For Clemson offensive lineman Gage Cervenka, the Clemson-South Carolina game is more than just the regular-season finale.
The Junior from Greenwood grew up a Clemson fan and is well invested into the rivalry. Clemson can possibly go undefeated for the regular season this Saturday as they take on un-ranked South Carolina in Death Valley at 7 p.m.
Cervenka on what the rivalry means to him
“It’s big. Throughout the years we go back and forth. It’s funny. I’ve got a couple stories just because I grew up a Clemson fan. Me and some of our neighbors would always go back and forth. They live right down the road and were Carolina fans. We would always have a little thing where whoever wins, we would chalk up their driveway. We would write ‘Go Tigers’ and they would retaliate and write ‘Go Gamecocks.’ It’s fun, but there’s a lot riding on this game for a lot of people in this state.”
Cervenka dreamed of playing South Carolina
“I always dreamed of playing South Carolina as a kid. I mean to go out there and just beat them, and just absolutely destroy them. That’s all I ever wanted as a kid, and of course to win a national championship. This is definitely high on the list of achievements that I look forward to.”
Cervenka on being a fan during the five-game losing streak to South Carolina from 2009-’13
“It was rough. I can’t imagine how it was for the coaches. As a fan, I grew up with a lot of Carolina fans around me unfortunately. Having to hear them talk a lot of junk everyday was a little tough. We’re on the upside of it now.”
Cervenka says there is no added pressure playing the Gamecocks
“We play every game like it’s the biggest. There’s no added pressure. This game is a team goal of our own. This is a big game for us, but I don’t think it adds any pressure.”
Cervenka on on what happens in the trenches for this game
“In a way, a lot of trash talking happens here and there. It’s a very emotional game. Like I said there’s a lot riding on it. This game lasts 365 days. It’s a whole year. It can get rough in the trenches. The key is controlling your emotions.”