CLEMSON — After a quarter century, the annual Clemson-USC Blood Drive is almost as much of a tradition as the football game between the two rivals. This year, students, faculty, staff, alumni and fans of the Tigers and Gamecocks will roll up their sleeves for the blood drive Nov. 16-20.

AnMed Health Blood Center, The Blood Connection in Seneca and the Piedmont Blood Center in Spartanburg will be taking blood donations from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Hendrix Student Center, Tillman Hall, Lever Hall and Holmes Hall, and mobile units will be located on Fernow Street, in front of Vickery Hall and at the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts. All donors will receive a free T-shirt, a coupon for a free Chick-fil-A sandwich and will be entered into drawings for other prizes.

Clemson University’s chapter of Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity sponsors Clemson's blood drive.

“I think it's amazing that for 25 years now, Clemson and USC have been coming together in the spirit of rivalry to help save lives all around our state,” said Rebecca Covington, a senior majoring in biological sciences and chairwoman of the blood drive. “This drive is one of the largest of its kind in the entire nation, and we should all be proud of that.”

The winner of the competition is based upon the number of donors and attempted donors, but Covington said the blood drive is about much more than who wins or loses.

“When the drive first started up, Clemson would collect about 350 units, and now Clemson usually pulls in about 4,000 units. Between the two schools we get about 8,000 total units each year,” she said. “Because each unit of blood can save three lives, we can estimate that about 24,000 South Carolinians benefit from this drive each year.”