Please see page 6D for more pre-game coverage of the Gamecocks and Tigers, including notes, statistics, key matchups, quotes and more.
FURMAN PALADINS (1-1 OVERALL, 0-0 SOUTHERN) AT NO. 20 CLEMSON TIGERS (2-0, 1-0 ACC), 1 P.M.
• TV: None
• Radio: WRHI (1340 AM)
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• Series record: Clemson leads 40-10-4
• Last game: Clemson 28, Furman 17, Sept. 6, 2003.
• Last week: Hofstra beat Furman 32-17; Clemson beat Louisiana-Monroe 49-26.
• Rankings: Furman is 16th in the Division I-AA poll; Clemson is 20th in the AP and USA Today/coaches polls
• Tickets: Available at 1-800-CLEMSON
TIGERS' KEYS TO VICTORY
• COME OUT STRONG -- It took a kick to the head to wake up last week against Louisiana-Monroe, although Clemson quickly took control. Not to say the Tigers couldn't come back from an early deficit this week, but why give the Paladins a thought of an upset?
• IGNORE -- Cullen Harper can't catch a break -- even after a game where he throws five touchdowns, he still has his job in jeopardy. Harper can't think of Willy Korn eyeing the starting quarterback spot, or he'll definitely lose it.
• PASS -- Whoever's under center has got the benefit of facing a defense giving up almost 300 yards through the air per game.
The story all week has been about Harper and Korn battling for the starter's spot, despite Harper doing nothing wrong to lose the job and Korn looking good against the ULM defense -- not the toughest Clemson will face. If this was a conference game or a high-profile Division I opponent, the brewing controversy might be a problem. Furman's good, very good, but is still a Division I-AA team. One D-II beating a D-I per year is usually the norm, and Appalachian State took care of that three weeks ago.
TIGERS 45, PALADINS 20
S.C. STATE BULLDOGS (1-1, 1-0 MEAC) AT NO. 17 SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS (2-0, 1-0 SEC), 7 P.M.
• TV: Pay-per-view (digital cable channel 608 in Rock Hill, $29.95. Call 330-4263 to order)
• Radio: WRHM-FM (94.3)
• Series record: First meeting.
• Last week: S.C. State beat Bethune-Cookman 24-13; USC beat Georgia 16-12
• Rankings: S.C. State received votes in the Division I-AA poll; South Carolina is 17th in the AP poll and 23rd in the USA Today/coaches poll
• Tickets: Available at 1-800-4SC-FANS
GAMECOCKS' KEYS TO VICTORY
• DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE -- Not the hype of a Division I-AA beating a Division I -- we all know that can happen. The hype of their own selves. USC won last week against a pretty good team, but there's still a long way to go -- and a lot of stuff to fix -- before the season's over.
• TACKLE -- The Gamecocks improved immeasurably last week, holding on to Georgia's runners and wrapping them up on the first contact. Facing another running team with a mobile quarterback, more of the same would decide the game.
• YEAH, IT'S HISTORIC, BUT ... -- No game was ever won or lost by paying attention to the significance of a budding rivalry or anything of the sort. Concentrate, do your jobs and the result will take care of itself.
S.C. State is hyped for the game, bringing a legion of fans who are planning on tailgating throughout the day even if they can't get into the stadium. All USC has to do is ignore the festive atmosphere and realize what's real -- the Gamecocks are 2-0 and want to be 3-0. The Bulldogs like to run and with a new-found confidence in its ability to stop the run, USC can decide the game with a couple of first-quarter drillings. And if that doesn't work, the fear of another Wofford coming in and shocking the crowd may scare USC onto the straight and narrow.
GAMECOCKS 30, BULLDOGS 14
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