After upsetting No. 5 Tennessee at home, the South Carolina football team will attempt to spoil another top-10 team’s playoff chances when the team travels to play rival Clemson in the Palmetto Bowl.
Last season, then No. 23 Clemson shut out South Carolina 30-0 in Columbia. The Tigers ran all over the Gamecocks in that game, picking up 265 of its 364 yards on the ground.
“Clemson certainly ran the ball on us last year, right through us,” head coach Shane Beamer said. “We’ve got to be a whole lot better at stopping the run, and we got to mix it up too coverage-wise.”
Then-freshman running back Will Shipley was the main contributor for Clemson in that game. He had 128 yards and a touchdown, and he has only gotten better in his sophomore campaign.
This season, Shipley has been a dual-threat player. He has 960 rushing yards, 28 receptions for 182 yards and 13 touchdowns. Beamer said just like every week, stopping the opponent's ground attack is a main priority.
“Every week we want to stop the run. And no that's matter who we’re playing — it always starts at stopping the run,” Beamer said.
Clemson’s offense has improved from last season. The 2022 Tigers are averaging more passing yards and rushing yards than the team from a year before. The Tigers enter Saturday’s game fresh off a 30-point win over Miami last week.
Fortunately for the Gamecocks, they also have an improved offense, and that offense is coming off its best game of the season after dropping 63 points against Tennessee.
The Gamecocks were clicking on all cylinders in the game. Junior quarterback Spencer Rattler played a near-perfect match, setting career highs in pass yards and touchdowns, with 438 yards and six touchdowns in the win.
“He gave our receivers opportunities when they were one-on-one with defensive backs to go up and make a play,” Beamer said. “The other thing Spencer did a great job of, was when something was there, he took it … he got through things quickly and got the ball where it needed to go.”
A week after spoiling one orange team’s playoff hopes, the Gamecocks will attempt to end Clemson’s shot at earning a spot in the College Football Playoff on Saturday. A loss in this game for the Tigers would surely end any hopes of a national championship.
To win against Clemson, the South Carolina team that beat Tennessee will need to show up. It can’t be the team that scored just 6 points in Florida.
Winning won’t be easy. Clemson has dominated the series in recent years. The Tigers hold a seven-game win streak dating back to 2014 and won all but one by more than 15 points. The two teams did not play in the 2020 season because of COVID-19 restrictions.
If Clemson were to win Saturday, it will have set a new record for the longest win streak in the matchup at eight. The Tigers once had a seven-game winning streak from 1934-1940.
A win for the Gamecocks would get the team to eight wins for the first time in the Beamer era. It would also increase the team’s chances of a favorable bowl invitation.
South Carolina's regular season finale will kick off on Saturday at noon. It can be watched on ABC.