Suddenly, there’s a little more juice for the annual South Carolina rivalry matchup.
After struggling to move the ball in a 38-6 loss in Florida, the Gamecocks’ offense exploded in a 63-38 win over fifth-ranked Tennessee for 606 yards of offense.
South Carolina entered the competition as a huge underdog, and Clemson’s co-defensive coordinator Mickey Conn admitted it was a surprise result.
“Of course, as probably everyone,” said Conn. “They were very creative with (Jaheim) Bell moving it in different places and where they put it. And they distributed the ball, put the ball in different people’s hands. Did a great job with formations, shifts and movement. Just a lot of creativity on offense, I thought.”
Spencer Rattler had arguably the best performance of his collegiate career, throwing 30 of 37 for 438 yards with six touchdowns.
“I thought he played really well,” said Conn. “I think he’s gotten better as the season has gone on. If we’re talking about a guy that’s transitioning, he has to learn a new offense and he’s getting better every week.”
The Tigers also pulled off an impressive 40-10 win over Miami. Defense was dominant, keeping the Hurricanes on just 98 yards of offense, the lowest performance since 1965. Miami averaged just 1.3 yards per carry when the ball ran.
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Former Tiger Mike Williams opens in South Carolina
While many in the state of South Carolina are busy eating their turkey, the third-placed Clemson Tigers will be thinking about chicken as they prepare for their annual post-Thanksgiving matchup with the South Carolina Gamecocks. As the Tigers and Gamecocks prepare for their game on Saturday (noon, ESPN), former Clemson, Lake Marion Gator and current Los Angeles Charger Mike Williams will watch as the Tigers take on the Gamecocks from the comfort of their own homes.
Reggie Merriweather discusses the 2006 loss to South Carolina
Reggie Merriweather, former Clemson running back and current part-time reporter for the Clemson Tigers Radio Network, sat down for an exclusive interview with AllClemson.com. One of the topics discussed was the Tigers’ heartbreaking 31-28 loss to South Carolina in 2006
The Clemson defense also registered five sacks and held Miami on just 3 of 11 on third-down attempts, which was the season’s most complete performance. This follows a mostly strong performance in defeating Louisville.
Conn credits the aggressive attitude the defense has shown since losing to Notre Dame for their improved game in the last two games, which he believes will serve the Tigers well on Saturday.
“I think defensively it’s the energy and enthusiasm,” said Conn. “I think that was the biggest difference for us, bringing that, and I think playing in Death Valley, I think the audience and our fans and that support and that noise and all that stuff, man, amplifies it it really. But I love the energy and enthusiasm our defense are playing with right now.”
Conn, who played in Alabama, is more than familiar with how intense some of these intrastate rivalries can be, and he knows exactly how much is at stake when these two teams get started on Saturday.
“This game means a lot to the people of this state,” said Conn. “And for us, for me, I take that personally. I can remember being part of the rivalry you talk about and crying as a little kid when we didn’t win. That’s how these kids who love Clemson feel. That’s what these parents and these adults think of Clemson, and I take it personally. I want Clemson fans to be happy and excited at the end of the day. So we’re going to do everything we can with the defensive staff to make them happy.”
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