Travis Etienne has yet to experience the Clemson-South Carolina game. A native of Jennings, La., he had not heard of the rivalry all the much until he got to Clemson.
However, following Saturday’s 61-3 victory over The Citadel, the freshman got a crash course on why the rivalry is so important?
“I have been hearing about it all day after the game,” Etienne said. “The guys in the locker room that is all they are talking about. They are telling us we have to be our best because they are coming to fight.”
Clemson has won three straight against the Gamecocks, including last year’s 56-7 victory in Death Valley. Linebacker Dorian O’Daniel says the greatest memory he has from the series so far is just how the senior players have responded after Carolina had five straight prior to the Tigers’ three-game winning streak.
O’Daniel and the rest of this year’s seniors have an opportunity to go 4-0 against the Gamecocks, something that has not happened at Clemson since Charlie Whitehurst’s senior class in 2005 went 4-0.
“We have responded in my time here against Carolina,” O’Daniel said. “We have been pretty successful (against South Carolina). This, being my last year, there is a lot of intensity. It is a rivalry game. It is understood here.
“It does not have to be explained. There are some high emotions and we know emotions do not win the game. Executing the game plan and playing fast and playing physical do.”
Being an in-state product, Kelly Bryant is all too familiar with the Gamecocks and what beating the Gamecocks means to Clemson and its fans.
“I am an in-state kid,” the Tigers’ quarterback said. “All of the in-state fans are going to be looking at this game. No matter whose side you are on. It is Thanksgiving Weekend. It is Clemson-South Carolina. This is why we come here, to play in games like this.
“We are going to be ready. We know it is a hostile environment down there, but we are going to be ready for the challenge.”