USC’s win over Clemson Saturday night allowed the Gamecocks to check off two more of their pre-season goals…beat the Tigers for a third straight season for the first time since 1970, and win ten games in a season for just the second time in school history.
A dominant running game and a smothering defense was just the way the Gamecocks have learned to win in the final stages of the season.
Clemson was held to a season’s low 153 yards. Quarterback Tajh Boyd completed just 11-29 passes and was intercepted once. And the Tigers had just 70 rushing yards, the third time in their last four games they have been held under 100 rushing yards. USC also limited the effectiveness of Clemson star freshman receiver who had 4 catches for 39 yards. Coming off a shoulder injury, he was not used in the kick return game.
The Gamecocks finished with 5 sacks and 8 tackles for loss. Melvin Ingram had two sacks and five total tackles.
Offensively, the night belonged to sophomore quarterback Connor Shaw. He passed for 210 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 107 yards and another score.
The Gamecocks had 420 total yards evenly split with 210 passing and 210 rushing. Kenny Miles, a junior who participated in Senior Night honors, came off the bench to replace an ineffective Brandon wilds and rushed for 71 yards on 21 carries, both season highs.
Bruce Ellington had his best night as a Gamecock football player with three catches for 71 yards including a 49 yard touchdown reception. Freshman tight end Rory Anderson also stood out with two catches for 57 yards including an electric 55 yard catch and run that led to his two yard TD catch. And Alshon Jeffery added to his legacy with two more catches for 29 yards and a touchdown.
The Gamecocks now await their bowl destination. The Cotton, Chic-Fil-A, Capital One and Outback all have USC high up on their lists. Bowl assignments will be announced after next week’s league championship games.