1. UNDER CENTER
Clemson continues to be coy with the status of injured quarterback Deshaun Watson, saying he’ll play if they feel comfortable letting him play. The difference in Watson or Cole Stoudt playing is confidence – with Watson, Clemson will have it. With Stoudt, USC’s defense will have it.
That’s the number of days between Clemson wins in the series (not counting Saturday). Dabo Swinney was there for the beginning of that streak but hasn’t seen a win since. No question he’s won games and titles at Clemson, but how much longer without a rivalry win can he go without becoming John Cooper?
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With each team facing offensive problems – the Tigers don’t do well with Stoudt under center and USC is facing the country’s top-ranked defense – the game could come down to the kickers. Clemson’s Ammon Lakip is 19-of-24 with a long of 45 and USC’s Elliott Fry is 16-of-20 with a long of 47.
Each team has had turnover problems this year, Clemson with 11 interceptions and 13 fumbles (six lost). USC has 11 interceptions and 16 fumbles (nine lost). During the Gamecocks’ five-game streak over the Tigers, Clemson has 15 turnovers to USC’s three.
5. WELCOME HOME
Dylan Thompson played the game of his life two years ago, subbing for an injured Connor Shaw and leading the Gamecocks to an improbable win. He has more offensive weapons, a lot less defensive weapons but is still at the same stadium, facing the same team, near his hometown and even wearing the same uniform. Can lightning strike twice?