the 1964 staff, Clemson two-way players Ted Bunton, Jay Cooper and Pat Crain played linebacker when they were on defense that year. All three of those players had interceptions in Clemson’s 29-7 win over Virginia in 1964. Kendall Joseph, Jalen Williams and Dorian O’Daniel all had thefts in their pass coverage in the first half of Clemson’s win over Troy. It was the first career interception for all three.