The Clemson football team is experiencing something it hasn’t in 40 years…a losing streak to USC. The Tigers have now lost two straight games to the Gamecocks matching the infamous feat of their 1968-69 Tiger cousins who actually were part of a three game losing streak to the Gamecocks.
The 22 point deficit Saturday night is Clemson’s largest in a USC loss since 1994. And the Clemson offense was once again stymied by USC defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson. The Tigers scored just 10 offensive points in 2009, and only seven Saturday night.
Clemson starting quarterback Kyle Parker was benched in the third quarter after his pass intended for Jamie Harper was intercepted by Antonio Allen and returned for a touchdown. Parker, who did not talk with the media after the game, was 7-17 for 117 yards with one early touchdown and the third quarter pick.
Tajh Boyd replaced Parker and finished up. He was 10-18 for 73 yards and was sacked three times.
Freshman receiver DeAndre Hopkins was Clemson’s best offensive weapon against the Gamecocks. He burned their secondary early in the game on a 45 yard touchdown catch. for the night he had 7 catches for 124 yards.
The Clemson defense basically did its job. Considering turnovers led directly to two Gamecock touchdowns, the Tigers held the USC offense at bay most of the night. The Gamecocks’ two longest drives, one of 12 plays and one of 10, only resulted in field goals. The only time the Clemson defense really broke down was late in the first quarter and early second quarter when USC hit two big passes in a five play touchdown drive. The Gamecocks were held to 322 yards and only 95 rushing yards. They did break Clemson’s streak of allowing just one touchdown over six straight games.
In what may have been his final game at Clemson because of a pending decision about entering the NFL Draft, junior defensive end Da’Quan Bowers had just three tackles and zero sacks, only the second time this season he has not sacked the quarterback.
The Tigers are 6-6 and will take some time off from practice until they learn of their bowl destination. They must win the bowl game to avoid their first losing season since 1998.