Whitehurst, Seniors Look to Go 4-0 Against USC

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CLEMSON -- During his four years at Clemson, quarterback Charlie Whitehurst has broken just about every record imaginable.

He has rewritten the record books in passing yards, completions, completion percentage, touchdowns and total offense. In all, he holds 40 Clemson records, including 14 career marks. But even with all those, there is still one record out there that Whitehurst can obtain with a win this evening over rival South Carolina.

If Whitehurst starts the game and the Tigers end up victorious, he will become the first quarterback in the 103-year history of the rivalry to go 4-0.

"That would be nice," he said. "That would be nice." Whitehurst has had his best overall stats against South Carolina in his career in terms of completion percentage, passing yards and efficiency on a career basis. He is 60 of 92 for 740 yards and four touchdowns. That computes to a 65 percent completion percentage and a passing efficiency of 142.8.

His top game took place in Columbia in 2003 when he led the Tigers to a

63-17 victory, the most points scored in the history of the series and Clemson's largest margin of victory in the series since 1900.

Whitehurst completed 18 of 26 passes for 302 yards and four touchdowns. He started the game 10-for-10 and threw three touchdown passes in the first period. He also rushed for 43 yards in the game to finish with 345 yards of total offense. The only other Clemson quarterbacks to beat South Carolina three times are Steve Fuller and Homer Jordan. Fuller was 3-0 in three starts vs. South Carolina from 1976-78 and Jordan won three straight as the starter from 1980-82.

If Whitehurst goes undefeated, it means the entire senior class goes out 4-0 against the Gamecocks as well.

"That would be pretty awesome for us seniors," Whitehurst said. "I guess it hasn't happened very many times, but it would be nice." The last group of seniors to post a 4-0 mark against USC was the Class of 2000. Overall, 10 senior classes have been 4-0 versus South Carolina, including four in a row from 1937-'40, when Clemson won a series-record seven consecutive games.

The seniors of 1900, 1919, 1930, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1983, 1991 and 2000 have all done it. This current group of seniors can become just the fourth group since 1940 to finish their careers with a perfect 4-0 record against the Gamecocks.

"It would be great to be able to say that, but we haven't done it yet," said cornerback Tye Hill, who grew up in St. George. "I have people pulling for me personally this week, but against the rest of my teammates. I mean it would be great to be able to say we never lost to South Carolina because that's what you will be remembered for." The last time the Tigers were in Columbia, they lit up the scoreboard, setting a series record in points in a 63-17 victory. Hill says none of that will matter, however, when the two teams meet tonight.

"It's a rivalry game," he said. "None of that matters. All that stuff goes out the window. The records, the players on the team, how good you are ­ all that stuff flies out the window. They want to win and you want to win. The sense of urgency is higher." Clemson has won seven of the last eight games in the rivalry, including five of six under head coach Tommy Bowden.

"The coaching staff has really done a great job preparing us for this game every year," said Hill. "They are really working their butts off to get us ready and last year they had a great game plan.

"I'm not saying South Carolina wasn't prepared to play, but we just came to play." With all this success against its archrival, it might lead one to believe Clemson puts the USC game on a higher pedestal than South Carolina does Clemson.

"I don't know if we stress winning it more," said center Dustin Fry. "I'm sure they want to win it just as bad as we do.

"I don't really know why we have won seven of eight. Our team likes playing this game and really gets up for this game, but I'm sure they will do the same." But Fry says beating South Carolina is one of the Tigers' team goals each and every season.

"It's a team goal and I think it is a Clemson goal," he said. "It has been for the last 103 years. It is your rival. It's just like it was when I was at Summerville. Our goals were to go to state and beat Fort Dorchester. It's just like go Army beat Navy.

"It's not our only goal of the year, but it is one of our goals to beat South Carolina every year." And if the Tigers do it tonight, they'll give their senior quarterback another record ­ and this one might be his best yet.

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