South Carolina traveled to Clemson to play the Tigers and dominated them, as we noted earlier, en route to winning 29-7.
1st Quarter…Clemson won the coin toss and elected to receive. The Tigers quickly moved the ball down the field and the game looked like it might turn out like many before. Kyle Parker found DeAndre Hopkins for a 45 yard touchdown pass to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead. South Carolina got the ball and appeared to be stopped when a Clemson personal foul kept the drive alive. The Gamecocks were able to cash in with a 46 yard Spencer Lanning field goal. Clemson then went three and out, and then South Carolina went three and out. Clemson again went three downs without a first down and lined up to punt. The snap was wide of the punter and Brian Maddox recovered at the Clemson 5 yard line. The Gamecocks scored quickly when Stephen Garcia found Patrick DiMarco in the flat for the touchdown. Clemson tipped the ensuing extra point to leave the score 9-7. Clemson picked up two first downs before being forced to punt. The Gamecocks took over at their own 15 with 2:38 left in the first quarter. South Carolina moved the ball to the Tiger 37 where they faced 3rd and 3 when the first quarter expired.
2nd Quarter…The Gamecocks came out passing on third and short, and Stephen Garcia found Alshon Jeffrey for the 37 yard touchdown pass to push the lead to 16-7. A good kickoff return and a very questionable personal foul call against South Carolina put the Tigers at the Gamecock 38 to start their drive. Clemson gained one yard before punting. The Gamecocks mixed runs and passes on their next drive as the consumed 72 yards on 10 plays before settling for another Spencer Lanning field goal. The next three possessions of the game ended in anticlimactic punts. South Carolina took over at their own 35 with 1:54 on the clock. They were able to move the ball, but Spencer Lanning's field goal sailed wide left from 49 yards as the half expired.
3rd Quarter…The Gamecocks began the second half by picking up two first downs before being forced to punt. Clemson picked up two first downs of its own before Kyle Parker threw a pass into the flat that was intended for Jamie Harper. Antonio Allen stepped in front of the ball and returned it 37 yards for the touchdown. Spencer Lanning's extra point extended the Gamecock lead to 26-7. Clemson put Tajh Boyd in at quarterback and he led the Tigers on a three and out drive. South Carolina slowed the pace on their next drive and tried to melt the clock. They picked up a first down and then punted the ball down to the Tiger 1 yard line. Clemson's offense continued to go nowhere, and they punted without gaining a first down. South Carolina was in good field position and despite not moving the ball far, Spencer Lanning was able to convert a field goal attempt from 37 yards out to make the score 29-7. Clemson ended the third quarter by going three and out.
4th Quarter…South Carolina tried to run the ball but couldn't get a first down and had to punt. Clemson then put together its best drive of the second half. The Tigers moved the ball from their 16 to the South Carolina 30. Their drive then bogged down, and Tajh Boyd was sacked by Cliff Matthews on fourth down. The Gamecocks continued to try to melt the clock and made a first down before punting. Clemson also made a first down but signaled that they were throwing in the towel when they punted with 3:41 on the clock. The Gamecocks once again couldn't run out the clock and punted. Clemson picked up a first down against USC's prevent defense before Byron Jerideau sacked Boyd to end the game.
Stars of the Game…Alshon Jeffrey…5 receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown…Stephen Garcia…14 of 30 for 227 yards and 2 touchdowns…Antonio Allen…6 tackles, INT return for touchdown, pass break up and QB hurry…Travian Robertson…4 tackles, one for loss, sack, pass break up and fumble recovery…
What to take away from the game…This is a nice win. Every win over Clemson is, but in the scope of the season this probably won't go down as one of the best wins. Clemson isn't a very good football team. Their offense is terrible, and their coaching leaves a lot to be desired. When we look back at this season, I don't think a win over the Tigers will be that important.
BUT, in the scope of the program this was an important win. South Carolina has taken superior teams to Clemson before and lost. When Clemson scored on their first drive I couldn't help but wonder if that might happen again this year. This Gamecock team proved again that they are not like many of the teams of old. They simply took care of business and drubbed the Tigers. When we look back at the rise of the program under Coach Spurrier, we will look at becoming consistently better than Clemson as a key, and we can point to this year's game as the beginning of the change. Last year wasn't a fluke; the Gamecocks are moving ahead of the Tigers.
This and that…South Carolina is now 9-3 (5-3)…South Carolina has won 9 games for the third time in school history…The consecutive wins over Clemson are the first since 1968-1970…USC's 22 point victory is the most against Clemson since 1994's 33-7 win…Time of Possession: SC 34:43, CU 25:17…3rd Down conversions: SC 6 of 18, CU 4 of 15…Total Offense: SC 322 yards, CU 25…The results of Clemson's drives after their first: punt, fumble, punt, punt, punt, punt, end of half, interception, punt, punt, punt, fumble, punt, end of half.
Up next…South Carolina heads over to Atlanta to play Auburn for the SEC Championship. The game will be on CBS at 4 pm. For a video recap of this game, view it on youtube HERE.