CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Dabo Swinney won't let No. 4 Clemson let down against FCS opponent South Carolina State, not with how far the Tigers have come in the past two seasons.
After the Tigers' 38-35 victory over No. 11 Georgia last week, the college football world is watching to see if Clemson will do what it's done several times the past decade — stumble on the road to a bigger things.
That's not likely to happen Saturday when the Tigers (1-0) take on the Bulldogs (0-1) of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Clemson is 26-0 all-time against teams of the old Division I-AA, including a 54-0 victory over South Carolina State in the teams' only other meeting in 2008.
Yet, with Clemson's history of missteps, the questions get asked, even after the Tigers became the first non-Southeastern Conference program to post consecutive victories over top-10 opponents from the league in LSU and Georgia.
Swinney said his program has grown in every facet, including consistency to play and achieve against the best teams in the country.
"At some point, people need to recognize that these players have played at a very high level very consistently," the coach said. "No, we haven't won them all and people aren't going to happy until you win them all. But these players have achieved a lot of things and I think they should be complemented for it. Again, I just get tired of that story line."
The only way Clemson can rewrite its tale is to take care of business in games it's favored to win like this one. The Tigers probably won't be tested again until Oct. 19 when No. 10 Florida State comes to campus.
Swinney spent some time reminding players that several Football Bowl Championship programs like Kansas State and Oregon State have already had season's upended by losses to FCS schools.
Quarterback Tajh Boyd, who passed for three touchdowns and rushed for two others against Georgia, says Clemson has to play to standard that does not falter simply because the competition level may not be the same.
The intensity "has to be same or even that much more," Boyd said about South Carolina State. "If you look at it and gauge games off of your opponent, then you're not becoming that consistent team you want to be."
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