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Clemson Looking for Revenge in Columbia

Clemson Looking For Revenge in Columbia

Clemson right now is on a three-game winning streak, its longest of the season so far, after beating North Carolina last weekend. Now they must travel to a familiar site to face in-state rival South Carolina. It is one of the biggest games on the schedule every year for the Tigers, but it means even more this season. This hasn’t been a great season for the Tigers, but they have picked it up in the last few weeks. Winning this game would be the best way for them to end this regular season. Also, this time they will be looking to avenge the loss from last season at home in Death Valley.

 Gamecocks in 2023

Right now, South Carolina has an overall record of 5-6 and is 3-5 in SEC games. They have played only one other game against an ACC opponent, North Carolina, in which they lost 31-17. Currently, the Gamecocks are on a three-game winning streak as well after beating Kentucky last week 17-14.

Quarterback Spencer Rattler has again been a big bright spot for Shane Beamer’s team once again. Rattler right now has the 16th most passing yards in the FBS. This has South Carolina ranked as the 15th-best passing offense in the country. So far this season Rattler has completed 259 of 367 passes for 3,074 yards, 19 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He will be one of the biggest factors in how well the Gamecocks play in this game.

Clemson vs South Carolina Brief History

The first matchup between these two programs took place in 1896. South Carolina won that matchup 12-6. All time though, Clemson leads the series 72-43 and there have been four games that ended in a tie. The last game to take place in Williams-Brice stadium was in 2021. That game was one by Clemson in a 30-0 shutout. In the last matchup though, which took place in Death Valley last season, the Gamecocks walked out with the one-point victory.

Palmetto Bowl 2022

In the 2022 Palmetto Bowl football game South Carolina got the 31-30 victory. It was a back-forth game for much of it that saw both teams make plays in every phase. This will be the first time Cade Klubnik gets the chance to play in this heated rivalry. Last year’s game would be the last full game Klubnik would watch from the Clemson bench. DJ Uiagalelei, Clemson’s starting quarterback last season, made many plays with his legs but struggled to pass the ball. Those struggles would continue in the ACC Championship game the week after, where Klubnik would take over.

 A Tiger who did play great in last year’s game and will need to do it again this week is Jeremiah Trotter Jr. In that game, Trotter racked up eight total tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss, one pass breakup, and one interception he returned for a touchdown. This is what has been a pretty typical stat line for Trotter over the last few weeks. He’ll have to do it again, but he can’t be alone. The defense can’t afford to give up the amount of big plays they did last year.

Letting Rattler make too many big plays with his arm could hurt the Tiger defense once again. That is how the Gamecocks won last year’s game. Rattler completed 25 of 39 pass attempts for 360 yards, 2 touchdowns, and two interceptions in last season’s game. He and the Gamecocks offense were able to make just enough big plays to walk out with the win. Now the Tigers are looking for revenge.

How the Tigers Get Revenge

For Clemson to get their win back in Columbia the defensive line is going to have to set the tone. In the last few weeks, they have done a great job putting immense pressure on some very talented quarterbacks. Doing the same on Rattler is going to be very important. If the Clemson defensive front can get to Rattler and force him to make mistakes, it will be a long day for the Gamecocks.

Another thing that will be important for Clemson is again establishing the run game early. Letting Will Shipley and Phil Mafah off the leash the last few weeks has been beneficial to the Tiger offense. It has made the game easier for Klubnik who has been getting it done with his arm and legs. Allowing the run game to open things up on offense again will be helpful for the Tigers. Also, the play calling must allow Klubnik to call his own number in the run game again.

Lastly holding onto the football is going to be crucial for Clemson. The Tigers have still yet to go a full game without a turnover. They have won the turnover margin the last three weeks thanks to the defense getting more takeaways themselves. The turnover problem for the offense has still not truly been nipped though.

The Gamecocks have taken the ball away nine times in the last three weeks. Turnovers can hugely swing momentum for a team. Those kinds of momentum plays in a rivalry game are so important. They can be what determines games like these. Protecting the ball will be crucial if the Tigers want to get revenge.

 

Clemson Looking For Revenge in Columbia
Photo courtesy: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

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