Gamecocks and Tigers: Former players predict the big game


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Clemson's defense will have their hands full with Jake Bentley Saturday night
Clemson's defense will have their hands full with Jake Bentley Saturday night

As fans and sportswriters, we have no idea what it’s like to play in the Palmetto Bowl or what it takes to get a win during rivalry week.

Former Clemson players who have played at Williams-Brice Stadium, taken on the Gamecocks and know that emotions don’t win football games gave TigerNet their predictions for this weekend’s matchup between the Tigers and the Gamecocks.

Brandon Ford
“Clemson wins of course, but I think Clemson wins 38-13. The key to the game will be the passing game of Kelly B. because we know we can run the ball and our defense is outstanding so our success will rely on Kelly’s arm.”

Jock McKissick
“The key to the game will be for us to get a few three and outs early on defense to rattle (Jake) Bentley and the offense to take advantage going up by 10-14 points in the first. Then South Carolina’s mentality will change. No doubt in my mind we’re gonna show up and dominate, but SCar will have a chip on their shoulder. I don’t really do point predictions...but if I had to make one, I’d say 31-13.”

Yusef Keith Kelly
“I always have a prediction lol 31-10, Clemson of course. A key to the game will be making sure our secondary covers well. They won't be able to run the ball.”

Chad Jasmin
“Clemson 35-USC-10. The keys to the game are our defense must make big plays to take them out the game early. Go Tigers!”

Rod McDowell
“The key to the game is us staying balanced and not overdoing it. The defense causing a lot of confusion in the passing game to force them to run the ball in which we are a great run stopping defense. If Ray-Ray (McCloud) can flip the field in special team then Tigers 46-12.”

Chris Chancellor
“My prediction is 40-17 Clemson. Key to the game will be long ball. We know they’re going to stack the box and force Kelly (Bryant) to beat them with his arm. They will try to limit TNT (Tavien Feaster and Travis Etienne) and Bryant running ability and force us into turnovers in a hostile crowd. I can’t lie, it’s going to be a great but ruthless and filthy atmosphere. Go Tigers!”

Malliciah Goodman
“I’ll say get a rhythm and consistently move the ball on O and dominate the LOS (line of scrimmage) and keep Bentley uncomfortable in the pocket”

Shaq Lawson
“45-17”

David Beasley
“42-7 and the key points to the game is for SC to be themselves and lose another game. If we know one thing SC always come through with a loss. That’s their bread and butter, to help elevate other teams to the top. Go Tigers!”

Michael Young
“45-6. Bentley opened things up last year with the "not much better than us” comment! The defense will suffocate him worse than last year. Their defense hasn't faced an offense with so many weapons except when they played us last year.”

Quandon Christian
“I think it’s a going to be a fun game to watch. Being from this amazing state and really knowing all about the rivalry, I’m looking forward to this game. Clemson is going to need to communicate on offense and defense and continue to do what they did last week. We had a great team win last week, so as long as we make plays, Clemson will no doubt come out on top. I think our offense and defense comes out fired up. Clemson 38-10”

Brandon Thomas
“35-10, OL vs. DL. If we can establish the run early, we can hit them with PA (play action) passes for solid pickups in the middle as well as deep balls. Keep the D guessing.”

Tig Willard
“I’m thinking 28-13 Go Tigers”

Tye Hil
“Clemson 35-14.... The Key to the game for me is our Secondary vs. USC Pass Offense. Our front 7 should dominate the (LOS) Line Of Scrimmage So Bentley should be under pressure all night...Go Tigers!!!!”

Airese Currie
“I'm going with my Tigers 28-21.”

David Davis
“I think those boys are gonna run the train on them. I don't think they will be able to stop our rushing attack and I think they will have over 300 yards rushing. Our defense will shut down the run, force the pass and we'll feast on chicken all day long. I predict 42-17 Clemson.”

Eric Mac Lain
“31-10 – The key to the game is going to be the trenches on both sides and who can control the line of scrimmage.”

Chad Carson
“31 - 17 Clemson ... Key to the game is Clemson’s defensive front 7 vs SC’s run game. Without a consistent running game, Clemson's superior pass rush can pin its ears back. I don't think the Gamecocks can consistently block that.”

Tajh Boyd
“31-17 Clemson. Capture momentum early (3 big plays in the first half will do), be able to pressure with 4 and play loose.”

Jay Guillermo
“I think it will be Clemson, 31-17. I think the key will be to make SC bring an extra safety into the box and let the guys on the perimeter get 1-on-1 matchups.”

Neely Page
“I think the score will be low, something like 28-7. I think the key to the game is two-fold if we can rush the ball and stay balanced and can they rush the ball and control our defensive line.”

Michael Hamlin
“35-14 Tigers. Field position, big plays and turnovers will be key.”

Brandon Maye
“It's rivalry football. I expect a hard fought battle between both teams. The x-factor in this game will be Clemson’s dominant front 7 of defense. They will absolutely be too much for the Cocks OL.

“Clemson’s OCs (Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott) have to be very aggressive in their play calling, early and often in a tough environment. This game will start slow but Clemson will pack on points in the final quarter to win 35-14. Go Tigers!!”

David Smith
“So I honestly think that with our team now being healthy on both sides of the ball, there should be no contest. Our offense is built to score in the air and on the ground. Our defense is built to stop any offense both in the air and on the ground. Dabo has done an extraordinary job at creating a balanced team and coaching staff, and I believe the character of both will show Saturday when Clemson marches down to Columbia to collect rent.

“This game will come down to how much focus Clemson brings, how well they prepared this week and the turnover game. As Coach Swinney has always said, the team that wins the turnover battle usually wins the game.

“As a quick wrap up, if all hearts and minds are on one accord, this game will logically be a 2-3 score win for Clemson full of rivalry trickery and big plays fueled by a deep dark desire to win.”

Kalon Davis
“I'm feeling Clemson by 17 and I feel like the key is pressure on Jake Bentley. Even though he is very hit or miss I like him as a competitor and without Deebo (Samuel), he is the lifeline of their offense. I still kind of expect a miss performance here because we have about everyone on our front seven have legitimate NFL aspirations”

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