National TV: ESPN2 Play-by-Play: Carter Blackburn
Analyst: Mike Belotti
Analyst: Brock Huard
Also available on ESPN3.com
Gamecock Radio Network Network Broadcast begins at 4 p.m. ET Flagship: WNKT-FM 107.5 The Game
Play-by-Play: Todd Ellis
Analyst: Tommy Suggs
Sideline: Andrew Kitick
Satellite Radio XM Radio Channel (Carolina Feed): 198
SIRIUS "Best of XM" Channel (Clemson Feed): 212
SportSouth Replay: 8 p.m., Nov. 28 Play-by-Play: Derek Scott
Analyst: Terry Cousin
SETTING THE STAGE No. 17/18 South Carolina will wrap up the 2010 regular season on Saturday, Nov. 27, as it makes the 135-mile trek to the Upstate to face the longtime rival Clemson Tigers for the 108th time. South Carolina won last year's meeting in Columbia 34-17 and looks to make it two in a row over the Tigers for the first time since winning three straight from 1968-70.
The Gamecocks (8-3, 5-3 SEC) are the SEC Eastern Division Champions for the first time in school history and are coming off a 69-24 throttling of Troy on Saturday. Clemson (6-5, 4-4 ACC) became bowl-eligible with a 30-10 victory over Wake Forest last week; the Tigers are 5-1 at home this season.
THE SERIES This is the 108th all-time meeting between South Carolina and Clemson. The Tigers hold a 65-38-4 advantage, including a 16-8-1 edge in games played at Clemson's Memorial Stadium. Carolina won last year's meeting 34-17 in Columbia, and the Tigers were victorious by a 31-14 margin in the last meeting at Clemson.
THE COACHES South Carolina: Steve Spurrier (Florida `67) Overall: 185-71-2 (21st season)
at South Carolina: 43-31 (6th season)
vs. Clemson: 3-5 (2-3 at Carolina)
Clemson: Dabo Swinney (Alabama '93) Overall: 19-13 (3rd season)
at Clemson: Same
vs. South Carolina: 1-1
QUICK HITS Sophomore WR Alshon Jeffery broke the school record for single-season receiving yards in Saturday's win over Troy, surpassing a 1,143-yard season by Sidney Rice in 2005. Jeffery, a Biletnikoff Award Finalist, has 1,210 yards this season and is eighth all-time in receiving yards at South Carolina with 1,973.
RB Marcus Lattimore set the school record for single-season touchdowns in the win over Troy, scoring three times to run his total to 19 for the season, breaking Harold Green's mark of 16 set in 1987. He needs just one more score to tie Tennessee's Reggie Cobb (1987) for the SEC freshman touchdown record, and six more scores would break Shaun Alexander's all-time SEC single-season record of 24 touchdowns for Alabama in 1999.
Junior QB Stephen Garcia is the third quarterback in school history to top 6,000 career passing yards, joining Todd Ellis (9,953) and Steve Taneyhill (8,782) in that exclusive club. He passed Blake Mitchell (5,992) for third all-time at Carolina with a 198-yard effort vs. Troy. Garcia is also third all-time with 39 career touchdown passes.
Lattimore topped the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season against Troy, giving the Gamecocks a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver in the same season for the first time in school history. Lattimore now has 1,066 rushing yards on 209 carries, and Jeffery has amassed 1,210 yards on 70 receptions.
Jeffery leads the SEC and is fifth in the nation in receiving yards per game with 110.0 yards per contest. He also leads the league with 6.4 catches per game.
The Gamecocks lead the Southeastern Conference and are ranked No. 3 in the nation with a school-record 36 sacks (3.24 per game). DE Melvin Ingram leads the way with 8.0 sacks on the season, ranking him third in the SEC; DE Devin Taylor has 7.5 sacks to rank fourth.
Carolina has scored five defensive touchdowns this season (four interceptions, one fumble), the most since joining the SEC prior to the 1992 season. The Gamecocks had two defensive scores against Troy (INT returns by D.J. Swearinger and Chaz Sutton), the first defensive double since Eric Norwood returned 2 fumbles vs. Kentucky in 2007.
A SOUTH CAROLINA WIN OVER CLEMSON WOULD... Give South Carolina two straight wins over the Tigers for the first time since the Gamecocks won three in a row from 1968-70.
Give South Carolina nine wins in a season for just the third time in school history (10 in 1984; 9 in 2001).
Be the Gamecocks' second win in three trips to "Death Valley"; Carolina won 31-28 in 2006.
Be South Carolina's third straight road victory (Vanderbilt, Florida); the last time Carolina won three straight on the road was the 2006 season (Mississippi State, Kentucky, Vanderbilt).
Move South Carolina to 35-11 against non-conference foes since 2000.
Improve Carolina to 4-1 in their last five meetings with Atlantic Coast Conference opponents.
