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Early Preview – South Carolina

Posted by cuorange on July 30, 2009

Game 12 – November 28, 2009 – Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SC

Record O St Rtng Pts/Gm O Yds/Gm O D St Rtng Pts/Gm D Yds/Gm D
7-6 5 20.8 317 6 20.1 292

I can’t remember the last time Clemson lost to South Carolina in Columbia and neither can Steve Spurrier, because he wasn’t the coach then. True, they’ve only played there twice under Spurrier and both were close losses (13-9 and 23-21), but losses nonetheless.

This year is going to be different. Spurrier and the Gamecock staff have said after four years they finally understand how important the Clemson game is.

Stephen Garcia is going to be the leader of the Gamecock offense and there is 0 experience behind him. Garcia threw 122 passes, but only completed 53.3% with 6 TDs and 6 INTs. Reid McCollum and Aramis Hillary are on the roster, but its Garcia or bust for the Gamecocks.

The Cocks lost almost every running back on the roster, besides Brian Maddox (121 Yds), though Garcia (198 Yds) has shown the ability to run and scramble. They do have talented true freshman Jarvis Giles and he could be the answer, if not in game one, then certainly by game 12.

The receiving corps suffers two big losses in Kenny McKinley and Jared Cook, but another true freshman, Ashlon Jeffrey, could be ready to step in.

A weak OL killed the Gamecocks in ’08 and they lost two starters off that group. 2.9 yards per rush and 94 yards a game on the ground is not going to get it done in the SEC or against Clemson for that matter.

The SC defensive line is stocked with talent with the only real loss being Jordin Lindsey. Clifton Geathers, Nathan Pepper, Ladi Ajiboye and Cliff Matthews can all play. This group gave up 133 yards per game on the ground last year and I would look for that number to improve.

Eric Norwood returns at LB along with the addition of two JUCO transfers, but the Cocks lost Jasper Brinkley and Marvin Sapp, while Darian Stewart moves to safety.

The defensive backfield takes some big hits with the loss of Emmanuel Cook, Captain Munnerlyn and Carlos Thomas. Two freshman, including Stephon Gilmore, enrolled early and could vie for playing time, but this is going to be an inexperienced group on the whole.

The Skinny: Different year, same story for Carolina. The skill players have potential but are unproven and young. A brutal schedule will take its toll, despite the off week prior to the Clemson game for the 3rd consecutive year. The Carolina defense will be solid, but the offense will struggle again.

Early Conclusion: Spurrier’s 5th year and he is staring at perhaps his first losing season at Carolina if the ball bounces the wrong way once or twice. The Gamecocks are generally thin (QB, RB, WR, LB, DB) and could be devastated (as in ’07) by a key injury or two. That’s not a good thing when you play in the SEC.

Until the Gamecocks prove different, Clemson has the edge in this series and certainly at Williams-Brice Stadium (for some unknown reason).

Clemson 23 South Carolina 15

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