Scouting the Gamecocks’ next opponent: Clemson Tigers

nwhite@thestate.comNovember 24, 2013 

GAME: 7 p.m., Saturday, ESPN2

RECORD: 10-1

RANKING: No. 6

SERIES: Clemson leads 65-40-4

LAST YEAR: The Gamecocks defeated their biggest rival for the fourth straight season in a 27-17 win at Death Valley. Quarterback Dylan Thompson, who was starting in place of the injured Connor Shaw, completed 23-of-41 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns, two to Bruce Ellington and one to Ace Sanders. The defense held the Tigers to 328 total yards, as defensive end Jadeveon Clowney piled up 4.5 sacks to set the school single-season record at 13.

COACH: Dabo Swinney. In his sixth season (five full seasons) as Clemson’s head coach, Swinney has compiled a 50-22 record and guided the Tigers to a bowl game each season in addition to winning one ACC championship. Only Danny Ford reached 50 wins in the program in fewer games of the four coaches in Clemson history to reach that mark.

QUICK TAKE: Clemson hopes to end USC’s four-game winning streak and claim a spot in a BCS bowl, while the Gamecocks want to keep their momentum going into a possible SEC championship game appearance (if Missouri loses to Texas A&M). With the Tigers at No. 6 and the Gamecocks at No. 10, this meeting marks the best combined ranking of the two in series history.

TIGER TIDBITS: Clemson has won at least 10 games in three straight seasons, the longest streak since the Tigers posted four straight 10-win seasons from 1987-1990. … The Tigers have scored at least 50 points in three straight games and five times this season, both school records. … Tajh Boyd’s 102 career touchdowns passes makes him one of 18 players in NCAA history to have 100 or more and the first ACC player to accomplish the feat. … Sammy Watkins set the school record for career receiving yards last week when he boosted his total to 3,071 yards. … Kicker Chandler Catanzaro has 395 career points, second in ACC history.

TIGERS TO WATCH:

QB TAJH BOYD: The senior has completed 233-of-346 passes for 3,248 yards and 29 touchdowns. He has started 38 straight games while becoming the second-most prolific passer in ACC history.

WR SAMMY WATKINS: The junior has caught 78 passes for 1,144 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. His 217 receptions are second in Clemson history.

DE VIC BEASLEY: The junior has put together a huge season with 33 tackles, 17 for loss, and 10 sacks, nine quarterback pressures, six pass breakups and three forced fumbles.

LB STEPHONE ANTHONY: The junior leads the team with 101 tackles, 12.5 for loss, and four sacks.

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