With Thanksgiving weekend upon us, many are sure to be pigging out on Turkey, rolls, green beans, and football.
Clemson fans hope to pig out on victory Saturday night when they host the South Carolina Gamecocks at seven. This will likely be a sellout game in Death Valley, with South Carolina boasting an 8-3 record and a spot in the SEC Championship Game against Auburn the following week.
The Gamecocks are bound to be cocky, even on the road in a tough environment like Death Valley. However, the Gamecocks shouldn't count their chickens before they hatch, especially on Thanksgiving weekend.
While the Gamecocks boast skilled offensive playmakers in Marcus Lattimore, Stephen Garcia, and Alshon Jeffery, Clemson boasts playmakers of its own on defense that can frustrate any offense and any player or coach.
The Clemson defense has several key players to match up against the offensive playmakers of South Carolina; some of the most notable include Daquan Bowers and Deandre McDaniel, who excel in rushing the passer and covering the pass, respectively. Defensive backs Xavier Brewer and Marcus Gilchrist have manned the corner spots, with Byron Maxwell splitting time with Brewer much of the season.
The defensive line remains deep, with Jarvis Jenkins and Brandon Thompson manning the interior of the line, and Andre Branch remains consistent at bandit end, and is always one to look for on the other side of Bowers.
Offensively, there still remains a chance. South Carolina has had its struggles stopping the pass, especially on big plays. Now is the time in which tight end Dwayne Allen, who has been quiet much of the season, has his time to shine. With the young trio of receivers in Jaron Brown, Deandre Hopkins, and Bryce McNeal emerging, this allows for the offense to finally use him as the legitimate threat Clemson knows that he is.
Their struggles in stopping the pass doesn't mean you give up on the run. With the absence of Ellington in the offense, Jaime Harper has received the majority of the carries, and has not disappointed, having consecutive games of over 140 yards rushing, and remains a pass catching threat out of the backfield with his natural hands.
Kyle Parker must also have a good game as the quarterback, and must make better decisions about throwing the football; his decision making has cost him a lot this season. The offensive line just needs to keep up their fantastic work, and continue doing what they do best in running the football and protecting the quarterback.
Though rivals they are, Clemson and South Carolina fans are sure to be thankful for what will be an enjoyable game this Saturday in Death Valley.