Give South Carolina its 29th win in the last four seasons, which would mark the winningest four-year stretch in school history (6 wins in 2007, 7 in 2008 and 2009, 8 wins so far in 2010).
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENT: CLEMSON The Clemson Tigers, at 6-5 overall and 4-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, are in their third season (second full season) under head coach Dabo Swinney. Clemson became bowl-eligible last week with a 30-10 victory at Wake Forest. Last year, the Tigers finished 9-5 and won the ACC Atlantic Division with a 6-2 mark, defeating Kentucky in the Music City Bowl 21-13.
GAMECOCKS AND TIGERS This is the 108th meeting between the two Palmetto State rivals in a series that dates back to 1896. The teams have met every year since 1909, making the Carolina-Clemson series the third-longest running, consecutively played rivalry in college football at 102 straight meetings (Kansas vs. Nebraska - 105; Minnesota vs. Wisconsin - 104).
Clemson leads the all-time series 65-38-4, and the teams have split the last four meetings. The Tigers are 49-30-3 in games played in Columbia and hold a 16-8-1 edge in games played at Clemson.
For the fifth time in six years, at least one team is ranked heading into the season finale. Last year, the Tigers were ranked 15th headed into the game in Columbia; this year, Carolina is 17th in the AP Top 25.
Last year, South Carolina defeated Clemson 34-17 in the regular-season finale for both teams in Columbia. Clemson's C.J. Spiller returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, but it was all Carolina from that point on as the Gamecocks held the Tigers to 260 yards of total offense (48 yard rushing) and controlled the clock with 223 rushing yards (114 by Kenny Miles) to earn the victory.
The teams have one common opponent this season. Auburn defeated Clemson 27-24 in overtime on Sept. 18 as the Plainsmen overcame a 17-0 first-half deficit. A week later, Auburn again came back from two touchdowns behind to defeat South Carolina, 35-27. Both games were played at Auburn's Jordan-Hare Stadium; the Gamecocks will get a chance to avenge their earlier loss in next week's SEC Championship Game.
GAMECOCKS VS. ACC South Carolina, a former member of the Atlantic Coast Conference from 1953-70, is 193-240-22 all-time against its former league. Clemson is the opponent Carolina has faced the most (107 meetings), followed by NC State (57), Wake Forest (56) and North Carolina (55).
TIES WITH CLEMSON Assistant head coach Ellis Johnson was an assistant coach for the Tigers from 1994-96.
South Carolina tight ends coach Jeep Hunter was a graduate assistant at Clemson from 1996-97 and served as the Tigers' director of operations in 1998.
Clemson associate head coach Brad Scott was the Gamecocks' head coach from 1994-98 and led Carolina to its first-ever bowl victory in the 1994 Carquest Bowl.
Chris Rumph, the Tigers' defensive ends coach, was a four-year letterwinner for South Carolina from 1991-94.
Clemson running backs coach Andre' Powell was a graduate assistant at South Carolina in 1990.
SPURRIER VS. CLEMSON South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier is 3-5 all-time against Clemson, including a 2-3 mark as head coach at South Carolina. Spurrier was 1-2 against the Tigers as head coach at Duke from 1987-89, falling to the 11th- and 7th-ranked Tigers the first two years, then defeating Clemson in 1989 en route to the Blue Devils' last ACC championship. Spurrier never faced Clemson as head coach at Florida.
SPURRIER VS. SWINNEY Steve Spurrier is 1-1 against Clemson's Dabo Swinney, falling to the Tigers in the coaches' first meeting in 2008 and defeating Clemson last season.
Spurrier and Swinney squared off six times while Spurrier was head coach at Florida and Swinney was an assistant at Alabama. The two then faced each other three times after Spurrier took over at Carolina and Swinney was an assistant for Clemson.
Swinney played for Alabama from 1990-92 and faced Spurrier's Florida Gators three times. Florida won 17-13 in 1990 and 35-0 in 1991, but the Crimson Tide took down the Gators in the inaugural 1992 SEC Championship Game, 28-21, en route to a national championship.
Swinney is the second coach this season that has faced a Spurrier-coached team as both a player and as a coach. The other is Tennessee's Derek Dooley, who played for Virginia from 1988-90.
OUT OF THEIR LEAGUE South Carolina is 3-0 outside of SEC play after defeating Furman and Southern Miss in September and taking down Troy last week. They are 20-6 in non-conference games under Steve Spurrier, including wins in 18 of their last 22 non-league tilts. The year-by-year breakdown: 2005 (2-2); 2006 (5-0); 2007 (3-1); 2008 (3-2); 2009 (4-1); 2010 (3-0).
