Bettors Like Gamecocks Chances Saturday Against #24 Clemson
64% of Bets Placed on South Carolina +5 | Matchup | Picks
The No. 24 Tigers (8-3) have won the last four meetings and eight of the last nine against the Gamecocks (6-5), but the game received second billing for a while this week as a rumor surfaced that Miami might be interested in bringing Spurrier back to Florida next season.
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier says he’s not going anywhere. He also insists that his focus is solely on getting his team to end its run of futility against Clemson as the squads meet in the 104th installation of the Palmetto State rivalry Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
“I’m not looking for any jobs,” Spurrier said. “I think everybody knows that I’m here at South Carolina to win an SEC championship. That’s my mission and that’s what I’m shooting for.”
Spurrier wasn’t happy that the rumor came to light just before the Gamecocks face their in-state rival.
“We’ve got our goals in place and our goal this week is to beat Clemson, a team we haven’t beaten very much at all over the years,” Spurrier said. “That’s the only thing I need to worry about this week.”
Clemson leads the series 63-36-4. The Tigers took last year’s matchup 13-9 on Nov. 19, scoring the winning touchdown with 5:58 to go.
Clemson finally had last week off after playing 11 straight weeks. The Tigers knocked off North Carolina State 20-14 at home Nov. 11 to end a two-game skid.
C.J. Spiller ran for a career-high 154 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. The freshman, fifth in the ACC with 759 yards, had gained just 41 yards in each of his last two games. He’ll oppose a Gamecocks team that’s allowing 144.8 rushing yards a game.
Clemson coach Tommy Bowden, 6-1 against the Gamecocks since taking over the Tigers in 1999, is wary of a South Carolina team that has suffered SEC losses to Auburn, Tennessee, Arkansas and Florida by a touchdown or less.
“They’re playing toe to toe,” said Bowden, who is looking to get Clemson to 10 wins for the first time since 1990. “When you play that close to quality competition, obviously you got some good players … and good coaches.”
Spurrier’s team lost some of those close games because of its struggles in the red zone, a problem that cost the Gamecocks in last year’s defeat to the Tigers.
“It was a big key last year in the Clemson game,” he said. “We were three field goals and two turnovers in the red zone, so we didn’t get many points.”
South Carolina became bowl-eligible with a 52-7 victory over Middle Tennessee last week. The Gamecocks amassed a season-high 545 total yards, as Mitchell completed 21 of 28 passes for 388 yards and four touchdowns, both career highs.
Mitchell has thrown for at least 200 yards in each of his last three games and has just one interception in that span. He’ll face a Clemson pass defense that ranks ninth in the nation, allowing only 156.1 yards per game.
The junior struggled against the Tigers’ pass defense last year, getting intercepted three times and sacked once while going 16-for-29 for just 180 yards.
Sidney Rice was on the receiving end of 122 of those yards, and Mitchell’s favorite target had six catches 90 yards and TDs of 37 and 27 yards last week.
Clemson is 14-7-1 against South Carolina at home. This is only the second meeting between the teams since their ugly brawl on Nov. 20, 2004 at Columbia.
“I think all of our guys learned from the one two years ago,” Spurrier said.
by: Anthony White – theSpread.com – Email Us
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