OPPONENT: Clemson Tigers
WHEN: Saturday, November 30th
WHERE: Williams-Brice Stadium (Columbia, SC)
ALL-TIME SERIES RECORD: Clemson leads 70-42-4
LAST MEETING: Clemson beat South Carolina 56-35 in Clemson, SC
2018 RECORD: 15-0 (8-0)
"Dream big and believe. Because dreams to come true."— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) January 13, 2019
– Dabo Swinney in 2008 #ALLIN https://t.co/BOQ8nTuq2w
Swinney returns for his 12th year at Clemson overseeing arguably the best program in the entire country.
A record breaking extension highlighted the offseason, as the Tigers gave Swinney a 10 year, $93 million dollar deal in April.
Now, Dabo looks to return Clemson to the promised land, seeking a third national title in four years.
- WR Tee Higgins (Jr.)
- LG John Simpson (Sr.)
- C Sean Pollard (Sr.)
- WR Amari Rodgers (Jr.)
- RT Tremanyne Anchrum (Sr.)
- QB Trevor Lawrence (So.)
- RB Travis Etienne (Jr.)
- OLB Isaiah Simmons (Jr.)
- CB A.J. Terrell (Jr.)
- S Tanner Muse (Sr.)
- S K’Von Wallace (Sr.)
How did they fare in 2018?
While it may appear Clemson cruised on the way to a national title, last season did not lack a flair for the dramatics.
Veteran signal caller Kelly Bryant was replaced early in the season, leading to his eventual transfer to Mizzou.
In stepped Trevor Lawrence, the highly rated recruit out of Georgia to take over the reins for Dabo Swinney and the Tigers.
Safe to say, the move paid off. Lawrence completed over 65% of his passes, while throwing for over 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns.
Clemson’s road trip to College Station early in the season proved as one of its toughest tests of the year, as the Tigers were able to escape with a 28-26 win over the Aggies.
It looked as if again Clemson may fall victim to an upset in its annual game with Syracuse. A late touchdown drive was needed to secure the 27-23 win over the Orange.
The Tigers cruised through the rest of its schedule, including a 42-10 win over Pittsburgh in the ACC Title.
Clemson capped off the magical run by doing what nobody in the country thought it could: by embarrassing the Alabama Crimson Tide by a final score of 44-16 to win the National Championship.
Best Returning Player…
Year 2⃣ of the Trevor Lawrence era at Clemson is underway 💪#ALLIN (@ClemsonFB, @Trevorlawrencee) pic.twitter.com/hVdkIG56TA— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) May 5, 2019
QB Trevor Lawrence
Simply put, Lawrence is one of the best quarterback prospects the game of college football has seen in quite some time.
He established himself early as one of the best in the country and only got better as the season progressed.
Surrounded by a plethora of playmakers, Trevor’s most impressive attribute last season seemed to be his poise and calm demeanor.
A pre-season All-American selection, expect Lawrence to be even better in 2019 as he looks to lead the Tigers to a second straight national championship.
Heck, he may even collect a Heisman Trophy in the process.
The college football world belongs to both Alabama and Clemson right now and we’re all simply just living in it.
That’s a harsh reality for Gamecock fans to face, as Clemson showed last season that it could not only compete with Alabama, but flat out embarrass them as well.
The biggest question mark facing this Tigers team will be on the defensive side of the ball, as DC Brent Venables looks to replace his entire starting front four from a year ago.
Still, Clemson has loaded up at all positions through fantastic recruiting classes and should have no issues finding guys who can produce at a high level.
Offensively, the Tigers will be one of the toughest to defend in the country.
Outside of QB Trevor Lawrence, they return big time playmakers such as RB Travis Etienne, WR Justyn Ross, WR Tee Higgins amongst a host of others.
Anything less than another trip to the CFP in 2019 will be a massive disappointment for a fan base that all but come to expect that on a yearly basis.
South Carolina will look to do all it can to end a five game losing streak in the series and spoil Clemson’s chase to a second straight national title.
Can the Gamecocks find enough magic on a cold November night in Williams-Brice to pull the upset?
While it’s unlikely, a win would most definitely go down as the biggest to date of the Will Muschamp era in Columbia.
2019 SEASON PROJECTION: 15-0 (8-0)