2013 Forecast: Clemson-South Carolina finale promises high stakes again

South Carolina's Dylan Thompson carries the ball against Clemson.

Photo by Sefton Ipock

South Carolina's Dylan Thompson carries the ball against Clemson.

Breaking down the Gamecocks...

South Carolina Quick Profile

Plays Clemson: at Williams-Brice Stadium, Nov. 30.

2012 Record: 11-2 (7-1 SEC, T-1st in East).

Coach: Steve Spurrier (208-77-2 career record, 35-30 against SEC at S. Car [5-3 vs. Clemson], 9th year at S. Car).

Offense (2012 ranks): Multiple (Total offense: 82nd/Rush offense: 89th/Pass offense: 57th)

Defense (2012 ranks): 4-2-5 (Total defense: 11th/Rush defense: 17th/Pass defense: 21st).

2012 Special Team Ranks: Net punting – 77th/Kickoff returns – 62nd/Punt returns – 9th/Punt return yardage defense – 18th/Kick return yardage defense – 95th.

2012 Misc. stats: Turnover margin – 43rd/Fewest penalties – 30th/First downs – 77th/First downs allowed – 77th/Third down efficiency – 45th/Red zone efficiency – 63rd/Red zone defense – 21st/Time of possession – 66th.

Depth Chart Breakdown – Returning starters (2012 stats)

QB – 1: 1. Connor Shaw (6-1 204, senior; 67.5 cmp%-1,956 yards-17 TDs-7 INTs-435 r. yards-3 TDs) 2. Dylan Thompson (6-3 212, junior; 52.0-1,027-10-2).

RB – 0: 1. 1. Mike Davis (5-9 215, soph.; 52 carries-275 yards-2 TDs-5.3 YPC 2. Brandon Wilds (6-2 218, soph.).

WR – 2/3: 1. Damiere Byrd (5-9 168, junior; 14 catches-366 yards-3 TDs-26.1 YPR) 2. Nick Jones (5-7 171, junior; 12-197-16.4); 1. Bruce Ellington (5-9 197, junior; 40-600-7-15.0); 1. Shaq Roland (6-1 182, soph.; 5-80-1-16.0).

TE – 0: Rory Anderson (6-5 218, junior; 14-271-5-19.4).

OL – 4/5: LT Corey Robinson (6-8 338, junior; 9 career starts); LG A.J. Cann (6-4 310, junior; 25 career starts); C Cody Waldrop (6-2 312, r. freshman); RG Roland Patrick (6-2 315, senior; 13 career starts); RT Brandon Shell (6-6 321, soph.; 10 career starts).

DL – 2/4: DE Chaz Sutton (6-5 256, senior; 25 tackles, 5 sacks, 7 TFL); 1. DT J.T. Surratt (6-2 311, junior; 14 tackles, 2.5 TFL) 2. Gerald Dixon Jr. (6-3 318, soph.; 9 tackles); DT Kelcy Quarles (6-4 293, junior; 38 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 8 TFL); DE Jadeveon Clowney (6-6 272, junior; 54 tackles, 13 sacks, 23.5 TFL).

LB (+SPUR) – 0/3: WLB Cedrick Cooper (6-2 215, soph.); MLB Kaiwan Lewis (6-0 221, soph.); SPUR Jordan Diggs (6-0 197; r. freshman).

DB – 3/4: CB Victor Hampton (5-10 197, junior; 40 tackles, 1 sacks, 3 TFL); SS Brison Williams (5-11 205, junior; 52 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 6 passes defended); FS Kadetrix Marcus (6-1 185, junior); CB Jimmy Legree (6-0 185, senior; 44 tackles, 9 passes defended).

K – 0/1: Landon Ard (Soph.).

P – 1/1: Tyler Hull (Junior; 39.4 YPP, 12 inside the 20).

KR/PR – 1/2: KR – Bruce Ellington (22.6 YPR); PR – Victor Hampton (Junior).

South Carolina Identity

1. Jadeveon Clowney – He’s really good. He really thinks quarterbacks are intimidated by him (and I’m sure quite a few are). Last season he teed off on Clemson’s o-line with 4.5 sacks for 24 lost yards. Despite being the defender to watch for two seasons on this defense, Clowney has stayed healthy and posted 35.5 career tackles for loss.

2. Defense fueling offense – Odds-on, South Carolina’s offense will be improved this season from the last two, but winning 22 games over the last years, they haven’t needed it. Over the last two seasons, the Gamecocks have had the only offense nationally to finish 70th or worse in total offense and still score more than 30 points per game each season (out of 22 qualifying schools). Field position, turnovers – you name it, but defense is what drives Spurrier's teams in Columbia.

3. Former Tiger’s brother the Lattimore-heir apparent – He’ll have plenty of competition, but four-star prospect and brother of former Clemson great James Davis, Mike Davis, is expected to take over in Columbia. A stout 215 lbs., Davis was only Gamecock runner to average over five yards per carry last season (5.3). South Carolina runs a good amount with starting QB Connor Shaw, but outgoing with Marcus Lattimore and Kenny Miles is over 50 percent of the 2012 carries. Davis will get his shot to take the majority of those come 2013.

Odds & Trends: South Carolina carries its series-long four-game winning streak into the home matchup – all by double-digits, averaging a 18-point margin of victory. Clemson led at the half 14-10 last season before being held to just three points and five possessions in the second session. The Tigers are the only non-SEC team to defeat three ranked SEC teams in the last two seasons. Clemson has three of only seven non-conference wins over ranked SEC opponents in that span. The Gamecocks are the only team to hold Chad Morris’ Clemson offense under 20 points two-straight seasons and one of only three teams to do it period. Under Dabo Swinney, Clemson is 3-7 as a road underdog and 7-3 against the spread.

2013 Schedule: 8/29 UNC; 9/7 @Georgia; 9/14 Vanderbilt; 9/21 BYE; 9/28 @UCF; Oct. 5 Kentucky; Oct. 12 @Arkansas; Oct. 19 @Tennessee; Oct. 26 @Missouri; Nov. 2 Mississippi State; Nov. 9 BYE; Nov. 16 Florida; Nov. 23 Coastal Carolina; Nov. 30 Clemson.

2012 Results: @Vanderbilt – W 17-13; ECU – W 48-10; UAB – W 49-6; Missouri – W 31-10; @Kentucky – W 38-17; Georgia – W 35-7; @LSU – L 23-21; @Florida – L 44-11; Tennessee – W 38-35; Arkansas – W 38-20; Wofford – W 24-7; @Clemson – W 27-17.

To check out the rest of Clemson's schedule, head to our Scouting Report page.

© 2013 OrangeAndWhite.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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