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2013 SC State @ Clemson Preview

Last weekend was a tremendous outing for our Clemson Tigers as the team was able to get a big victory over the Georgia Bulldogs. This week will be the first of many this season where Clemson is a big favorite over the opponent. Clemson will need to prove it can get up for the big ones and stay steady for the others if the Tigers want to turn this season into a spectacular one.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

School / Coaching Information

Clemson South Carolina State
2013 Record: 1-0, 0-0 ACC 0-1, 0-0 in MEAC
Rankings: 4 AP, 5 USA Today Not Ranked
Location: Clemson, SC Orangeburg, SC
Colors: Clemson Orange and Regalia Garnet and blue
Enrollment: 20,768 3,500
Athletic Director: Dan Radakovich Charlene Johnson
Head Coach: Dabo Swinney, Alabama ‘93 Buddy Pough, S.C. State ‘75
Record at Current School: 41-21 (.661) 88-40 (12th season)
Career Record: 41-21 (.661) 88-40 (12th season)
Offensive Coordinator: The Chad
Joe Blackwell
Base Offense: Spread Spread
Defensive Coordinator: Brent Venables Mike Adams
Base Defense: 4-3 4-2-5
Athletic Website:

General Game Information

Game Time 12:30 PM EDT
Stadium Memorial Stadium
Host City Clemson, SC
Television RSN
Play by Play Announcer Wes Durham
Color Commentator Dave Archer
Sideline Jenn Hildreth
Clemson Radio Clemson Tiger Sports Network (WCCP FM)
CU Play-By-Play Pete Yanity
CU Color Commentary Will Merritt
CU Sideline Reporting Patrick Sapp

The Tigers head into this week's contest as a heavy favorite against a SC State team that finished last season with a losing record and opened the '13 campaign with a loss against Coastal last weekend. Needless to say, the Bulldogs will enter Memorial Stadium this week with a lot to prove. We'll at least try to get you primed for this one with a little insight below.

Clemson and SC State have only met once prior to Saturday. That was a 54-0 drubbing in Death Valley back in early 2008. I'll point out that since the NCAA split into 1-A and 1-AA (which, more recently was classified as BCS / FCS), Clemson has yet to lose to an FCS team.

The Bulldogs are led by Buddy Pough. Pough has been a part of SC State football for quite sometime. He played there in the mid-'70's then returned in 1979 to become an assistant coach at his Alma Mater. Pough spent time coaching college and high school ball and, prior to becoming the head man at State, coached several very good high school teams including the '96 Fairfield-Central team that went 15-0 en route to a AAA state championship. Pough was an assistant at South Carolina for five seasons before succeeding Willie Jeffries at South Carolina State. His accomplishments at State include two outright and two additional shared MEAC titles and a number of seasons being considered a legitimate threat and national contender at the FCS level.

Offensively, SC State will line up in a lot of 3-4 WR sets but will try and run the football. Last week against Coastal, Justin Taylor and Julius Pendergrass combined for 42 carries and 138 yards. Don't be lulled into thinking that State can only run the ball. Highlights from last season show an array of long touchdown passes. Last week against the Chanticleers, QB Richard Cue was 13/23 for 178 yards, one TD, and no interceptions. While these may not be Peyton Manning numbers, they indicate that the Bulldogs will throw the football and that Cue doesn't make big mistakes throwing the football.

On defense, the Bulldogs employ a base 4-2-5 and refer to their hybrid DB as the "Dog." They officially list their defensive line positions as a nose and defensive tackle but will show both even and odd fronts with this personnel grouping. Against balanced formations, they get into even fronts and strong formations they'll cover the center and leave the 3 tech on the strong side, and slide the end to split the difference/cover the TE-nothing earthshattering here. I've seen some highlights featuring a straight three-man front and other situations where they'll show three down linemen and walk another defender up to create an ODD four man front. Expect to see these looks only in obvious passing situations.

I will point to the SC State kicker. He is pretty good and caught my eye with a couple of nice punts last year at ATM. On the '12 season he averaged over 38 per kick but last week against Coastal had a nice 46 yard average. This included a 61 yarder. If you are Clemson, you expect him to outkick his coverage at least once in the game tomorrow. Texas A&M had a big night returning punts and hopefully Clemson can as well.

Overall, Clemson is simply much more talented in all areas with many more resources and an extensive coaching staff. Unless Clemson comes out flat, makes a ton of mistakes, and SC State gets early points off of these mistakes, this thing should be over very early and all the reserves should see playing time.

I believe the one reserve we'll all be watching for is Chad Kelly. As you all know, he suffered a major knee injury back in the spring. He is considered the third team quarterback and now isn't even listed on the team's injury report. We are skeptical of running players out too early and further complicating already tough injuries. I honestly was hoping that Kelly would sit out all of this season to assure his knee was 100% moving forward. Again I am not a college football coach, trainer, or doctor. The guys close to the situation have to understand it much better than me-I am just a cautious fan who remembers others being rushed back with the end result not being good.

Otherwise, this is a great week for the Clemson defense to get it together. We have clear issues and a D 1-AA team is a good place to work out these kinks. Martavis Bryant absolutely has to get it together and, again, this may be a game that the staff can use to get him on track. Bryant has all the physical skills needed to be a ridiculous receiver...he just has to make plays when the ball comes his way. The only way I see to fix that is keep feeding him the ball (particularly in these types of games) and maybe things will just click.