Scouting South Carolina: how the Gamecocks win

Keep poise under pressure, take away deep strikes

South Carolina's Devin Taylor sacks Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd in the second half Saturday.

South Carolina's Devin Taylor sacks Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd in the second half Saturday.

Scouting South Carolina: how the Gamecocks win...

1. Take away the football: Clemson's ball-security issues re-emerged against Duke and Maryland, and there's no quicker way to turn momentum than to force the Tigers into turnovers. USC has the tools to pressure Tajh Boyd, and the Gamecocks' linebackers and secondary are aggressive when the ball is in the air.

2. Don't get rattled: South Carolina is no stranger to playing in hostile environments, but after watching their Tigers suffer three straight setbacks to the Gamecocks, Clemson's prime time crowd will be ready for a prime time performance. Poise under pressure, against a backdrop of intense noise, will serve the Gamecocks well as they try to prevent an early-game Clemson explosion.

3. Limit Clemson's big-yardage strikes: With Marcus Lattimore sidelined, the Tigers have a clear edge in explosive offensive weaponry. South Carolina can ill-afford to let DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins get open behind its secondary.

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