Clemson linebacker Ben Boulware believes South Carolina has a bright future with freshman quarterback Jake Bentley and freshman running back Rico Dowdle.
The senior said from watching film he came away impressed with what the two have done this season.
“The quarterback and the running back stand out for them being so young and making the plays they’ve been able to make,” Boulware said. “Those guys will probably turn that program around in the next couple of years. Just them playing at a high level as 18-year-olds, I think South Carolina fans have a lot to look forward to in the next couple of years.”
Dowdle is averaging 98 yards per game and nearly 6 yards per carry after taking over at running back. He was sidelined for the first part of the year with an injury.
Bentley is completing better than 66 percent of his passes and is averaging 198 passing yards per game. He has thrown six touchdown passes with one interception in five starts.
Boulware said Bentley is not playing like a freshman.
“I think he’s obviously shown that he can play at this level, even at a young age,” Boulware said. “He’s a big kid. He’s obviously mature for his age.”
He added that he does not expect the environment at Death Valley to be too much for Bentley to handle.
Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson has not seen much of Bentley but said, “Best of luck to him and his career. I bet he’ll do great things for that university.”
Clemson players are obviously hoping for a win over South Carolina on Saturday and would also like to see other ACC teams have success against their SEC rivals.
In addition to Clemson-USC, Georgia Tech plays at Georgia, Louisville hosts Kentucky and Florida State hosts Florida.
“I always pull for the ACC,” Watson said. “Best of luck to all of those guys that are playing this week against the SEC.”
Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott played wide receiver for the Tigers but didn’t grow up in a family full of Clemson fans. His sister and aunt both graduated from South Carolina.
“There was a rough little spell, but it’s always good to have those bragging rights,” he said. “I think I always took the high road when I had the upper hand, but when we were on the losing end, trust me, they let me know about it.”
When asked who his sister would be rooting for this week Elliott joked, “I don’t know; I’m not talking to my sister this week.”
Countdown Is On
Clemson has countdown clocks in its meeting rooms leading up to the game against South Carolina.
“They usually start that in the summer all the way until we play South Carolina,” running back Wayne Gallman said. “It’s a focus because we’ve got to control the state.”