Clemson was riding high last November after winning the ACC Atlantic Division Championship. The Tigers were headed to their first ACC Championship game with a chance to win their first title since 1991. All was good, except that the Tigers forgot to take care of business in Columbia.
USC beat up on Clemson last year 34-17 turning two costly Clemson turnovers into touchdowns. The Gamecocks handled the Tigers up front rushing for 223 yards, 114 by Kenny Miles. Stephen Garcia threw three touchdown passes.
This USC team is the best offensively under Steve Spurrier averaging over 30 points and over 400 yards per game. The addition of freshman running back Marcus Lattimore plus the Garcia to Alshon Jeffery connection have given the Clemson defense plenty to think about this week.
The Clemson defense has been rock solid over the past six weeks allowing just one touchdown per game over that period. The offense has not been nearly as productive though the Tigers were much better against Wake Forest last week. Quarterback Kyle Parker threw the ball well, the receivers had few drops and Jamie Harper rushed for over 140 yards for the second week in a row. That outing has given that group a little more confidence going into Saturday.
One side story for Clemson early this week is the opportunity for offensive coordinator Billy Napier to interview for the Furman head coaching position. Napier, a Furman grad, will meet with the Furman people early next week.
Saturday night’s game will kickoff at 7:00 PM and be televised on ESPN2. USC opened the week as a three point favorite.