First Take: Scouting South Carolina State

Sammy Watkins, Connor Norman

BY AARON BRENNER | abrenner@postandcourier.com
@Aaron_Brenner | Tiger Tracks on Facebook

CLEMSON – Let’s make this quick.

Who: South Carolina State (0-1) at No. 4 Clemson (1-0)

When: Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET

Where: Memorial Stadium (81,500) | Clemson, S.C.

TV: Fox Sports Carolinas

Radio: Clemson Radio Network (WQSC-AM 1340 in Charleston) | Affiliates

Line: Clemson by -52 (no, seriously)

What to know about South Carolina State: It is in the state of South Carolina, oddly enough … NFL Hall of Famers who played at SC State include NY Giants 9-time Pro Bowl linebacker Harry Carson and the late defensive end Deacon Jones, who invented the sack and was 2-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year … 17 starters return from last year’s 5-6 squad … the Bulldogs lost their opener 27-20 to Coastal Carolina … SC State is an FCS member, which is why we include the obligatory reminder eight FCS schools beat an FBS team last weekend, including North Dakota State over reigning Big XII champ Kansas State and Eastern Washington over No. 25-ranked Oregon State.

When last they met: Clemson 54, SC State 0, on Sept. 20, 2008, the last time the Tigers beat somebody by 50-plus (thus justifying the point spread). There actually wasn’t a more impressive individual performance than James Davis’ three rushing touchdowns, so this was my favorite statistic: SC State committed 18 penalties for 134 yards.

SC State actually proceeded to win its next eight games during the first of three MEAC championships. The Bulldogs enjoyed a 23-1 run in conference play, winning or sharing three consecutive MEAC titles from 2008-10, but they’ve taken a step back since then.

All-time series: Clemson leads 1-0.

Which Clemson Tiger is licking his chops: Redshirt freshman quarterback Chad Kelly, because he’s going to play and we’re going to drop our jaws. His new knee must be made of bionic titanium, less than five months after tearing his ACL.

Who’s keeping the Clemson coaches up at night: Ummmm … Jimmy Kimmel? Maybe Conan? Dabo seems like more of a Conan guy. Don’t sleep on the Franco Roast the other night, too. That Aziz Ansari’s quite the character. (If you somehow don’t catch my drift: no SC State players apply.)

Extra point: Clemson is 26-0 against FCS teams. By a 37-7 margin (only once has an FCS squad stayed within single digits by game’s end.) South Carolina State is 0-10 against FBS teams (and no, we’re not counting Georgia State which is still in the transfer process.)

There’s really no reason for concern. Without coming off as cruel, if any Clemson starter is still in the game after halftime, something’s gone seriously wrong.

-AB

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