COLUMBIA — South Carolina soccer will finish its rollercoaster common season on the sport followers watch for yearly: the Palmetto Bowl rivalry matchup with No. 9 Clemson on the Tigers’ Memorial Stadium on Saturday (midday, ABC).
The stakes are excessive — even increased than typical — for the showdown. The Gamecocks (7-4, 4-4 SEC) are coming off of one of many largest upsets in program historical past over No. 5 Tennessee, and Clemson (10-1, 8-0 ACC) is in search of a dominant win to make a late case for School Soccer Playoff rivalry. The Tigers dominated Miami 40-10 in Week 12.
Here is the whole lot you should find out about probably the most divisive recreation within the state of South Carolina:
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Historical past of the Palmetto Bowl
The South Carolina-Clemson rivalry started with the primary assembly in 1896, which the Gamecocks gained 12-6. The sport was initially performed in Columbia yearly, and Clemson gained 27-0 when it hosted for the primary time in 1960. Since 1960, The Tigers have a 19-10-1 report in opposition to the Gamecocks at Memorial Stadium. At Williams-Brice Stadium, South Carolina trails 53-32-3.
Clemson, which leads the all-time sequence 72-42-4, is within the midst of the longest profitable streak within the historical past of the rivalry with seven consecutive victories since 2014. The Tigers beforehand gained seven straight from 1934-1940 and would break the report with an eighth win this 12 months. The Gamecocks’ longest streak got here proper earlier than Clemson’s with 5 straight wins from 2009-2013.
Clemson’s questions at QB
The Tigers are having a bizarre 12 months at quarterback. Starter DJ Uiagalelei has been benched twice — first when Clemson trailed Syracuse in Week 8 and once more two weeks in the past in a loss to Notre Dame — however has been largely in keeping with eight video games passing over 200 yards and 5 with no less than 50 dashing yards. South Carolina’s protection struggles with dual-threat QBs, which bodes properly for the Tigers. The Gamecocks had their worst recreation of the season in opposition to Florida’s Anthony Richardson, who put up 112 yards passing and 96 yards dashing within the Gators’ 38-6 win.
The junior’s largest concern within the second half of the season has been turnovers. Two interceptions and a fumble received him benched in opposition to Syracuse, and he has thrown a decide in 4 of Clemson’s previous six video games. Turnovers have been a difficulty for the Tigers as an entire with 12 of their previous 4 video games. They rank within the backside half of FBS colleges in turnover margin. The Gamecocks are within the reverse state of affairs with quarterback Spencer Rattler, who has had one interception up to now 5 video games after throwing eight within the first six.
Tigers boast rock-solid protection
Clemson’s protection was impenetrable in final week’s win over Miami, holding the Hurricanes to 98 offensive yards, 40 of which got here on one play. The Tigers logged 5 sacks for a mixed lack of 48 yards, held Miami to a few third-down conversions on 11 makes an attempt and added an interception. The protection is among the many prime 20 within the nation and even higher in opposition to within the run recreation, permitting a mean of 318 complete yards and 104 dashing yards per recreation.
The unit is anchored by sophomore linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr., son of former NFL linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, who logged 9 tackles, a sack and a move breakup in opposition to Miami. He has 65 complete tackles, six tackles for loss, 5 move break-ups and 5 quarterback pressures this season. Myles Murphy and KJ Henry lead the move rush with 9.5 sacks and 27 pressures between them.
Can Gamecocks replicate Tennessee magic?
South Carolina coaches and gamers would possibly take subject with the time period “magic,” however that is what it felt like in Williams-Brice Stadium final Saturday when the unranked Gamecocks dominated No. 5 Tennessee 63-38. Every little thing went proper, from Rattler’s career-high 438 yards and 6 touchdowns passing to the protection’s key stops in opposition to the best offense in faculty soccer.
The victory, South Carolina’s first over Tennessee since 2018, was historic. The Gamecocks’ 63 factors have been probably the most scored by an unranked opponent in opposition to a top-5 group and probably the most Tennessee has ever allowed to an unranked opponent.
It is onerous to think about all of it coming collectively completely for a second week in a row, however nobody anticipated it to occur in opposition to the Vols both. If we realized one factor from the upset, it is that something is feasible.
Clemson 31, South Carolina 24: Although they will not carry out in addition to they did in opposition to Tennessee, the Gamecocks put up a good battle in opposition to Clemson. Rattler has one other robust night time, however Clemson’s dual-threat offense overwhelms the South Carolina protection to tug away late.