Clemson and South Carolina play Saturday night in Columbia as both teams search for their tenth victory of the season. The Tigers have not won ten games since 1991 and South Carolina has only one ten games once in their history.
What are the keys to victory for the Tigers?
1. Fast Start
In three of the four road games this season Clemson has started slowly and fell behind by a couple of scores in the first half. The Tigers lost two of those games.
The quickest way to get the crowd out of the game is for the Tigers to take control early. The Tigers can’t afford to fall behind two scores if they hope to defeat South Carolina Saturday night.
If the Tigers can get the offense going early it could be a special night at Williams-Brice.
2. Win Turnover Battle
Clemson has turned the ball over 11 times in the past three games. That is a recipe for failure, especially on the road.
Tajh will need to return to the form he showed the first eight games of the season where he limited his mistakes. The running backs must do a better job of holding onto the football.
If the Tigers can make the South Carolina offense drive 70 or 80 yards the chances of a Clemson victory go up significantly.
3. First Down Critical
Last week Clemson went 2-12 on third down. Saturday night it is critical that the Tigers do better on first down so they will not face third and long on a consistent basis. If Clemson faces third and long the South Carolina defensive line will be able to tee off on the Tigers and make life difficult for Tajh and the offensive line.
If the Tigers can do well of first down and end up with third and three the offensive will be able to keep South Carolina’s defense guessing.
Last week the Tigers continued to try to force the run on first and second down. Saturday the Tigers will need to us the pass to move the ball if South Carolina is stuffing the run.
4. Forget the ACC Championship Game
Clemson need to forget about the ACC Championship Game Saturday night and play like this is the biggest game of the year, which it is. If the team is caught looking ahead the results will be similar to the last few years.
Coach Spurrier will have the Gamecocks focused on the task at hand. He has learned the past few years what how much better life is when you win the rivalry game.
If the Tigers are focused Saturday night they should be on their way to win No. 10 on the season. Last week’s whipping could be just what this team needed to make sure the focus is where it is needed Saturday night.