South Carolina vs. Clemson NCAAF Week 13 Top Picks: Will Gamecocks Slay Second Straight Giant?

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Spencer Rattler #7 of the South Carolina Gamecocks looks to pass against the Florida Gators. James Gilbert/Getty Images/AFP.

It’s safe to say that South Carolina and Clemson were not looking ahead to their season-ending rivalry game against each other. Last week, the Gamecocks set a record by blowing out No. 5 Tennessee, 63-38, in Columbia. It was the largest point total any unranked team has ever scored against a Top 25 team in the history of the AP Poll.

It also opened the door for Clemson to play in the College Football Playoff. The Tigers are a regular participant in college football’s final four, but a loss to Notre Dame earlier this season seemed to take them out of the running. South Carolina’s rout of the Volunteers essentially took Tennessee out of consideration for a spot, however, and that opens a vacancy for Clemson if it wins out and gets some breaks.

The Tigers did their part last week, demolishing Miami, 40-10 to set up an important season finale against South Carolina. In addition to playing for the postseason, Clemson is looking to hang an eighth straight loss on the Gamecocks in the cross-state rivalry series. That would set a record for the longest winning streak by either team.

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South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Clemson Tigers

Saturday, November 26, 2022 – 12:00 PM EST at Memorial Stadium (Clemson, SC)

Rattler and Hum

Quarterback Spencer Rattler threw for 458 yards against Tennessee, the fourth-best game by a South Carolina quarterback in school history. He also set a Gamecocks’ single-game record with six touchdown passes against the Vols. The game nearly doubled his touchdown pass total for the season—he entered the game with eight on the year.

The game snapped a streak of five straight weeks and seven in the last eight, where Rattler had thrown for 200 yards or fewer. He also had a 377-yard game against Arkansas earlier in the year, so he’s been up and down. Antwane Wells Jr. led all receivers in the game with 11 catches for 177 yards. He is third in the SEC in receiving.

Injured Running Backs

The offensive explosion came despite South Carolina being without its top two running backs. MarShawn Lloyd and Christian Beal-Smith both missed the game with injuries.

It was the second straight game each has missed. Lloyd is nursing a deep thigh bruise, and Beal-Smith has been bothered by a nagging foot injury all season.

Lloyd leads the team in rushing at 556 yards and nine touchdowns, while Beal-Smith has added five scores. “We'll see where they are next week," coach Shane Beamer said.

You’re Saying There’s a Chance

Clemson has turned its attention to the postseason, now that Tennessee’s fall has opened up a variety of scenarios that get the Tigers back to the playoff. They all hinge on beating South Carolina, however, in a game that coach Dabo Swinney says is its own postseason game. “Now we know kind of our regular season is over,” he said. “South Carolina is a goal of its own for us. It's a season of its own.”

The Tigers enter this new season on a roll. Since the Notre Dame loss, Clemson has beaten Louisville and Miami by a combined 71-26 score. They’ve clinched the ACC Atlantic Division title and will play North Carolina in the league championship game next week.

Recent History

Clemson is also very aware of its history of success against the Gamecocks. The Tigers are riding a series-best seven-game winning streak, matching the record set from 1934 to 1940. They’ve won the last five over South Carolina by 21 or more points each, and the Gamecocks haven’t scored a touchdown against the Tigers since 2018.

The Tigers are monitoring a trio of players who are nursing health problems. Defensive tackle Bryan Bresee missed the Miami game with strep throat. Wide receiver Beaux Collins was out with a shoulder injury, and offensive lineman Marcus Tate went down in the game with a leg injury.

“He tweaked his knee. I don't really know," Swinney said. "They don't think it's too serious.”

The Pick

A week ago, South Carolina was looking for answers on offense. The inconsistent Gamecocks have scored 6, 7, and 10 points in games this year, as well as 50, 56, and 63. Against Clemson, they’ll need to be the explosive force they were last week.

Clemson will be dialed in and is at its best when the stakes are high. Following the NCAAF odds, look for the Tigers to hammer their rivals again.

Predicted Score: Clemson 31 - South Carolina 10

NCAAF Pick: Clemson -14.5 (-110) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Clemson -14.5 (-110)
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