Preview and Prediction: Clemson and South Carolina

Zach Lentz

Clemson will attempt to extend its winning streak against in-state rival South Carolina to six games when the Tigers face the Gamecocks for the 117th time on Saturday, Nov. 30. Kickoff at Williams-Brice Stadium is scheduled for noon ET. 

Clemson, holder of the nation's longest active overall winning streak (26), home winning streak (22) and road winning streak (11), will attempt to extend its recent run of victories against its rival. 

Clemson has won five straight against South Carolina since 2014 and will attempt to earn a sixth consecutive win against the Gamecocks for the first time since a seven-game streak from 1934-40. Clemson has scored at least 34 points in every game of its five-game series winning streak, winning by an average margin of 23.4 points in that span.

Who to watch when Clemson has the ball:

Trevor Lawrence (QB): 

Clemson's 52-3 win against Wake Forest on Nov. 16 represented quarterback Trevor Lawrence's 22nd career start in his 26th career game. Clemson is 26-0 in Lawrence's time at Clemson, including a 22-0 record in his starts. 

Lawrence is credited with 1,352 career offensive snaps at Clemson. In that time, he has never taken a second-half snap with Clemson trailing. The only game in which Clemson has trailed in the fourth quarter in Lawrence's tenure was in 2018 against Syracuse, a game Lawrence exited in the first half with an injury. 

Clemson has averaged 45.7 points in Lawrence's 22 career starts, the second-highest average for any team in the country whose quarterback has recorded 20 career starts.

Tee Higgins (WR):

Higgins has placed himself in the midst of some of the greats presently populating Clemson's all-time leaderboard for career receiving touchdowns. 

On Nov. 16, he scored three touchdowns against Wake Forest, tying a school record and surging ahead of Mike Williams, Aaron Kelly and Deon Cain for third on the school leaderboard for career receiving touchdowns. 

Higgins enters this week having scored at least one receiving touchdown in three straight games. Higgins closed the 2018 campaign with at least one touchdown in each of Clemson's final four games. With a touchdown in the first game of 2019, he pushed his consecutive games streak to five, tied for the second-most in school history.

Javon Kinlaw (DL; SC):

Most of the accolades on the defensive side have gone to Javon Kinlaw (6-6, 310), who many NFL experts have labeled a first-round NFL draft pick. He has filled up the stat line with 31 tackles including 6.0 sacks, sixth in the SEC, four quarterback hurries, two pass breakups, a pair of fumble recoveries and a blocked kick. He was the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week for his performance at Georgia, was a midseason All-American by both the AP (first team) and The Athletic (second team), and is a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award. 

Who to watch when South Carolina has the ball:

Isaiah Simmons (LB):

In addition to being one of Clemson's most-prolific tacklers, Simmons leads Clemson this season in sacks (6.0) and tackles for loss (12.0) while also contributing five pass breakups, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Presently, Simmons is one of only five FBS players — and one of only two in the Power Five — credited with at least 70 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 5 sacks this season. Among that group, only Simmons, North Carolina's Chazz Surratt and Florida Atlantic's Akileis Leroy are the only ones to also record an interception this season.

Simmons is already the fourth Clemson player since 2000 to record at least 65 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks in a season. The other three to accomplish the feat are some of Clemson's most decorated defenders of the last decade (and, notably, all defensive linemen).

Tanner Muse (S): 

Muse had six tackles, as well as a pass breakup, in 62 snaps as a starter in 2018. Had two tackles in 24 snaps in 2017. Had five tackles in 20 snaps in 2016. 

Muse added to his single-season career high in interceptions with his fourth interception of the season against Wake Forest. It was the seventh of his career. Muse later added his second sack of the season, the fourth of his career.

With Muse’s interception, Clemson produced a takeaway for a sixth consecutive game and for the 14th time in 15 games, dating to 2018.

Ryan Hilinski (QB; SC):

Ryan Hilinski has already thrown for more than 300 yards in three games this season. Making just his second career start and his first against an FBS opponent, Hilinski completed 36-of-57 for 324 yards with two touchdowns against Alabama, earning SEC Freshman of the Week accolades. . 

Hilinski became just the second freshman in program history to throw for more than 300 yards against an SEC opponent, joining Todd Ellis, who threw for 342 yards against Georgia in 1986. Hilinski then completed 28-of-51 passes for 319 yards at Tennessee, becoming the first Carolina true freshman to throw for over 300 yards twice. He set a career high with a 325-yard effort on 32-of-57 passing against Appalachian State. 

Preview: 

This is the 117th meeting between these two Palmetto State schools in a series that dates back to 1896. The teams have met every year since 1909, making the Carolina-Clemson series the second-longest running consecutively played series in college football at 111-straight meetings, behind only Minnesota — Wisconsin. 

The Tigers hold a 70-42-4 lead in the all-time series, including a 51-32-3 advantage in Columbia and a 19-10-1 mark in Clemson. However, the teams have split the last 10 meetings evenly.

With the Tigers having aspirations of making a fifth straight appearance in the College Football Playoff and a sixth straight win over the Gamecocks, the Tigers will need to play their best game of the season against a Gamecock team that will be looking to salvage a losing season with a marquee win. 

The Tigers are currently 26-point favorites over the Gamecocks, meaning that Las Vegas believes the chances of the Gamecocks ending the Tigers streak is slim-to-none.

Predictions:

Zach Lentz:       Clemson-47     South Carolina-13

Susan Lloyd:     Clemson-57     South Carolina-6

Jeremy Styron: Clemson-35     South Carolina-7

Comments (2)
No. 1-1
dchall308
dchall308

Is Styron smoking something?!?!


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