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Clemson Football

'They're going to get our best,' Freshman Barnes talks South Carolina Showdown

November 21, 2023

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As the Clemson Tigers brace themselves for the annual showdown against arch-rivals South Carolina, star freshman Khalil Barnes takes a trip down memory lane, recalling the electrifying atmosphere during his official visit last year. "It was a crazy environment for sure," Barnes said, setting the stage for what should be another thrilling chapter in the historic matchup.

Now that his role has shifted from recruit to player, Barnes has a newfound appreciation for the rivalry's intensity and the emotional intricacies that come with the territory.

"I for sure feel like it's a little bit extra this week," Barnes said on Monday, emphasizing the game's significance for the players. "We just got to take it day by day," he added.

As the Tigers prepare for one of their season's most anticipated games, the rivalry between Clemson and South Carolina runs deep, creating an atmosphere charged with adrenaline and passion. 

Barnes vividly described the experience during his official visit, painting a picture of the crowd's intensity at Clemson. "Real loud-- a real hectic place," he noted.

This year is sure to be hectic as the South Carolina Gamecocks host-- and have a bowl bid is within reach-- if they can knock off Clemson. The crowd noise will likely reach levels that accompany such a high-stakes matchup.

As Barnes reflects on last year's game, he acknowledges the weight of expectations and the disappointment of losing to their rival.

"They ruined the home streak last year," he says. That loss fuels the team's determination to emerge victorious this year and adds a layer of personal motivation for Barnes, who was a recruit during that visit.

The home streak Barnes refers to shattered not only Clemson’s 40-game home winning streak but also a seven-game rivalry winning streak. Despite being two-touchdown underdogs, the unranked Gamecocks emerged with a 31–30 victory in Death Valley. The defeat also dashed Clemson's hopes for an appearance in the College Football Playoff, adding a layer of significance to this year's matchup.

The 2022 meeting was a frustrating moment for Clemson nation, and Barnes recognizes the challenges that come from playing a rival. "Regardless of what anybody in the media thinks, we're going to get their best. They're going to get our best," Barnes asserts.

Beyond the historical context, Barnes recognizes the challenge posed by the opposing quarterback, Spencer Rattler, acknowledging his play.

"He's very talented, probably one of the best, if not the best, quarterbacks we will play this year," Barnes noted. He also emphasized the need for thorough film study and preparation for Saturday’s contest.

“When we get to Saturday-- just put it on display," Barnes said. His mentality reflects the resilience and determination the Tigers have displayed since a 4-4 start to the season. In the first eight games, turnovers and poor situational decisions got the best of the Tigers. However, Clemson is currently on a three-game-winning streak and looks to close out the season strong this weekend.

For Barnes and his teammates, this game represents an opportunity to for redemption while etching their names in the history books of Clemson-South Carolina lore.

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