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South Carolina vs. Clemson Prediction: Tigers Look to Extend Winning Streaks at Home and Against Gamecocks

South Carolina riding high after last week's upset of Tennessee but Clemson has defeated Gamecocks seven straight times.

The Palmetto Bowl returns to Memorial Stadium for the first time in four seasons when the Clemson Tigers host their annual end-of-season clash with the South Carolina Gamecocks. Both the Gamecocks and Tigers are coming off dominant Senior Day wins at home and looking to continue riding high going into the postseason.

Related: College Football Predictions for Every Game in Week 13

The Gamecocks (7-4 overall) have posted a 3-2 record in their last five games, alternating wins and losses coming out of the Week 7 bye. But last week offered quite the climb in momentum, a resounding 63-38 win over then-No. 5 Tennessee to all but knock the Volunteers out of the College Football Playoff picture.

That win also cemented a winning season for South Carolina for the second time in as many years, and it joined Shane Beamer with Steve Spurrier as the only coaches in school history to win at least seven games in each of their first two seasons.

Consistent success has been much more of a theme for the Tigers as of late, with Clemson clinching its 12th consecutive 10-win season with its victory over Miami last weekend. The Tigers' lone loss came in a 35-14 thumping on the road at Notre Dame, an outcome that looks better considering the Fighting Irish's late-season surge. Additionally, Clemson is aiming for its 41st straight victory in Memorial Stadium, which would extend its ACC record and cap a sixth consecutive season of going undefeated at home.

The Tigers also have won seven straight against South Carolina, a stretch that goes back to 2014 (this game wasn't played in 2020 due to COVID-related scheduling restrictions). Clemson has scored at least 30 points in each victory during this streak and has outscored the Gamecocks a combined 68-3 in the last two meetings, both taking place in Columbia.

South Carolina at No. 8 Clemson

Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 26 at 12 p.m. ET
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Spread: Clemson -14.5
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When South Carolina Has the Ball

Simply put, the Gamecocks' offense has been on both sides of the scoring spectrum this season. In their seven wins, South Carolina has averaged more than 42 points per game, eclipsing 50 points three times while being held under 30 just once. But across their four losses, the Gamecocks have totaled just 53 points, with 30 of those coming in a Week 2 loss at Arkansas.

But South Carolina eliminated any concerns about a slow start in last week's win against Tennessee, scoring on each of its five first-half drives (excluding the one-play drive to end the half) to jump out to a 21-7 lead after the first quarter and a 35-24 edge at halftime. Four of those five scores came via the arm of Spencer Rattler, who threw nearly as many touchdowns in the game (a career-high six) as incompletions (seven). Rattler also posted personal bests in completions (30) and yards (438), with his six touchdowns finding four different receivers.

Antwane "Juice" Wells Jr. led all receivers with 11 catches for 177 yards, while Josh Vann and Jaheim Bell each caught two touchdown passes. Rattler's other scoring strikes went to Jalen Brooks and JuJu McDowell. The Volunteers also struggled to slow down the Gamecocks' run game with Bell leading the way (82 rushing yards) and Dakereon Joyner adding a pair of rushing touchdowns. Wells also found the end zone on his lone carry, a three-yard score.

Clemson's defense has been one of the best in the FBS this season in slowing down opponents on the ground. Despite subpar showings against Notre Dame and Louisville, the Tigers have allowed 104.2 rushing yards per game — the 12th-best mark in the nation — boosted by last week's strong effort against Miami when they yielded just 30 yards on the ground. Clemson also leads the ACC and sits eighth in the FBS in tackles for a loss with 7.8 per game.

When Clemson Has the Ball

Shifting gears to the Tigers' offense, Clemson scored at least 30 points in each of its first seven games but has eclipsed that bar just twice in the last month. Last week's 40 points in the win over Miami brought back a bit of the early-season flow as it was the first time with that many since defeating Wake Forest 51-45 in overtime on the road back on Sept. 24.

In the rout of the Hurricanes, quarterback DJ Uiagalelei guided the Tigers to touchdowns on each of their first two drives and three of their first four. He connected with tight ends Davis Allen and Luke Price for touchdowns while adding his sixth rushing touchdown of the season.

Uiagalelei also led the team in rushing with 89 yards with Will Shipley not too far behind (63 yds., TD). Shipley is just 40 yards shy of 1,000 for the season, and he was recently named a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award, which is given annually to the nation's most versatile player. Shipley enters Week 13 second in the ACC averaging 125.2 all-purpose yards per game.

Uiagalelei, Shipley, and the rest of the offense will need to keep the momentum going against a South Carolina defense that has collected 11 interceptions, second in the SEC behind only Mississippi State (14). But where the Gamecocks have struggled mightily is in making plays behind the line of scrimmage, sitting in the bottom 25 nationally in both sacks and tackles for a loss entering the final week of the regular season.

Final Analysis

A fast start was critical for South Carolina against Tennessee, and more of the same will be necessary for the Gamecocks to have much of a chance as they take on their second top-10 opponent in as many weeks and look to win consecutive games against ranked opponents for the first time since 2013. That set included a win over then-No. 6 Clemson, which also happens to be the last time that South Carolina won in this rivalry. But the Tigers have since won seven in a row over the Gamecocks and have been unbeatable at home for six years running now, so expect both of these streaks to continue. Although don't be surprised if South Carolina keeps things more interesting than what the oddsmakers are predicting.

Prediction: Clemson 34, South Carolina 29

Podcast: Week 13 Preview, Predictions, Picks Against the Spread, Breakdown of the Latest CFB Playoff Rankings, and Coaching News and Rumors

— Written by Juan Jose Rodriguez, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a 2019 graduate of the University of Notre Dame. Rodriguez was an intern for Athlon during summer 2017 and worked for a variety of media outlets on campus, including as the editor-in-chief of Scholastic Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @JuanJoseRG02.

*Price as of publication.