Week 14 in College Football means one thing, its rivalry week! With college football rivals in state and outside go against eachother including the likes of Auburn Alabama, Georgia Georgia St, Michigan Ohio St, but I’ll be taking a closer look at the Clemson South Carolina game on Saturday 12 AM GMT which is dubbed the The Battle of the Palmetto State, the two schools are only separated by 132 miles.
Both teams came into this season with high hopes, with Clemson leaning on Tajh Boyd to take them to a National Title, Clowney a Heisman candidate all eyes were on him for South Carolina, people were hoping he could replicate his performance from the previous year. An important game for both teams, hoping to make it to a BCS Bowl with South Carolina having a shot making the SEC Title game with a Missouri loss to Texas A&M this weekend.
Tajh Boyd touted to be a first round pick in the 2014 draft, the former ACC OPOY in 2013, Boyd has thrown for 3,248 yards(29 TDs, 7 INT), his TD and INT have come down from a year ago. He has improved this season throwing from the pocket, but has struggled under pressure and tends to make a lot of mistakes, the game that springs to mind is the FSU game where they continued to create pressure and Boyd was very erratic throwing for 156 yards (1 TD, 2 INT), they were able to keep him in the pocket rushing for only 8 yards the entire game. Boyd is able to make his best throws from outside the pocket, overall Boyd has improved since becoming the starter but will need the right OC if he wants to continued success. Big part of Boyd success has been the dynamic WR Sammy Watkins all but likely not return for his senior year. After being suspended in 2012 for 4 games, in 2013 he has played every game, Watkins has 1,144 receiving yards, catching 10 TDs after only 3 TDs last season when De’Andre Hopkins was opposite him, being the #1 WR for the team, Watkins has shown he is still capable of producing, he a chess piece that can be moved around the field but being that #1 or #2 WR also capable punt and kick returner.
Only a junior but Vic Beasley has been making a name for himself this season with 10 sacks, 2 more than last season and looking to add to that tally against South Carolina on Saturday, he has doubled his TFL to 17 this season. Beasley who can get better as a pass rusher after starting his career at TE for Clemson, with not much experience at defensive end it would be wise for him to return for his Senior year but with his stock at it highest he may decide to declare, Dabo Swinney suggested he should return for his senior season and get better. Brandon Thomas is the starting LT for Clemson but at the next level see him as RT, possibly G playing for 3 years as a starter.
South Carolina keep having one of the better defensive lines in the country, this season is no difference of course they have Clowney but junior DT Kelcy Quarles father has said that his son will be declaring for the 2014 draft. Quarles has improved from a year ago when he was named the starter, he has the quickness and movement to get into the backfield, he has 11 TFL and 7 sacks doubled his sack total from 2012 where he had 3.5 sacks. The guy opposite Clowney is Chaz Sutton a versatile player who had played multiple position in 2012, experts expected him to have a breakout year with teams double teaming Clowney majority of the time, Sutton has 3 Sacks, 6 TFL with a game to go he has a chance to improve his stats slightly. Saturday will be mark the final home game for Clowney will play for South Carolina @ Williams-Brice Stadium. Jadeveon Clowney hit on Denard Robinson went viral last season and many had hoped to see the same type of hit every snap he played this season, the pressure on Clowney was incredible this season with a possibility of a Heisman trophy, every snap, movement he made the cameras were on him, he was never going to live up to them expectations. He had injury issues, rumours of taking snaps off but with all said and done, Clowney will be going in the top 5 of the draft unless a run of QBs happen even that seems unlikely.