The Hangover, Part XII: Scouting South Carolina

South Carolina wide receiver Pharoh Cooper (11) runs for a touchdown against Clemson during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

Who: No. 1 Clemson (11-0) at South Carolina (3-8)

When: Saturday, noon

Where: Memorial Stadium (80,250) | Columbia, S.C.

TV: ESPN

Clemson Radio: Clemson Radio Network (WQSC-AM 1340 in Charleston) | Affiliates

What to know about South Carolina: The season highlight came in week one, when South Carolina took advantage of error-prone North Carolina to hand the Tar Heels their only loss of 2015 so far. UNC quarterback Marquise Williams threw three interceptions with the ball inside the SC 25-yard-line, including a pair of picks by SC linebacker Skai Moore, and Shon Carson ran for a fourth-quarter 48-yard touchdown to aid the Gamecocks’ 17-13 comeback victory ... then the Gamecocks lost at home to Kentucky and by 32 at Georgia, before a win over winless UCF and losses to Missouri and LSU sent Steve Spurrier into the abrupt decision to retire ... interim coach Shawn Elliott won his first game against Vanderbilt before losses by 7 at Texas A&M, 3 to Tennessee, 10 to Florida and 1 to The Citadel ... South Carolina is 101st in total offense and 90th in defense. The Gamecocks are the only SEC team in the bottom three in their conference in both offense and defense ... junior wide receiver Pharoh Cooper is second in the SEC in receiving for the second consecutive year, totaling 62 catches for 887 yards and seven touchdowns. His would-have-been 94-yard touchdown catch with 39 seconds left vs. The Citadel was eradicated by an illegal procedure penalty ... top tailback Brandon Wilds has 4.7 yards a carry and three touchdowns, and his 559 yards rank 13th in the SEC ... leading quarterback Perry Orth is completing 55.8 percent of his passes for 1,710 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions. His passer rating is 23 points higher at home than on the road ... Moore leads the Gamecocks’ defense with 98 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, four interceptions and four pass breakups ... preseason all-SEC placekicker Elliott Fry has made 19-of-26 field-goal attempts ... South Carolina is 106th in third-down conversions and 108th in allowing them.

When last they met: No. 23 Clemson 35, South Carolina 17 on Nov. 29, 2014 in Clemson: Deshaun Watson totaled 282 yards and four touchdowns, Wayne Gallman rushed for 191 yards and Artavis Scott picked up 185 yards and two touchdowns on seven receptions. The Tigers’ defense racked up 13 tackles for a loss and sacked Dylan Thompson twice.

All-time series: Clemson leads 66-42-4, including 49-32-3 in Columbia. Of course, recent history has favored the Gamecocks; South Carolina won the past three matchups at Williams-Brice Stadium by an average of 17 points per game. However, the Tigers had won nine of the prior ten matchups before Dabo Swinney took over as head coach.

Which Clemson Tiger is licking his chops: Sophomore running back Wayne Gallman, who will be healed up after sitting out this past weekend vs. Wake Forest and gets to face the No. 114-rated rushing offense.

Who’s keeping the Clemson coaches up at night: Gotta be Cooper, who needs 113 receiving yards to total 1,000 yards in what could possibly be his final game in a South Carolina uniform.

Extra point: In 112 prior meetings, Clemson has only once had at least five more wins than USC at the time of matchup (1999, when Clemson was 5-5 and USC was 0-10.) The Tigers have eight more wins than the Gamecocks this year.

-AB

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