Clemson treating South Carolina game ‘like any other’ so it does not lose focus
Though they did not play in the 2014 Clemson-South Carolina game, guys like Kendall Joseph, Hunter Renfrow, Trevion Thompson, Adam Choice, J.D. Davis, Judah Davis, Chris Register, Justin Falcinelli and Cannon Smith were all redshirted that season and were on the sideline when the Tigers ended the Gamecocks’ five-game win streak in the series.
Since then, they all played a part in each of the Tigers’ last three wins in the series. If No. 2 Clemson can take down the Gamecocks as it is expected to do on Saturday at Death Valley, then they will leave Tigertown as a rare group to be a part of five straight victories against their rival.
The Tigers (11-0) have not won five straight games in the 116-year old series since the 1934-’40 Clemson teams won seven straight over South Carolina – the longest win streak in the history of the rivalry.
“We are excited to play South Carolina. We know there is a lot at stake,” Joseph said. “But it is the next game on the schedule for a lot of these guys.”
Joseph, who is from nearby Belton, S.C., does not mean any disrespect to the Gamecocks or the rivalry when he says, “It’s the next game on the schedule.” It’s just the Tigers have more at stake Saturday night than just beating their rival for a fifth straight year.
The Tigers are No. 2 in the latest College Football Playoff race and have to face No. 24 Pittsburgh next week in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte. In other words, the Tigers cannot allow themselves to get to emotionally invested in the game because if their emotions take over, they can fall into a trap and could lose focus on what is the most important goal … winning the game.
“We just want to handle our business and do it in a way that our fans can be proud of,” Joseph said. “We definitely want to play a clean game and we definitely want to play better than we did last week. I think we will do that.
“We are not looking ahead, but we just are just trying to take care of business and keep moving forward.”
Clemson-Carolina kickoff at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN.