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November 12, 2001

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The 22nd-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks (7-3/5-3 SEC) close out their 2001 regular season by hosting their instate rival, the Clemson Tigers (5-4/3-4 ACC), Saturday, Nov. 17 at Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250). Kickoff for this televised contest (Jefferson-Pilot Sports) will be 12:37 p.m. The game is a complete sellout. It will be Senior Day for the Gamecock team.

A CLOSER LOOK

South Carolina finds itself in virtually the same position it was a year ago. The Gamecocks enter their final regular season game with an overall record of 7-3 and finished with an SEC mark of 5-3. In 2000, Carolina took the same exact records to Clemson, with the Tigers pulling out a 16-14 victory.

This will be the 99th meeting between the two schools, with the rivalry considered one of the most fierce in all of college football.

JP Sports will show the game throughout the state of South Carolina and surrounding markets. Bill Rosinski (play-by-play), Jim Szoke (color analyst) and Warren Peper (sideline reporter) will handle the broadcast. The game will be carried in South Carolina on WIS (Columbia), WCSC (Charleston), WBSC (Greenville/Spartanburg) and WWMB (Florence). The game will also go to stations in Charlotte (WAXN) and Augusta (WRDW).

USC is ranked in the nation’s top 25 for the 12th straight week, which is the longest consecutive period a Gamecock squad has been nationally ranked and ties for the most poll appearances in one season by a Carolina team. The 1980 Gamecocks were also ranked 12 times (not consecutively) during that season. Carolina enters the Clemson contest ranked 22nd in both major polls. Here’s a look at Carolina’s poll history thus far this season:

* 11/11 – 22nd AP/22nd USA Today/ESPN

* 11/4 – 14th AP/15th USA Today/ESPN

* 10/28 – 17th AP/20th USA Today/ESPN

* 10/21 – 12th AP/14th USA Today/ESPN

* 10/14 – 16th AP/USA Today/ESPN

* 10/7 – 9th AP/9th USA Today/ESPN

* 9/30 – 13th AP/12th USA Today/ESPN

* 9/23 – 15th AP/16th USA Today/ESPN

* 9/16 – 18th AP/20th USA Today/ESPN

* 9/9 – 18th AP/20th USA Today/ESPN

* 9/2 – 21st AP/21st USA Today/ESPN

* Preseason – 23rd AP/22nd USA Today/ESPN

The Gamecocks were ranked for 11 straight weeks in 1988, before falling out of the polls the second week of November. USC’s ranking of #9 in the Oct. 7 AP poll this season was the school’s highest ranking in that wire service poll since Oct. 11, 1988 when USC was ranked 8th in the nation. The Gamecocks were also ranked as high as 8th by AP in 1987. The 1984 club was ranked second nationally (11/13/84), which is an all-time best for the program.

USC was nationally ranked eight times during the 2000 season, the highest ranking coming at #17 the week of Oct. 22. Carolina was ranked 19th in the season-ending AP poll.

A USC victory over Clemson would give the Gamecocks back-to-back eight win seasons for only the third time in school history. Carolina also won eight games in consecutive seasons in 1979-80 and in 1987-88. USC won eight games in two other seasons – 1903 and 2000. A Gamecock team has never finished a season with nine victories. The school record for most wins in a season is 10 in 1984.

According to the NCAA Record Book, the USC-Clemson rivalry is the 14th most-often played series and at 93 straight games, is the third longest active series in college football. The only ones longer are Kansas vs. Nebraska and Minnesota vs. Wisconsin. Since 1896, the two teams have met every year except in 1901 and 1903-08.

In a storied and colorful rivalry that dates back to 1896, Clemson leads the series 59-35-4. At Columbia, Clemson holds a 46-28-3 advantage. The first 57 games of the series were played in Columbia and were referred to as “Big Thursday.” Up until 1960, the Carolina-Clemson game was played during the South Carolina State Fair in Columbia in October. That season, the series first moved to Clemson and has ben a home and home affair ever since.

Clemson has won the last four meetings – 48-21 in 1997, 28-19 in 1998, 31-21 in 1999, and 16-14 in 2000.

The Tigers have won the last six meetings in Columbia. USC’s last victory over Clemson came in 1987, when the 12th ranked Gamecocks knocked off the ninth-ranked Tigers 20-7.

This game marks the seventh time USC has been nationally ranked going into the Clemson game. The Gamecocks are 3-3 vs. the Tigers when nationally ranked.

USC’s last victory over the Tigers came in 1996 at Death Valley, as Duce Staley and Troy Hambrick, who both are now in the NFL (Staley with Philadelphia and Hambrick with Dallas), both went over the 100-yard rushing mark to lead the visitors.

Carolina’s last win over Clemson in Columbia was on Nov. 21, 1987, with USC claiming a 20-7 triumph. USC featured All-America wingback Sterling Sharpe, All-America free safety Brad Edwards, All-America nose tackle Roy Hart, standout tailback Harold Green, and record-setting quarterback Todd Ellis. The goal posts at Williams-Brice Stadium came down after that victory.

The Last Meeting: 11/18/00, CU 16, USC 14 @ Clemson … USC’s regular season came to a close with a heartbreaking 16-14 last-second loss to Clemson before 85,500 fans at Memorial Stadium. Derek Watson paced the Gamecock offensive attack with a 25-carry, 150-yard performance. The 25 carries were the most rushing attempts by a Gamecock in 2000. Watson also broke the 1,000-yard mark on the season with his 61-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Phil Petty completed 13 of 26 passes for 200 yards, but threw three interceptions. Jermale Kelly led the USC receiving corps with four catches for 86 yards, while Brian Scott had three grabs for 46 yards. Ryan Brewer tallied 68 all-purpose yards. The Carolina defense held the Tigers to just one touchdown and Cleveland Pinkney picked off a Woodrow Dantzler pass in the second quarter, ending a Clemson scoring threat. Clemson was clinging to a 13-7 lead late in the fourth quarter, when USC tight end Tommy Hill fell on a Derek Watson fumble in the end zone for a touchdown with 59 seconds remaining. The extra point was good and USC led 14-13. Clemson came right back down the field and on a third and 12 play from Clemson’s own 42-yard line, Dantzler connected with Rod Gardner down the far sideline for a 51-yard completion to set up Aaron Hunt’s game-winning 25-yard field goal with just three seconds left to break the Gamecocks’ hearts. USC finished the regular season 7-4 but would go on to defeat Ohio State in the Outback Bowl to end the year with an 8-4 mark. Clemson took a 9-2 record into the Gator Bowl, where the Tigers lost to Virginia Tech.

The Last Meeting in Columbia, 11/20/99, CU 31, USC 21 … South Carolina’s attempt to break into the winning column and snap a 20-game losing streak came up short against arch-rival Clemson, 31-21, before 83,523 at Williams-Brice Stadium. USC went up 6-0 on a pair of Steve Florio field goals, but the Tigers struck for two quick touchdowns in the second period to take the lead 14-6. USC’s Andrew Pinnock scored on a four-yard run, but the two-point conversion attempt was unsucessful. Clemson tacked on a 24 yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter and the Tigers took a 17-12 lead into the locker room. Travis Zachery scored on a four-yard run for Clemson in the third quarter and the Tigers led 24-12 after three quarters. Pinnock scored again on a 14-yard run and Florio hit a 29-yard field goal, as USC closed the gap to 24-21. Rod Gardner broke free for a 29-yard touchdown pass from Woodrow Dantzler with 6:41 remaining and the Tigers had earned a 31-21 victory.

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