Dabo Swinney, Will Muschamp meet ahead of rivalry game
South Carolina and Clemson football will face off in the Palmetto Bowl in Death Valley. Here’s what you need to know about the game:
What time do the Gamecocks and Tigers play?
Who: Clemson (11-0) vs. South Carolina (6-4)
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Series history: Clemson leads the series 69–42–4. South Carolina has lost four in a row after winning five in a row.
TV: ESPN (Steve Levy, play-by-play; Brian Griese, analysis; Todd McShay, sideline)
Radio: USC on 107.5 FM in Columbia (Todd Ellis, play-by-play; Tommy Suggs, analysis; Langston Moore, sideline) ... See all the radio affiliates around the state here. ... Clemson on 93.1 FM in Columbia (Don Munson, Rodney Williams, Reggie Merriweather) ... See all the radio affiliates around the state here.
Satellite radio: Sirius 119/XM 381
Line: Clemson by 26 1/2
Weather: Partly cloudy, with a low around 44. A 13 percent chance of rain. Around 50 degrees at kickoff, 47 at the end of the game.
What’s at stake
For South South Carolina, it’s a chance to finally get off the four-year snide and actually top a Clemson squad that is among the best in the country. It would also be the biggest win of the Will Muschamp era and an important step as he builds his program.
The Tigers have the chance to finish an undefeated, untied regular season for the fourth time in school history. It would also bring them a step closer to the College Football Playoff, as they’re in the driver’s seat for a spot.
Even if South Carolina loses, there would be value in just competing, as USC hasn’t been close in either of the past two games, notably the 56-7 game in 2016.
The teams, by the numbers
Opp. Yds Rush/Game
Opp. Yds. Pass/Game
Opp. Total Yds/Game
South Carolina players to watch
1. South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley has been on a hot streak of late, and USC will need him at his best to have a chance. The Gamecocks will need to score in bunches, and the most big plays on this team come from the passing game. For the season, he has 2,244 yards, 19 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.
2. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel is South Carolina’s best big-play threat and probably its top talent overall. He hasn’t been consistent in delivering big plays, but he’ll need a few for USC to have a chance. He’s got 48 catches for 639 yards and six scores.
3. Freshman safety R.J. Roderick will be tested as he’s still new to the position, thrust into the starting lineup and at a spot where the depth has been obliterated. The former quarterback is next to Steven Montac, who has had tackling issues, with an injured freshman corner (Jaycee Horn) and another starting corner (Rashad Fenton) as backups.
Clemson players to watch
1. Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins is not just the best player on Clemson’s defense, but the senior is also the heart and soul of the Tigers’ team. Wilkins will be highly motivated to finish off his career at Death Valley with a win against South Carolina, and he has been living in the opponent’s backfield this season. If the Tigers get a big lead don’t be surprised if Wilkins finally gets his shot to play a little quarterback as well.
2. South Carolina’s secondary is banged up and Clemson has plenty of talented receivers that will be going up against a young and inexperienced group. Sophomore Tee Higgins is the best of the bunch. The Tennessee native leads the Tigers with 43 catches for 624 yards and seven touchdowns in 2018.
3. The Gamecocks have struggled against the run this season, and now they must try to slow down one of the best backs in the nation in Travis Etienne. USC is No. 92 nationally in rushing yards allowed per game at 190.1, and the Gamecocks allowed 367 rushing yards in their last road game at Florida. Etienne has topped the 100-yard mark five times this season. He has 1,157 rushing yards, is averaging 6.2 yards per carry and has tied a school record with 17 rushing touchdowns.
South Carolina depth chart
WR - Deebo Samuel (Josh Vann)
WR - Bryan Edwards (Chavis Dawkins)
WR - Shi Smith (Randrecous Davis)
OT - Dylan Wonnum (Blake Camper)
OG - Zack Bailey (Eric Douglas)
C - Donell Stanley (Chandler Farrell)
OG - Sadarius Hutcherson (Jordan Rhodes)
OT - Dennis Daley (Malik Young)
QB - Jake Bentley (Michael Scarnecchia, Dakereon Joyner)
RB - A.J. Turner OR Mon Denson OR Rico Dowdle OR Ty’Son Williams
TE - Jacob August (Kyle Markway)
TE - K.C. Crosby (Kiel Pollard)
DE - D.J. Wonnum (Brad Johnson)
DT - Javon Kinlaw (Rick Sandidge)
DT - Kobe Smith (J.J. Enagbare)
DE - Keir Thomas (Shameik Blackshear)
WLB - Sherrod Greene (Damani Staley)
MLB - T.J. Brunson (Rosendo Louis)
SLB - Daniel Fennell (Ernest Jones)
CB - Keisean Nixon (Jaycee Horn)
S - Steven Montac (Jaycee Horn)
S - R.J. Roderick (Jaycee Horn)
CB - Rashad Fenton (Israel Mukuamu)
Nickel - Jaycee Horn (Rashad Fenton)
PK - Parker White (Alexander Woznick_
KO - Alexander Woznick (Parker White)
P - Joseph Charlton (Michael Almond)
LS - Ben Asbury (Matthew Smith)
KOR - Deebo Samuel (A.J. Turner)
PR - Bryan Edwards
H - Danny Gordon (Michael Almond)
Clemson depth chart
QB - Trevor Lawrence (Chase Brice)
RB – Travis Etienne (Tavien Feaster or Adam Choice, Lyn-J Dixon)
WR - Tee Higgins (Justyn Ross, Diondre Overton)
WR - Hunter Renfrow (Trevion Thompson, T.J. Chase)
WR – Amari Rodgers (Derion Kendrick)
TE - Milan Richard (Braden Galloway or J.C. Chalk or Cannon Smith)
H-Back - Garrett Williams
LT - Mitch Hyatt (Jackson Carman)
LG - John Simpson (Matt Bockhorst)
C - Justin Falcinelli (Gage Cervenka)
RG – Gage Cervenka or Sean Pollard (Cade Stewart)
RT - Tremayne Anchrum (Chandler Reeves or Blake Vinson)
DE - Clelin Ferrell (Justin Foster, Chris Register)
DT - Dexter Lawrence (Nyles Pinckney, Jordan Williams)
DT - Christian Wilkins (Albert Huggins, Xavier Kelly)
DE - Austin Bryant (Xavier Thomas, Logan Rudolph)
SLB/NB – Isaiah Simmons (Jalen Williams, Baylon Spector)
MLB –Tre Lamar (Judah Davis or Chad Smith)
WLB – Kendall Joseph (J.D. Davis, Shaq Smith)
CB – A.J. Terrell (Mark Fields, Mario Goodrich)
SS – K’Von Wallace (Nolan Turner)
FS – Tanner Muse (Denzel Johnson)
CB – Trayvon Mullen (Kyler McMichael, LeAnthony Williams)
PK - Greg Huegel (B.T. Potter or Alex Spence)
P - Will Spiers (Carson King)
KO - B.T. Potter (Steven Sawicki)
LS(PK) - Patrick Phibbs (Austin Spence)
LS (P) - Austin Spence (Patrick Phibbs)
H - Will Swinney (Will Spiers)
PR - Amari Rodgers (Hunter Renfrow or Derion Kendrick)
KOR - Derion Kendrick and Adam Choice
Matt Connolly contributed to this report