The typical festive atmosphere provided by the home fans for the annual Palmetto Bowl was noticeably absent from Williams-Brice Stadium Saturday. Perhaps, like the naughty student headed to the principal’s office, Gamecock fans knew what was coming. It was just a matter of how bad the whipping would be. As it turned out, it was bad, again. Clemson made it six wins in a row over USC with their 38-3 victory in front of an announced sellout crowd of 80,580. The Tigers did whatever they pleased on offense in extending their nation’s best winning streak to 27 games. They will now move on to face Virginia in the ACC Championship Game next Saturday in Charlotte. The Gamecocks finish their season at 4-8, their worst record since the 3-9 mark of 2015.
Here’s my RECAP from Williams-Brice
Key points in Clemson’s win over USC
- Trevor Lawrence was at his surgical best completing 26-36 for 295 yards and 3 touchdowns. In one stretch, he completed 18 straight passes, setting a school record and tieing the ACC record.
- Lawrence also was the game’s leading rusher with a career high 66 yards.
- In two games against USC, Lawrence has thrown for 688 yards, the most by a quarterback in a two game span in the rivalry’s history.
- Justyn Ross was Lawrence’s favorite target with 9 catches on 11 targets for 111 yards and 1 touchdown.
- Tee Higgins had just 3 catches but they went for 101 yards and 2 touchdowns.
- Travis Etienne rushed for two touchdowns breaking the ACC mark for touchdowns at 57 and rushing touchdowns at 53.
- Clemson finished with 527 yards, including 14 chunk plays, and was 12-17 on third down.
- Isaiah Simmons led the Clemson defense with 10 tackles, 2 tackles for loss and 1 sack.
- There were few defensive highlights for the Gamecocks. They did come up with a goal line stand on Clemson’s first possession stopping Travis Etienne at the one, but that just delayed the inevitable.
- Ryan Hilinski was intercepted by Derion Kendrick four plays later and that led to Clemson’s first touchdown as the Tigers scored 31 points over their six possessions following the turnover.
- USC’s offense was so bottled up all afternoon, the Gamecocks had just 3 chunk plays, passes of 21 and 30 yards and a run of 18 yards. They finished with 174 total yards, the fewest of Will Muschamp’s four seasons in Columbia.
- The Gamecocks had six possessions that were three and out. They looked their best on a 15 play, 76 yard drive that ended with a field goal after offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon called a running play on third and nine from the Clemson 24 that gained three yards.
- Outside of that long possession, the Gamecocks ran just 38 plays and gained 98 yards.
- The Gamecocks finished their season scoring one touchdown over their final 12 quarters.
- Jammie Robinson led the Gamecock defense with 11 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.
- FINAL STATS