Well folks, it has been a very interesting Gamecock 2011.
After all the drama and hijinks of this season, we are now 9-2, and hosting our good neighbors Clemson at Williams-Brice this Saturday evening. Lets get ready to rumble.
Who and what we are facing
Clemson is very good this year - Tajh Boyd is the real deal at QB (243/395, 3255 yds and 27 Tds) and he has an arsenal on offense - both rushing (Ellington 4.8 yds per carry/9 TD) and receiving (Watkins 1,034 yds and 15.2 avg / 10 TD and Hopkins 755 Yards / 4 TD). They have the ability for the big play with several members of the offense, and lean more towards the passing game with an array of talented recievers which Boyd (QB) has spread the ball around to all season. Chandler Catanzaro is an exceptional kicker who has shown reach and consistency all season.
The Tiger offensive line has not been superb this year. NC State shoved them around last week. Although Clowney is still a question mark with last weeks concussion, Carolinas front four should be able to control the line of scrimmage. Clemson has yet to face a defense this strong all year - and if substantial pressure is made it will allow our secondary to hopefully increase the mounting turnovers that Clemson has suffered from in the latter half of the season. As has been the case all year, the defense will have to step up yet again to allow Connor Shaw to do his magic. Again, we need to see the defense put points on the board and create momentum with turnovers. Look for Ingram and Swearinger.
Moving the Ball
We have the momentum headed into game - and Connor Shaw has now thickened his skin against enough teams to come in blazing. I think Clemson will try key on his scrambles, which although serve the purpose of moving the chains, have had some frustrated receivers open downfield that could have had some bigger plays. He need to feel comfort in stepping into the pocket and not just bolting the first sign of pressure. He has great wheels, but hes a great accurate thrower who can exploit Clemsons secondary if he has that extra second of patience. Brandon wilds again needs a big game to keep Clemson on their heels.
Lets get it done
All fans involved Saturday are aware of the importance of the game. I keep seeing in the media it will boil down to our defense vs. Clemsons offense, but i think Connor Shaw will steal the day. I really like what i see in his poise and confidence. He needs to find Alshon more on the long routes. We will have to stifle the agressive spread attack of the Tigers, and i expect our wrecking crew to have a fine performance. Coach Spurrier will have to pull some tricks out of his hat. I expect Clemson to bounce back from last weeks debacle, a hard fought game, and a carolina win.
Happy Thanksgiving from London, headed back for more stuffing.