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South Carolina Looking To Cap Off The Regular Season With A Win Over Clemson

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There has always been bad blood between South Carolina and Clemson fans, just like any other in-state rivalry. But, that hatred doesn’t spill over to the head coaches, as both Shane Beamer and Dabo Swinney describe their relationship as friendly, even if they are battling for state supremacy.

It dates back to when Beamer was an assistant coach under Steve Spurrier at South Carolina, while Swinney was an assistant coach under Terry Bowden at Clemson, so they’ve definitely run into each other along the recruiting trail. Beamer had nothing but nice things to say about the Tigers head coach, as he discussed the upcoming game on Saturday night.

“I’ve just enjoyed getting know Dabo over the years,” Beamer said. “I’ve always had a ton of respect for him. Then throughout this process, he was fantastic to me. Reached out to me when my name was getting mentioned for this job, to say I hope you get it, and it would be great. I talked to him, did my press conference here on that Monday, then literally, I think twice, that week after the press conference, I talked to him. Even during the season, it’s not like I’m calling him weekly, but we’ve had a couple of phone conversations during the season.”

“He’s been very good to me since I took over here at Carolina,” Beamer added. “His wife has been very good to my wife, Emily. Think a lot of him.”
But that friendly relationship will take a four-hour break on Saturday, as Clemson travels to Columbia, hoping to avoid the upset. The Tigers had won six straight games until the 2020 game wasn’t played due to Covid, so it’s great to see this game get back on track. From what we’ve seen out of the Gamecocks over the last month, an upset on Saturday wouldn’t be very surprising.
Beamer knows this is not just another game, either from his time as an assistant coach or the first time he got off the plane in Columbia, but he also feels as if this game deserves to be in the same conversation as other matchups on their schedule.“We understand what this game means to the people of this state and to the people in each program. You do have to be careful about putting it too much on a higher pedestal than the other games. I know there are some programs out there across the country that have a countdown clock for this rivalry. We will never, ever, ever, ever do anything like that here at Carolina. That’s no disrespect to Clemson.”But this game hasn’t been as lopsided as we’ve seen from other rivalry games around the country. Before the Tigers went on their six-game winning streak, the Gamecocks had racked up five consecutive wins. Unfortunately for South Carolina, Clemson is currently on a four-game winning streak and are averaging 38 points per game during the stretch. This will be a completely different group of Tigers we watched in the previous seven games, where not much seemed to be clicking for OC Tony Elliot and the offensive output.Don’t expect the Gamecocks to be intimidated by this team Clemson team, as Shane Beamer has been preaching to his team about treating each opponent the same. This could be one reason why this team has picked up wins over Florida and Auburn in recent weeks.“We talk all the time about nameless, faceless opponents and treating everybody the same and us being our best each week, not worried about the opponent,” Beamer said. “I’m not an idiot, and I understand this is an intense rivalry and for the players and coaches on both sides, it’s different. But it’s not any less important than playing Georgia, and it’s not any more important than playing Troy from our preparation standpoint.”

We’ve witnessed transfer QB Jason Brown lead this South Carolina offense to 40 points against Florida and a 21-3 stretch against Auburn last weekend. One of the problems that the Gamecocks could run into is protection, as they’ve allowed Brown to be sacked nine times since taking over as the starter.

Last week, Clemson’s defense held Wake Forest to a season-low 27 points and sacked quarterback Sam Hartman eight times. The Tigers also held the Demon Deacons to 36 yards rushing. But, the Tigers could be focused on other games on Saturday, as the only way they make the ACC Championship game is if Wake Forest and NC State lose. So, we will see how truly motivated this Clemson team is at 7:30 pm ET.

There’s no denying what a win over Clemson could do for the South Carolina program. First, they’d snap the six-game losing streak. Second, they’d finish the regular season with seven wins, which many thought was a pipe dream during fall camp. Third, it will set the Gamecocks up for success heading into 2022, which is huge for Shane Beamer, as he continues building this football program.

It will be a sold out Williams-Brice Stadium, that has witnessed some amazing moments over the past two games at home. But on Saturday, they are looking for one more reason to soak in the postgame atmosphere, while sending out the Seniors with another special moment.

I don’t think an upset over Clemson is far-fetched, especially if we get the same motivated team we’ve watched take the field in Columbia over the past month. Pay attention to Shane Beamer, as he could be building something very special at South Carolina, and a win over Clemson would only add to the first year success.

Written by Trey Wallace

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