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Will Muschamp knows the odds are stacked against his South Carolina football team when it plays host to defending national champion and No. 3 Clemson on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia.
The Gamecocks are 4-7 and about to close out what has been a disappointing season, while Clemson is 11-0 and looking to secure a berth in the College Football Playoff.
So what does the fourth-year USC head coach think has to happen for his team to come away with a victory as a 27-point underdog?
"You know, obviously, we've been inconsistent in all three areas, in offense, defense and special teams," Muschamp said at his Tuesday press conference. "And we need to form some sort of consistency. Obviously, the formula for us is being able to run the football, being able to create some shots down the field, be opportunistic defensively.
"We haven't stopped the run versus these guys in three years. We've got to stay away from explosive plays, and when we have opportunities on third down, we've got to get off the field.
"Create some field position on special teams, as far as in the return game, and doing a good job with our coverage units, 'cause they got some really good skill guys returning kickoffs and returning punts. And those situations. But that's, with our football team, that's who we are right now."
Carolina is hoping it can duplicate the performance it had earlier this season when it went into Athens, Georgia, and handed No. 4 Georgia its only loss of the season. If it is to do so, Muschamp said it has to be a total team effort.
"Well, I think it's a combination of coaching well too," said Muschamp, whose team beat the Bulldogs 20-17 in overtime. "It's not all on the players. We've got to do a good job of getting our guys ready to play, coaching our guys. Ain't nobody around here trying to make excuses. We need to do a better job on our end, starting with me.
"So that's it, but that's a good example of when we do coach and prepare the right way, and go and execute against a really good football team, then good things can happen."
The Gamecocks look as though they will put the healthiest team on the field against Clemson as they have in the last few games.
Running back Tavien Feaster, who was part of Clemson's national championship team last year before coming to USC as a graduate transfer, and fellow running back Mon Denson are healthy. Also, Muschamp said that leading wide receiver Bryan Edwards, who missed the Texas A&M game two weeks ago, will be available as will backup wide receiver OrTre Smith.
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