After a win last week to improve to 8-3, the Gamecocks will wrap up the regular season against the team from the upstate. We’ve made our predictions on how that’ll go below.
DC3: As discussed previously on the GABACast (which you should go listen to, because, I said so), the one thing that needs to absolutely positively happen in order to have a snowball’s chance in a furnace is to throw it early, often, and effectively. Saturday’s matchup is going to require a Herculean effort from the trio of Knott, Helms, and Bailey, and it’s going to take a career game from Jake Bentley, otherwise we’re gonna be looking at a three-score game at the half. Momentum will be huge, and if Carolina can get up early I see a scenario in which the crowd and the atmosphere can drastically affect Clemson’s ability to come from behind (without fingers). Kelly Bryant’s one weakness seems to be an ability to throw downfield with any consistency. Their running attack is going to be the second best we’ve faced this season (and we know how the UGA game went). So, ultimately, this game is going to put a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of both lines to push the pocket and maintain momentum. Is it possible? Absolutely. Would I love it if it happened? You might have to call some hospitals looking for me. Is it something I really believe can happen? Man, I dunno.
My heart longs for sad Clemson GIFs and crowd-surfing in the student section, but my head says the Agrarian Scalawags prevail, 38-28. I hate football.
Thomas: Yeah, I’m never going to predict a game for Clemson to win. For the Gamecocks to come out victorious, three things are going to have to happen: Jake Bentley will have to go around 25-35 for 300 yards and two touchdowns, Clemson doesn’t run for more than 175 yards, and we win the turnover battle by two or more. If we can do all three of those things, the score is going to be really, really close. The Gamecock defense still hasn’t given up more than 28 points, and I really don’t think this game is going to change that. I could be wrong, I’ve been wrong a lot. Bentley is just going to have to play lights out, and our offensive line has to block like the Dallas Cowboys.
I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems like we’re going to win the turnover battle. Dante Sawyer leads the country in forced fumbles, and Skai leads the SEC in all time interceptions at the LB position. I think he’ll end up picking a ball off to save the game for us. Just got a good feeling about this game. Gamecocks win, 21-20.
Katie: We’ve made it all the way to the last game of the regular season and I’m not about to change my routine now, so here’s my prediction that the Gamecocks are going to win. This would obviously be a huge and pretty unlikely upset, so I’m not expecting to be right, but football is a weird game, so who knows. While South Carolina may not actually be able to pull off the upset, I think they can at least be competitive and keep things close if the offense is able to finally click from start to finish and the defense can put up another solid effort. Outside of being better talentwise this year, the team also seems to have a confidence that was lacking last year, and I think that, combined with the home crowd, could help make this game closer than people expect. (Please don’t get blown out, Gamecocks)
Kody: I think this game has the potential to be a slobberknocker -- the Gamecocks are an improved and much more confident group across the board this year, and Williams-Brice after dark will provide a raucous and intense atmosphere. I feel comfortable saying the gap between Carolina and Clemson is no longer to the tune of 56-7, but it still exists and the Gamecocks are likely a season away from seriously challenging the Tigers. I can see this unfolding similarly to the Georgia game: South Carolina turns in a tough, spirited effort and doesn’t let Clemson go on cruise control, but also never threatens to win in something like a 24-10, 24-13 defeat. That being said, crazy things can happen (ahem, Syracuse), especially in rivalry matchups, so you never really know. I’d love to see Jake Bentley have the game of his life, Skai Moore snag a record-breaking interception, and Parker White make some field goals. It’s going to take a team effort like that if the Gamecocks want to pull this one out.
Kaci: I feel better about this game than I thought I would, which actually kind of scares me. A win for the Gamecocks would still be a big upset, but Clemson obviously hasn’t been unbeatable this season. Besides the loss to Syracuse, they’ve had a couple of other games where they let a team hang around. The Tigers scored quickly late to make those games ultimately look better than they were, but I don’t think they’ll be able to do that to the Gamecock defense. A strong defensive performance that includes a couple of turnovers, a good day from Jake Bentley, and a little luck can give the Gamecocks a win in this one. I predict that we get all three of those and end up with a 24-17 Carolina win.