Countdown to Kickoff: USC at Clemson

Countdown to Kickoff: USC at Clemson


Countdown to Kickoff: USC at Clemson


By Will Vandervort.

Here is an inside look at the Clemson-South Carolina series as the No. 21 Clemson Tigers host the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday at noon. The game will be televised by ESPN.




About South Carolina: The Gamecocks have posted back-to-back wins over Florida and South Alabama to become bowl eligible for an 11th straight season and comes into the Clemson game with a 6-5 record. Four of the Gamecocks five losses have been by a touchdown or less.

South Carolina’s offense: USC’s offense is led by quarterback Dylan Thompson who is on pace for a record-setting finish. He needs 176 yards to pass Todd Ellis’ single-season record for passing yards in a season. Thompson has thrown for 3,031 yards this season, the record is 3,206 yards. Running back Mike Davis has rushed for 888 yards and a team-high nine rushing touchdowns. Wide receiver Pharoh Cooper leads the team with 58 catches for 921 yards and eight touchdowns. He has also thrown a couple of scores and averages eight yards per carry out of the Wildcat Formation.

South Carolina’s defense: The Gamecocks rank 109th in the country against the run, yielding 213.5 yards per game. They are also giving up 214.9 yards per game through the air, which is 46th nationally. Opponents are completing 61.9 percent of their passes against USC. Brison Williams will move from safety, where he has played the last two weeks, back to cornerback where he will start for the injured Rico McWilliams, who has been ruled out of the game due to a concussion suffered against South Alabama. Freshman Chris Lammons will start opposite Williams at the other cornerback position.

Records: Clemson 8-3; South Carolina 6-5

Series record: Clemson leads 65-42-4

Last year: South Carolina won 31-17

Streak: South Carolina has won five in a row

First meeting: 1896, Clemson won 12-6

Last Clemson win: 2008, 31-14 at Clemson

Stat worth noting: South Carolina has won 19-straight non-SEC games. Its last loss came to Florida State in the 2010 Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Second stat worth noting: During South Carolina’s five-game winning streak in the series, the Gamecocks have a 15-3 edge in the turnover department and have outscored the Tigers 62-0 off those turnovers. USC has a 12-1 ratio in the last four meetings.

Third stat worth noting: In the last three meetings, the Gamecocks have 16 sacks against the Tigers.

Memorable game: This is the 10th anniversary of the worst moment in the 111-year history of the rivalry. In 2004, Clemson beat the Gamecocks, 29-7, but no one remembers the score or who won the game. Instead the game is remembered for the sideline-clearing brawl late in the fourth quarter following the Tigers’ final touchdown. The incident made national headlines. The brawl delayed the conclusion of the game by more than 30 minutes, and from the fallout both schools decided it was best they do not participate in any postseason bowl games as self-punishments for the fighting.



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