GAMECOCKS IN THE POLLS South Carolina is ranked in this week's Associated Press Poll and USA Today Coaches Poll for the 12th consecutive week. Only two other times in school history have the Gamecocks stayed in the polls for that many straight editions:
The Gamecocks appeared at No. 19 in the AP poll the week of Oct. 31, 1987, then proceeded to defeat NC State 48-0. Carolina climbed as high as No. 8 before losing the regular-season finale to No. 2 Miami, then dropping a 30-13 decision to No. 7 LSU in the Gator Bowl; Carolina finished 15th in the final poll. The Gamecocks were then ranked No. 19 in the 1988 preseason ranking and stayed in the poll nine straight weeks until a 59-0 loss at Florida State on Nov. 5, 1988. Total weeks in the rankings: 18.
After defeating Ohio State in the 2001 Outback Bowl, Carolina finished at No. 19 in the final AP poll of 2000. The Gamecocks then stayed in the rankings every week of the 2001 season, climbing as high as No. 9 in the polls and finishing at No. 13 after another defeat of the Buckeyes in Tampa. Carolina was then ranked in the first two polls of the 2002 season before a 34-21 loss at Virginia dropped them from the rankings. Total weeks in the rankings: 18.
FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING Leave it to a freshman and a sophomore to make Carolina history. For the first time in school history, South Carolina has a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver in the same season. With 102 yards vs. Troy, RB Marcus Lattimore eclipsed the 1,000-yard barrier to mark the ninth 1,000-yard rushing season in school history. Sophomore WR Alshon Jeffery had already topped the 1,000-yard receiving mark heading into the Troy game.
THE 100 CLUB In its 21-7 victory at Vanderbilt, South Carolina had a player rush for 100 yards and two players receive for 100 yards in the same game for the first time in school history. RB Brian Maddox came off the bench to rack up 146 yards on 24 carries with one touchdown, while WR Alshon Jeffery caught nine passes for 155 yards - including a show-stopping 72-yard touchdown - and WR Tori Gurley shattered his previous career highs wiith a school-record 14 catches for 112 yards and a score.
Two other times this season, Carolina has had a 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver in the same game. Against Georgia, RB Marcus Lattimore carried 37 times for 182 yards while WR Alshon Jeffery caught seven passes for 103 yards. Against Troy, Lattimore rushed for 102 yards and Jeffery had 123 receiving yards.
Jeffery has topped the 100-yard receiving mark six times this year, with a career- and season-best coming with 192 yards at Auburn. Lattimore has four 100-yard games - 212 at Florida, 184 vs. Tennessee, 182 vs. Georgia and 102 vs. Troy - and Maddox and Gurley have one apiece.
WINNING MORE OFTEN With the win over Florida to earn their seventh victory of the year, the Gamecocks have assured themselves of posting three straight winning seasons and seven consecutive seasons of at least a .500 record. Previously, the Gamecocks went 6-5 in 2004, 7-5 in 2005, 8-5 in 2006, 6-6 in 2007, and 7-6 in both 2008 and 2009. The team has now equaled a school-record stretch from 1928-34 in which the Gamecocks had seven straight seasons at .500 or better.
GAMECOCKS AS A RANKED TEAM Under Steve Spurrier, the Gamecocks have been a ranked team heading into 24 contests. Carolina is 12-12 in those opportunities when appearing in the national rankings. In home games, Carolina is 9-4 when ranked under Spurrier, including a 6-1 mark at home over the last two seasons. The Gamecocks are 3-8 in road contests as a ranked team under Spurrier.
THE LAST TIME THEY MET: NOV. 28, 2009 Stephen Garcia threw three touchdown passes, and the Gamecocks' defense limited Heisman Trophy hopeful C.J. Spiller to just 18 rushing yards in a 34-17 victory at Williams-Brice Stadium. Clemson had just 260 yards of offense. Spiller finished with 18 yards rushing and 19 receiving. After Spiller struck for his 88-yard kickoff return just 20 seconds in--it was his fourth such score this season--the orange-clad fans among the 80,574 in the stands had little reason to doubt it'd be another day to celebrate. But the Tigers had only 138 yards through three quarters. There were interceptions, fumbles and penalties galore that helped South Carolina score 17 points in the opening half, more than it had in any of its last five games. Jamie Harper's fumble turned into a 1-yard touchdown run by Brian Maddox to tie things. Kyle Parker's first interception in three games followed on Clemson's next drive, with freshman DeVonte Holloman returning it 54 yards to the Tigers 11. Garcia connected with tight end Weslye Saunders for the go-ahead score from 9 yards out. Ricky Sapp had a roughing penalty on a punt to keep another Gamecocks drive going. That one ended with Spencer Lanning clanging a 47-yard field goal off the right upright. Garcia clinched things in the third quarter with a 14-yard touchdown throw to a wide-open Tori Gurley. Spiller fumbled on the Tigers' first possession of the second half, and Clemson got just one first down its next three series. Hollomon's game-changing interception was the first of his career. Defensive back Stephon Gilmore, Holloman's teammate at South Pointe High last fall, was used successfully in a wildcat look that set up Maddox's tying touchdown.