South Carolina's players had been coached well.
They weren't about to say anything bombastic. It's Clemson week. Anything they say could wind up on a bulletin board, or whatever the 2016 digital equivalent of that is.
They were going to respect the Tigers, a strong and talented outfit on both sides of the ball. But that didn't stop running back David Williams from laying out how things stand.
"They've got a lot to lose," Williams said. "We've got more to gain, and we don't really have a lot of pressure on us."
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So what would it mean to deal a near-fatal blow to Clemson's playoff hopes?
"That's the goal," Williams said. "That's the goal to get there. You get a win, you win the state, people are going to remember it."
Some of the Gamecocks grew up steeped in the Palmetto State rivalry, but a great many did not. It's known beyond South Carolina's borders, but like any good feud, neither fully felt nor appreciated until in the thick of it.
So many got their first introduction quickly.
"That was when I first stepped on campus," tight end Hayden Hurst said. "You see 'Beat Clemson,' Clemsux, all that sort of stuff around campus, and it's like you start to understand the history around it and the level of the rivalry."
Defensive end Marquavius Lewis grew up in Greenwood, a town about equidistant from Clemson and Columbia. He said the town's loyalties mirror that, and while he watched several compatriots go on to become Gamecocks, he played for a coach from the Upstate, who had a decided Clemson lean.
Like several South Carolina players, the Tigers had offered him, but they didn't talk to him much after extending it.
Seniors have already started warning younger players what to expect up in Death Valley, an atmosphere that should be oppressive with fans that have time to get in the proper state of mind for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. Tailback A.J. Turner said he asked about it, having never played up there, but only said he expects it to be interesting.
When linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams goes out in Gamecocks football gear, he said people will stop him. They tell him, "Beat Clemson."
"That's all you hear in Columbia," Allen-Williams said. "A lot of people at the beginning of the season, they said we really don't care what you do this year, as long as you beat Clemson. That means a lot because no one wants to have a losing season. Going out and beating your rival, that's huge, that's amazing."
Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp is going into his first edition of the rivalry, and while he didn't say too much weight went on it, the players saw this week coming a long time before it came.
"Every day before we break down meetings, (we say) beat the east, win the state," Hurst said. "That's a huge game for people around here. He's addressed it since day one.
"This game has been circled on everyone's schedule since we kicked off in September."