South Carolina native Jordan McFadden is ready for the rivalry game against the University of South Carolina Gamecocks.
Undefeated against the Gamecocks since he started playing for the Tigers in 2018, the senior left tackle spoke about the matchup to the media on Monday.
When head coach Dabo Swinney called the rivalry game “a season of its own,” McFadden couldn’t help but agree.
“It’s South Carolina — you want to play your best against them,” he said.
Originally from Spartanburg, South Carolina, McFadden is not only prepared but also looking forward to the rivalry game, saying, “It’s a lot of fun to have some smack talk back and forth.”
A two-time recipient of the ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week award this year, McFadden knows not to let his guard down against the Gamecocks, especially on the heels of South Carolina’s unexpected 63-38 victory over then-No. 5 ranked Tennessee.
“As transparent as possible, I was a little bit surprised,” McFadden said of the Gamecock’s win. “But as we know, that’s college football for you. Anything can happen on any given day.”
If McFadden’s previous performances this season are any indicator of what is to come against South Carolina, the offensive line should expect to lean to the left, as offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter loves to run plays down the left side to allow McFadden to foil any opposing defensive action.
Against Miami, McFadden played 78 snaps to help the Tigers gain a total of 447 yards, 207 of which came on the ground. Additionally, McFadden’s blocking helped Clemson convert 14 of 19 third-down attempts.
Although the Tigers had their way with the Hurricanes, the 6-foot-2, 305-pound graduate added that South Carolina’s defensive front “is definitely going to be a challenge.”
“They’re long. Jordan Burch is a tall, long guy and he’s quick. Zacch Pickens is a big strong dude as well. Both were highly-recruited guys and are great players,” McFadden stated. “We have to have a plan for those guys across the d-line and try to slow them down as much as we can.”
Still, McFadden is confident in the Tigers’ ability to win their eighth straight game against South Carolina this Saturday, especially with the help of third-year quarterback DJ Uiagalelei.
Despite the criticism the third-year signal-caller has faced this season, McFadden said Uiagalelei is one of the best teammates he’s ever played with.
“From the outside looking in, it’s easy to blame the quarterback,” McFadden said. “When things go wrong, he (Uiagalelei) takes a lot of that. For him to still be supportive and want to see us succeed and not let that get to him, it speaks volumes.”
To prepare for the rivalry game, McFadden is looking forward to celebrating his South Carolina roots by spending Thanksgiving with his family. However, he will be cautious with his meal selections.
“Being an offensive lineman, I want to eat as much food as possible. So, it’s kind of tough keeping a balance between eating whatever I want and realizing you got to go play on Saturday.”
The Tigers will kick off against the Gamecocks at noon EST on Saturday in Memorial Stadium, with McFadden expecting “an awesome atmosphere” in his final game against the Gamecocks.