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Clemson Football

Keys to Victory: No. 23 Clemson at South Carolina

November 27, 2021

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Each week we give you a look at the game's history, three keys to success, plus Swanny's prediction.

The Match-Up:

No. 23 Clemson (8-3, 6-2 ACC) vs. South Carolina (6-5, 3-5 SEC)

Clemson and South Carolina are resuming a rivalry contested for 111 consecutive years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Before its interruption, it was the nation's second-longest uninterrupted series.

Clemson at South Carolina 2019

Series History:

  • OVERALL: Clemson leads series, 71-42-4
  • HOME: Clemson leads series, 19-10-1
  • ROAD: Clemson leads series, 52-32-3
  • LAST MEETING: Nov. 30, 2019 (38-3, W)
  • STREAK: Clemson, Won 6

Stat of the Week:

Clemson has held the lead in its all-time series with South Carolina for 44,935 consecutive days (123 years and 10 days) at the time of kickoff on Saturday. South Carolina won the series opener in 1896 before Clemson evened the series in 1897. Clemson won the third game in the series on Nov. 17, 1898, to take a 2-1 series lead that Clemson hasn't relinquished.

Chasing History:

The game's removal from last year's schedule delayed an opportunity that now awaits Clemson's 2021 squad. Clemson has won each of the series' last six games, including wins in Columbia in 2015, 2017 and 2019. A Clemson win on Saturday would give the Tigers seven straight wins against the Gamecocks and would tie the 1934-40 Tigers for the longest winning streak by either team in series history. A win would also make Dabo Swinney the first coach on either side to win seven straight games in the series.

Key 1: Win the Turnover Battle

This game seems to have the makings of an old-school ground and pound matchup. While Clemson has the edge in the ability to make plays downfield, last weekend's power rushing attack might have convinced Tony Elliott that the Tigers' best path toward victory is on the ground.

It would also be in South Carolina's best interest to control the clock and limit opportunities for Clemson making the time drain off the scoreboard in a hurry. If that comes to fruition, then any turnovers are further enhanced in a low possession game.

Win the turnover battle and you have a great chance to win the game-- lose it, and you might be playing from behind in a contest that's probably going to move pretty rapidly. 

Key 2: Play Loose

As the Tigers seek a 7th straight win in the series, matching an all-time high, there is no reason that this group shouldn't be locked in on South Carolina. Last night, NC State's rally against North Carolina ripped Clemson's chances to play for an ACC Title, so this game is all that remains-- outside of a bowl game for the 2021 Tigers. 

With that in mind, just having fun in the game would seem to be as important as anything given how tight D.J. Uiagalelei has looked most of the season. If he's able to freelance and have fun, the TIgers could run away from South Carolina-- if he's tight, the game might be close than the 11.5 point spread.

Key 3: Land Early Punches

Back in 2014, with Pharof Cooper raced to the endzone in Death Valley, giving the Gamecocks a 7-0 lead, you could feel Clemson fans, amid a five-game losing streak collectively saying, "Not again." Minutes later, the Tigers would answer with a game-tying touchdown-- beginning the current six-game streak for Clemson.

If the Tigers hit on a few big plays early, that same "feeling" will reverberate inside Williams-Brice Stadium, making the path to victory even steeper for the Gamecocks. If there is any sense that Clemson is taking control, the fans in Garnet and Black will feel it and that nervous energy will be hard to overcome.


You cannot deny the improvement that has been made at South Carolina under first-year head coach Shane Beamer. The Gamecocks recently knocked off both Auburn and Florida and are bowl-eligible for the first time since 2018. Following back-to-back eight loss seasons, that's significant. You cannot deny it.

But this Clemson team, while not playing their best football for most of the season, has seemingly turned a corner on offense averaging over 35 points per game in their last three Power Five games. That's a massive improvement given that 14-17 points seemed to be the limit in the early stages of the 2021 season.

The Tigers still have better players, positive momentum in the series, and most importantly, are built for games in hostile environments. 

Clemson 31, South Carolina 17

Swanny's Predictions: 

Date 2021 Schedule Predictions Swanny's Prediction Actual Score
9-4-2021 No. 3 Clemson vs. No. 5 Georgia 31-27 Clemson 10-3 Georgia
9-11-2021 No. 6 Clemson vs. SC State 59-7 Clemson 49-3 Clemson
9-18-2021 No. 6 Clemson vs. Georgia Tech 45-10 Clemson 14-8 Clemson
9-25-2021 No. 9 Clemson @ NC State 31-14 Clemson 27-21 NC State
10-2-2021 No. 25 Clemson vs. Boston College 24-21 Clemson 19-13 Clemson
10-9-2021 OPEN    
10-15-2021 Clemson @ Syracuse 27-17 Clemson 17-14 Clemson
10-23-2021 No. 24 Clemson @ No. 23 Pitt 31-20 Pitt 27-17 Pitt
10-30-2021 Clemson vs. Florida State 27-23 Clemson 30-20 Clemson
11-6-2021 Clemson @ Louisville 31-17 Clemson 30-24 Clemson
11-13-2021 Clemson vs. UConn 49-14 Clemson 44-7 Clemson
11-20-2021 Clemson vs. Wake Forest 27-23 Clemson 48-27 Clemson
11-27-2021 Clemson @ South Carolina 31-17 Clemson ???

*Correct predictions in bold

Discussion from...

Keys to Victory: No. 23 Clemson at South Carolina

1,313 Views | 0 Replies | Last: 8 mo ago by Lawton Swann
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