See page 6D for more pre-game coverage of the Gamecocks and Tigers, including notes, statistics, key matchups and more.
CLEMSON TIGERS (5-2, 2-2 ACC) AT MARYLAND TERRAPINS (4-3, 1-2), 3:30 P.M.
• TV: ABC (cable channel 4 in Rock Hill)
• Radio: WRHI-AM (1340)
• Series record: 29-24-2 Clemson
• Last game: Maryland 13, Clemson 12, Nov. 4, 2006, in Clemson
• Last week: Clemson beat Central Michigan 70-14; Virginia beat Maryland 18-17
• Rankings: Clemson received votes in each poll; Maryland received votes in the USA Today/coaches poll
• Tickets: Sold out
TIGERS' KEYS TO VICTORY
• Pass: Maryland shut down Clemson's running game last year and dared Will Proctor to throw, and the Tigers were limited to four field goals. With a bigger concern on passing this year and Cullen Harper putting up big numbers, Clemson should be able to increase the Terps' average of giving up 205.4 passing yards per game.
• Rush: The Tigers get good results when they send bandit end Ricky Sapp on a blitz, and Maryland's dealing with several injuries to its offensive line.
• Back it up: James Davis, you guaranteed a win. If you get the ball -- which you will, but how much is up to you and how well the passing game works -- be prepared for a little extracurricular activity after the tackle.
It's always an interesting matchup and Ralph Friedgin has owned the recent series, taking four of the last six meetings. Maryland's got some talent but much of it is nursing injuries. The Tigers got some much-needed confidence back last week with a trashing of Central Michigan. Maryland won't like Davis guaranteeing a win and then following up on it, but injuries and better talent will carry the Tigers to victory.
TIGERS 30, TERRAPINS 21
NO. 15 SOUTH CAROLINA (6-2, 3-2 SEC) AT TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS (4-3, 2-2), 7:45 P.M.
• TV: ESPN (cable channel 25 in Rock Hill)
• Radio: WRHM-FM (107.1)
• Series record: 20-3-2 Tennessee
• Last game: Tennessee 31, USC 24, Oct. 28, 2006, in Columbia
• Last week: Vanderbilt beat USC 17-6; Alabama beat Tennessee 41-17
• Rankings: USC is 15th in the AP poll, 17th in the USA Today/coaches poll and 16th in the BCS standings. Tennessee received votes in the AP poll.
• Tickets: Sold out
GAMECOCKS' KEYS TO VICTORY
• Blitz: Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge isn't a threat to run. The Volunteers get offensive contributions from tailback Arian Foster, but Ainge, with 1,797 passing yards, is the catalyst. Eric Norwood and Emanuel Cook have got to keep pressure on him to limit his big-play capabilities.
• Block: It's the same thing every week, but magnified in the loss to Vanderbilt. USC's offensive line hasn't got any fresh faces to turn to or some kind of magic formula to erase its struggles.
• Rush: It actually may be fortunate that Steve Spurrier mentioned the Gamecocks have to run more to win, because Tennessee, with the SEC's ninth-ranked rushing defense, is a prime opportunity.
USC can shut down the pass and defend the run when it needs to, keeping opponents out of the end zone. If the Gamecocks had a capable line to spring a few big plays on offense, that might be enough. Tennessee has struggled all season but is hearing the grumblings, especially after a shellacking at Alabama last week. Beating Spurrier, their old nemesis, would be a perfect tonic for the Vols' sickness. USC will hang close and come within a big pass of winning, but as the past few weeks have demonstrated, big passes from the Gamecocks are close to impossible.
VOLUNTEERS 21, GAMECOCKS 15