The Clemson Tigers (8-3) may be taking advantage of a weak ACC, but they are on a roll having won four straight. Ending that streak in the Palmetto Bowl will be the task of the South Carolina Gamecocks (6-5) on Saturday. Here are the three keys to a Gamecock win.
By Steve Wright
1 – Jason Brown’s improved skills
The biggest difference with this team over the last three games has been the insertion of Jason Brown into the starting lineup at quarterback. The FCS transfer isn’t going to blow anyone away with his arm or reading of the game, but what he does so well is improvise to make things happen. Luke Doty was never healthy, Zeb Noland had a low floor/ceiling combo, so Brown coming in and using his feet to make up for the shortcomings of this offensive line has been massive.
2 – Stop the run
Clemson’s offense is not the juggernaut of the past. It ranks in the 90s nationally overall, but the Tigers did open up and have their best offensive game of the season against a good Wake Forest squad last time out. The South Carolina secondary has been a plus point and those players are good enough to stop the DJ Uiagalelei led passing attack. The issue will be if the Tigers are able to run the ball downhill for chunks, negating the best part of the Gamecocks’ defensive
3 – Cash in on turnovers
South Carolina likely needs to win the turnover battle to win this game. More than that though, the Gamecocks need to find a way to turn those turnovers into points. At times this year, this has been an issue, with the Gamecocks leaving points on the board from positive field position generated by the defense. Scoring won’t be easy on an improving Clemson squad, so getting 10-14 points minimum from turnovers would be huge.