Tigers look to win their fifth straight over the Gamecocks
Trevor Lawrence admitted following No. 2 Clemson’s 35-6 win over Duke Saturday that he does not know much about the Clemson-South Carolina rivalry. However, after watching the Tigers rout of the Gamecocks in Columbia last season he knows it is intense.
“I’m not from here so I don’t know a ton about the rivalry,” Clemson’s freshman quarterback said. “I watched them last year when they were at South Carolina and you could just see the hostility and just the atmosphere. Anyone watching can tell it’s an intense one.”
It’s also a rivalry the Tigers have owned for the most part, especially in the last four years. Overall, Clemson leads the series 69-42-4, a 61-percent win percentage, and has won the last four meetings by an average margin of 24 points per game.
This year, the Tigers (11-0, 8-0 ACC) are looking to win their fifth straight over the Gamecocks, something the Clemson program has not done since winning seven straight games in the series from 1934-’40.
Lawrence just wants to make sure he helps this year’s senior class go 4-0 against South Carolina.
“It would mean a lot to me to help these guys,” the freshman said. “The biggest thing is that it’s the next game and it’s one of our goals to win against every opponent we play against. It’s obviously a big game in South Carolina, but it’s just another team that’s in the way of what we want to do. It would mean a lot though to help these seniors.”
Travis Etienne got his first taste of the rivalry last season as he led the Tigers with a modest 41 rushing yards and scored one touchdown in the 34-10 victory in Columbia. However, he also witnessed the hostility between the two rivals as South Carolina fans threw objects and bottles at Clemson players.
“It is the biggest game of the season,” Etienne said.
Clelin Ferrell, who recorded two sacks in Saturday’s win over Duke, says Clemson is heading into the rivalry game playing its best football at the right time.
“We are hitting our stride right when we need to,” the defensive end said. “Obviously, you want to be playing well when you go into the state championship. Obviously, we know it is going to be a tough hard-fought game, and because it is South Carolina it is going to be a bit personal. It’s good to be kind of hitting our stride right when this game happens.”
Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott grew up in Charleston and later walked on and played for Clemson from 2000-’03. The Tigers were 3-1 against the Gamecocks in Elliott’s playing career, including the famous 63-17 victory in 2003.
“We are focused on winning the game,” Elliott said. “This is something that is big for the state. It is personal for me. It is personal for a lot of guys from the state of South Carolina, and for the players that may not be from the state, it is going to be personal to them down the road.
“The biggest point of emphasis is that you got a bunch that is coming in here and they are going to be confident and they are going to be ready to play and we have to play our best game.”