Riding high after a big victory over then-ranked No. 5 Tennessee, South Carolina will aim for its second straight win over a Top 10 opponent when it visits No. 8 Clemson on Saturday.
Quarterback Spencer Rattler led the Gamecocks (7-4) to a 63-38 rout of the Volunteers. The transfer from Oklahoma had the best game of his South Carolina career as he passed for 438 yards and six touchdowns. His favorite target was Antwane Wells Jr., who caught 11 passes for 177 yards. Josh Vann and Jaheim Bell each caught two touchdown passes.
“Spencer was really, really accurate,” South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said. “Our guys played with confidence. The offensive line played great and allowed Spencer to get comfortable back there as well. We fed off the energy of the crowd.”
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney also was complimentary of Rattler ahead of this week’s matchup, saying, “He’s done a lot of great things and is a really talented player. He’s got all the tools.”
It was just the seventh time in program history that the Gamecocks beat a Top 5 team, their first such win since taking down No. 2 Georgia in double overtime in 2019.
The 63 points were the most produced by South Carolina in an Southeastern Conference game since 1995. In every way, it was a historic win.
But now South Carolina is set to face in-state rival Clemson (10-1). It’s the second week in a row that the Gamecocks will have the opportunity to play spoiler against a team with aspirations of making the College Football Playoff, but they haven’t beaten the Tigers since 2013. The Gamecocks have changed coaches twice since then.
“Excited for the 2022 chapter of that rivalry and looking forward to getting up there on Saturday,” Beamer said. “(Clemson is) extremely talented, as you know. They are extremely well-coached, as you know. Offensively, they are playing really good football here, especially last week — you could argue it was their best game.”
Clemson has won two straight since taking its only loss of the season at Notre Dame on Nov. 5. The Tigers have since beaten Louisville and Miami — both at home — by a combined 45 points.
Last week, the Tigers held the Hurricanes to 98 total yards. Jeremiah Trotter Jr. had nine tackles for Clemson. On offense, the Tigers were powered by DJ Uiagalelei, who passed for 227 yards and ran for 89 while totaling three touchdowns.
Clemson has won seven straight against South Carolina. This will be the 119th meeting between the Tigers and the Gamecocks, with Clemson holding a 72-42-4 lead in the series.
The Tigers already have booked their ticket to the ACC championship game in Charlotte on Dec. 3, but Swinney seemed to think that Tennessee overlooked South Carolina as it peeked toward the playoff. He doesn’t want his team to make that mistake.
“Next thing you know you forget you’ve got to go play,” Swinney said. “I think you’ve just got to give all the credit to South Carolina. I think they just flat-out kicked (Tennessee’s) butt.”
Swinney said defensive tackle Bryan Bresee, who missed last week’s game because of an illness, and wide receiver Beaux Collins, who has been out for two weeks due to a shoulder ailment, should be “ready to roll” against South Carolina. However, starting left guard Marcus Tate will miss the rest of the year with a knee injury.
–Field Level Media