South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Clemson Tigers
It’s the Battle of the Palmetto State for the Hardee’s Trophy as the South Carolina Gamecocks host the Clemson Tigers. The Gamecocks are -3 point favorites over the Tigers.
It’s been a wild year for the South Carolina Gamecocks and while they won’t reach Head Coach Steve Spurrier’s goal of winning the SEC they have accomplished plenty and should play in a nice post season bowl game. After starting QB Stephen Garcia was benched and subsequently kicked off of the team Connor Shaw has taken over and he has completed 64.9 percent of his passes for 1,008 yards with nine touchdowns and six interceptions. After all world sophomore running back Marcus Lattimore went down with a season ending injury all appeared lost but Brandon Wilds has stepped in and while Lattimore can’t be replaced South Carolina are still winning games. Wilds is averaging 4.6 yards per carry and he has 462 yards and three touchdowns. Alshon Jeffery is one of the best wide receivers in the nation but he has had a disappointing year catching just 43 passes and having six touchdowns and Ace Sanders has 25 catches and two touchdowns. The South Carolina defense has 17 interceptions, 12 fumble recoveries, and 20 sacks and are plus two overall in turnovers. Antonio Allen has 74 tackles, D.J. Swearinger has 71, and Melvin Ingram has 6.5 sacks. Though a 9-3 finish would look strong on paper, South Carolina knows that this is a season that could have been much more.
The Clemson Tigers were undefeated up until three games ago but since then Dabo Swinney’s team has dropped two of their last three. Regardless of their recent disappointments the Tigers are the ACC Atlantic Division Champions and will be playing in the ACC Championship with a shot at going to a BCS Bowl. QB Tajh Boyd has completed 61.5 percent of his passes for 3,255 yards with 27 touchdowns and nine interceptions while running for another 141 yards and four touchdowns. Andre Ellington is averaging 4.8 yards per carry and he has rushed for 871 yards and nine touchdowns and Mike Bellamy is averaging 6.0 yards per carry and he has three touchdowns. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins has been outstanding catching 68 passes for 1,034 yards and 10 touchdowns, DeAndre Hopkins has 52 catches and four touchdowns, and Dwayne Allen has 45 catches and five touchdowns. The Clemson defense is allowing 26.9 points per game and 380.2 yards as their opposition passes for 195.8 yards and rushes for 184.4 yards. Jonathan Willard, Andre Branch, and Brandon Thompson are the top tacklers for the Tigers thus far this year. With their recent skid Clemson could use a big win over their in state rivals.
South Carolina is 5-2 against the spread in their last seven against the ACC, 1-4 against the spread in their last five games as a favorite of 3.5 to 10 points, and 5-0 against the spread following a game which they didn’t cover the spread. Clemson is 11-2 against the spread in their last 13 games as a road underdog, 19-7 against the spread in their last 26 games as an underdog of 3.5 to 10 points, and 2-5 against the spread following a loss. Clemson is 1-4 against the spread in the last five meetings of these two.
This should be a physical game and the South Carolina defense has all of the tools to slow down the Clemson offense it’s just a matter of if their offense can move effectively on Clemson’s defense. I see South Carolina getting the win but Clemson getting a cover in a game not decided by much.
Clemson Tigers +3 South Carolina Gamecocks