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High Tension, High Stakes In Saturday's Clemson - Carolina Game

No. 11 Clemson hosts No. 12 South Carolina in a monster matchup of two teams with big goals.

Saturday's game between the No. 11 Clemson Tigers and No. 12 South Carolina Gamecocks has all the makings of a blockbuster event. 

It's the highest the two teams have been ranked heading into the rivalry matchup since the 1987 game at Williams-Brice Stadium, when Clemson was in the top 10 and Carolina was ranked No. 12.

For the Gamecocks, Saturday represents the first opportunity to win a fourth game in a row over their hated rivals since 1951 to 1954, and an opportunity wrap up its second 10-win season in a row. 

For the Tigers, the game is a shot at redemption after getting run out of the stadium the last three years by the Gamecocks. It also represents a chance for the Tigers to earn an at-large bid to a BCS bowl, most likely the Sugar (which would yield another chance at redemption to relieve the sting from the 70-33 thrashing the Tigers received in their BCS bowl last year). 

Clemson, led by quarterback Tajh Boyd, who has thrown for 33 touchdowns and run for eight, comes in with the No. 4 scoring offense in the entire country, going up against a stout Gamecock defense, led by sophomore sensation defensive end Jadaveon Clowney. 

The Tigers, who are undefeated at home this season and have won 13 straight games in Death Valley (their last home loss was to the Gamecocks in 2010), are favored by four points. 

And if the stakes weren't high enough, the tension certainly is. Dating back to last December, Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney and Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier have engaged in a series of verbal sparring sessions via the media - beginning with Swinney's very public taking umbrage to comments attributed to Spurrier by Gamecock radio announcer Todd Ellis. 

And when Spurrier poked fun at Clemson's "Death Valley" earlier this year, Swinney responded in kind.

Most recently, Spurrier drew criticism from Clemson fans and even some Carolina faithful for turning a ceremony honoring injured running back Marcus Lattimore into an opportunity to make a dig at Swinney and the Tigers. 

Saturday's game will kick off at 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. Temperatures will dip to 34 degrees. The game will be televised on ESPN. 

Hal Millard November 22, 2012 at 03:27 AM
GO 'COCKS!

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