Clemson coach Dabo Swinney can’t think of a better time to take on rival South Carolina.
“They played their best game and we played our best game,” Swinney said. “We are two good teams with big wins. Both teams have some confidence.”
Swinney is happy both teams are playing well ahead of the weekend as No. 7 Clemson (10-1) hosts South Carolina (7-4) and has a chance to create their all-time winning streak in a series first started in 1896 was played .
The Tigers have won seven straight games against the Gamecocks, matching Clemson’s winning streak from 1934 to 1940 in Palmetto State’s greatest sporting rivalry.
But South Carolina is coming with some juice after its unexpected 63-38 demolition of then-No. 5 Tennessee last week.
“I think it’s great that they did that,” said Clemson tight end Jake Briningstool. “The fact that they come in hot, with a sense of arrogance, is perfect for us.”
Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler knows Clemson will be the challenge Tennessee once was, and his team will need to adopt the same hard-working approach they had in beating the Vols when they face a second straight top-10 opponent want to hit.
“I know it’s going to be a crazy environment,” Rattler said. “We’re just looking forward to the opportunity, coming after a good game, wanting to have a great week of training and focusing on ourselves. It’s all about us.”
That is not always easy. Among the congratulations he received were texts from ex-NFL players Terrell Owens and Archie Manning.
Gamecocks coach Shane Beamer told his players it was time to shut off the Tennessee talk. He even asked his social media team to stop posting their creative videos or posts about the Vols’ victory.
Beamer’s message to his players about well-wishers: “Thank them, but say we’re moving on.”
Clemson has bounced back from his only loss of the season at No. 13 Notre Dame three weeks ago with solid wins over Louisville and Miami to end his fourth regular season, 8-0 for ACC since his championship run began in 2015.
South Carolina clinched its win in Tennessee without the two biggest jams in injured MarShawn Lloyd and Wake Forest grad Christian Beal-Smith. Lloyd, who still leads the Gamecocks with 556 yards and nine touchdowns, has missed the past three games with a thigh contusion. Beal-Smith, with five fast TDs, was out in the last two with a foot injury. Beamer said both attended training on Tuesday.
Rattler and Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei both say they are focused on what’s ahead this season rather than the NFL. The two said this week that they will reflect on their future after the season.
DEAD LEG DJ
According to Briningstool, players nickname their quarterback “dead-leg DJ” because he carefully itches defenders when he lobs on QB scrambles. Uiagalelei laughs at the moniker but has used the style effectively this season. He has 308 yards on 105 attempts with four touchdowns on the floor. Uiagalelei led the Tigers by 89 yards in last week’s win over Miami.
This is Swinney’s favorite week of the season. Swinney, a native of Alabama and a member of the 1992 Crimson Tide national championship team, loves the intensity that surrounds games like Auburn-Alabama and Clemson-South Carolina. “Northwestern and Indiana, they probably don’t break up marriages over this,” Swinney said. “No offense to Northwestern and Indiana.”
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