Fourth-ranked Clemson will host South Carolina in Death Valley in the 114th meeting between the two Palmetto State rivals. Tonight’s 7:30 p.m., kick will mark the 108th consecutive meeting between the two, the second longest continuous series in the history of college football.
About South Carolina: The Gamecocks have won four of their last five games. They are one of the most improved teams in the nation under head coach Will Muschamp, who is in first year at the SEC school.
South Carolina’s offense: The Gamecocks have made strong improvement thanks to freshman quarterback Jake Bentley, who should be a senior in high school this year. He came to South Carolina a year early and has led the squad on a great run in the second half of the season. He has completed 86-of-130 passes for 989 yards and six touchdowns against just one interception. He has completed 66.2 percent od of his passes. South Carolina’s top receiver is Deebo Samuel, who has 41 catches for 579 yards.
South Carolina’s defense: The Gamecocks have one of the best defenses in the country when it comes to forcing turnovers. They have forced 24 turnovers, which ranks sixth in the country. USC currently ranks ninth in the country in red zone defense. Allen Williams is the top tackler with 61, including eight tackles for loss, while D.J. Smith has 60. Darius English leads the team in tackles for loss with 11.5, including nine sacks. He has nine of the 20 South Carolina sacks. T.J. Holloman is another outstanding player with 59 tackles and three interceptions.
Records: Clemson 10-1, 7-1 ACC; South Carolina 6-5, 3-5 SEC
Clemson injury report: Adrian Baker, DB, Knee, out; Jake Fruhmorgen, OT, shoulder, personal reasons, out; Scott Pagano, DT, leg, out; Richard Yeargin, DE, Knee, out.
Series record: Clemson leads 67-42-4
First meeting: 1896, Carolina won 12-6
Last meeting: Last year, Clemson won 37-32 in Columbia.
Streak: Clemson has won two straight
Stat worth noting: Clemson has more wins (67) over South Carolina than any other school and those victories represent 9.4 percent of Clemson’s all-time victory total (713). When Clemson won in 2004 it was Clemson’s 600th all-time victory.
Second stat worth noting: Three Clemson quarterbacks have started and defeated South Carolina at least three times, Steve Fuller (1976-78), Homer Jordan (180-82) and Charlie Whitehurst (2002- 05). Deshaun Watson can join that group with a win on Saturday.
Third stat worth noting: The team entering the Clemson-Carolina game with the better overall record has a 21-9-1 record in the series since 1981. That computes to 69 percent over a 35-year period. Four times during that era both teams had the same record. However, the norm has been broken in recent years. Seven of the last 11 years the team with the better overall record entering the game has lost. Clemson has the better overall record in this year’s game.