During Clemson’s four game-winning streak over South Carolina, the second-ranked Tigers have won by an average margin of 24 points.
Since Will Muschamp arrived in Columbia two years ago, the Gamecocks have been outscored by its rival by a combined score of 90-17. Included in that is a 56-7 Clemson victory the last time a South Carolina team came to Death Valley.
“A lot of guys were embarrassed,” linebacker T.J. Brunson said told WYFF on Tuesday. “That is definitely a word you hear thrown around here. It just makes you want to play hard and not let that happen again.”
Led by Deshaun Watson, the Tigers jumped out to a quick 21-0 lead in the first quarter and led 35-0 at halftime. Clemson, who went on to win the national championship that season, racked up 622 yards against its rival on that cold night in Death Valley, while Watson completed 27-of-33 passes for 347 yards and tying his own school record of six touchdown passes.
On the side of the ball, it was not much better. The Tigers held the Gamecocks to just 218 total yards. They sacked South Carolina quarterbacks three times, knocking starter Jake Bentley from the game in the second quarter.
Their only score came on a trick play as wide receiver Bryan Edwards found Deebo Samuel on a reverse pass that covered 33 yards on the opening drive of the third quarter.
“For most of us, we were all there. A lot of us played during that game so it still burns in us,” left guard Zack Bailey said.
When the Tigers (11-0) host South Carolina at Death Valley on Saturday (7 p.m./ESPN), head coach Will Muschamp is expecting a better result from his football team.
“We went up there the first year and had some guys that flat out did not compete,” he said. “That was not going to happen again. That was our message to our football team. It is about competing.”
The Gamecocks (6-4), did not compete too much last year, either. The Tigers raced out to a 34-0 lead in Columbia before South Carolina scored 10 fourth-quarter points to make the score a little more respectable.
Again, Clemson’s defense dominated the game as it held the Gamecocks to 207 total yards, including just 81 rushing yards.
“I think we are much better offensively this year then we have been in the last two years,” Muschamp said. “We have made some strides there.”
The key for South Carolina in Saturday’s 116th edition of the rivalry is to try and score early. Clemson has outscored them by a combined score of 55-0 in the first half the last two seasons.
“We have been very good starting games offensively here, especially of recent,” Muschamp said. “So, it is definitely important in any road game to get off to a good start, especially against them.”
This year, Clemson is outscoring its opponents 239-42 in the first two quarters. The defense has not given up a first-quarter touchdown all year and has allowed just two touchdowns in the opening 30 minutes of a game.
“They have played very well from ahead and that has been the case most of the year for them,” Muschamp said. “So, there is no question getting out of the gates fast is important.”