Clemson Tigers vs. South Carolina State Bulldogs: Complete Game Preview

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Clemson Tigers vs. South Carolina State Bulldogs: Complete Game Preview
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Dabo Swinney wants to keep his team's attention against South Carolina State.

Last week’s results

Clemson (1-0) beat then-No. 5 Georgia 38-35.

South Carolina State (0-1) lost at Coastal Carolina 27-20.

 

Most important story lines of the week

Will Clemson be motivated?

It’s a natural question, given the emotional nature of Clemson’s win over Georgia, which made the Tigers the first non-SEC team ever to score back-to-back wins over top-10 SEC teams.  Those Bulldogs are followed by a slightly less powerful group of Bulldogs in South Carolina State.

The in-state FCS program went 5-6 in 2012 and is coming off an opening-week loss to fellow FCS team Coastal Carolina.  Couple their visit with a lower-energy 12:30 p.m. kickoff, and you have a recipe for a letdown.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said all the right things about S.C. State, noting that seven FCS teams beat FBS opponents in week 1, led by North Dakota State’s stunner at Kansas State. Swinney wants his team to know that each of the 12 weeks of the season are valuable, that they represent what players work for all year long. Play without energy, he said, and you get beat.  If the Tigers come out flat, it won’t be for lack of effort on his part.

 

Where can Clemson improve?

Despite the impressive win, Swinney knows the Tigers have plenty of room for improvement. Clemson receivers dropped six of Tajh Boyd’s passes last week, including key bobbles by juniors Martavis Bryant and Charone Peake. In addition, junior star wideout Sammy Watkins muffed a punt which was recovered by Georgia, and senior special teams player C.J. Jones saved a near-disaster when he scooped up a punt which had deflected off freshman linebacker Ben Boulware into the end zone.

Clemson allowed 545 yards of total offense to Georgia, and there were issues with soft coverage and poor tackling which led to more yardage. South Carolina State uses a quick-tempo offense which logged 58 rush attempts last week, which could test the Tigers’ defense.

 

Will more young players see time?

Only five true freshmen saw action against Georgia—Boulware, defensive end Shaq Lawson, nickel back Korrin Wiggins, wide receiver Mike Williams and safety Cordrea Tankersley. That number should rise this week; cornerback Mackensie Alexander and tight end Jordan Leggett are expected to return from minor injuries which sidelined them against UGA. With Clemson a massive favorite, expect Swinney to empty his bench early on and get young players key experience.

Time: 12:30 p.m. ET

Place: Memorial Stadium, Clemson, S.C.

TV: Fox Sports Net (regional)

Radio: Clemson and South Carolina State radio networks (regional)

Spread: Clemson -52 via VegasInsider.com

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