David Cloninger

Cloninger's five gameday storylines: USC vs. Clemson

Mike Davis
Mike Davis kkfoster@thestate.com

1. RUN

South Carolina has won this game in the past by leaning on its running game, even without Marcus Lattimore for two years. It’s worked. Backs have shredded Clemson’s defense, and they have kept the Tigers’ rocket-fuel offense off the field.

2. KNOCK ‘EM DOWN

The Gamecocks’ defense has also been a large part of the four-game winning streak, but this year, the defense has not been dominant. It must be Saturday night to win. Early, constant pressure on Tajh Boyd has to be the game plan.

3. ON THE BOARD

Clemson has scored first in three of the past four years, all USC wins. Steve Spurrier has been known to immediately try and answer an opponent score with a passing touchdown, which may tie the game or take the lead. Here, that would also put Boyd back on the field. Patience is the key.

4. 7-5 AND WIN, OR 10-2 AND LOSE?

That is the question. Dabo Swinney has taken Clemson near the program’s former heights but is 1-4 against USC. Predecessor Tommy Bowden couldn’t keep the Tigers in the national picture, but whipped the Gamecocks seven out of nine times. What’s better?

5. BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?

Mike Davis has been hurt and told that he can run better over the past few weeks, despite having a marvelous season. Saturday night, against another team that shunned him and with his Clemson alum brother looking on, he has a chance to shine.

  Comments