Clemson players not looking past Gamecocks

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CLEMSON – Clemson offensive lineman Thomas Austin said someone walked into the locker room last week, and mentioned that fans and students were talking about which game they would rather win, the ACC Championship or the rivalry game against South Carolina.

In other words – would the fans trade a loss to South Carolina for a win over Georgia Tech and winning the ACC Championship.

Austin said he and some of the other players just shook their head in amazement that anyone would even think that way, that the Clemson players and coaching staff are committed to winning both games.

“That’s just crazy,” Austin said. “Anybody who says anything like that or even thinks like that has obviously never played the game of football.”

Austin said that even though people think this Clemson may be in for a little bit of a letdown, he says to think again.

“I think people asked about a letdown before N.C. State and after the win at Miami, and after the Florida St. game,” Austin said. “This is a different team than last year. And one of our goals is the state championship. There are only a certain number of opportunities to play South Carolina. For the in-state guys, this is special. We know that we want to win every game. That is our mentality.”

The Tigers have already clinched a trip to Tampa for next week’s ACC Championship Game, and some pundits have suggested that Clemson might be looking ahead to their rematch with Georgia Tech and could have a letdown against the Gamecocks.

Tight end Michael Palmer said there is no chance of that happening.

“We have got South Carolina first and we have to focus on them,” Palmer said. “We have been hearing about a letdown for seven straight weeks, and we haven’t had one, so I am not concerned at all. I think this team will come out and be ready to go against South Carolina.”

Clemson linebacker Brandon Maye was asked if the Gamecocks might have an emotional edge because of the off week and the Gamecocks having the home field advantage.

“They might have an edge,” Maye said. “But everybody can come out and whoop and holler before the game, but the game still has to be played. Our players know they have an important game this week. It is our rivalry game. Every time we step on the field, it is show time.

“We just have to go out and execute the game plan. There has been a business-like atmosphere around this team all season, and we know the game next Saturday will be for bragging rights for this state. We will handle our business with a business-like attitude.”

Clemson safety DeAndre McDaniel said the South Carolina game is the third goal that head coach Dabo Swinney laid out before the beginning of the season, and the goals are something the Tigers take seriously.

“There is no overlooking our rival, and this is our third goal, to win the state championship,” McDaniel said. “They have a pretty good offense, and they like to put the ball in the air a lot. Alshon Jeffrey is a great jumper, and I am sure he will be a big part of their game plan. But Coach Steele will have a great package for him.”

Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker said playing in rivalry games are what college football is all about.

“It is a big rivalry, and playing in these types of games is so much fun,” Parker said. “This is why you play the game, and that is why college football is so awesome. We have looked at the film, and we know they are a good team, and we will have to put our best foot forward and play well.”


John Bengier, the President of the Tampa Clemson Club, wanted Tiger fans to take advantage of some happenings in the Tampa area surrounding the ACC Championship.

The Tampa Clemson Club talked to the owner of the Bennigans at Channelside and for the weekend anybody wearing Clemson gear gets 10% of their check. Channelside is an entertainment district where the ACC is having its party Friday night.

Also, there will be the FL Tiger Tailgate. The four Clemson Clubs of FL - Tampa Bay, Orlando, Jacksonville, and South FL, have teamed up to offer this event. It is a fully catered tailgate and will be right across the street from the stadium. $30 for unlimited BBQ Chicken, BBQ Pork Sandwiches, Hot Dogs, Baked Beans, Cole Slaw, Sodas and Draft Beer. All for $30. It does not include parking. We have a website The money we raise is going to help with scholarships.

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