It was a tough night on the sideline for Clemson coach Dabo Swinney as he watched his Tigers lose to USC 29-7. Swinney becomes the first Clemson coach since Frank Howard in 1968 & 69 to lose two straight years to the Gamecocks. His team finishes the regular season at 6-6, the Tigers’ fewest wins since 2004. And he benched his starting quarterback Kyle Parker midway thru the third quarter after he threw a pass interception that was returned for a touchdown. Parker did not return.
The Tigers will have the chance to finish the season on a winning note. They are bowl eligible. Scouts from the Independence and Chic-Fil-A Bowls were in attendance.
Clemson game notes….
• This was the 108th overall meeting between the Tigers and Gamecocks and 102nd consecutive season with a game. Clemson holds a 65-39-4 record in the all-time series.
• Clemson honored the late Gamecock announcer Bob Fulton before the game with a moment of silence.
• Former Clemson All-American DJ Trahan was honored before the game for his induction into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame. He was unable to attend Hall of Fame day earlier in the season.
• Brandon Maye wore #44 in honor of teammate Scotty Cooper, who was unable to play the 2010 season due to injury. He was credited with eight tackles, his third-highest total of the season.
• Kyle Parker’s first-quarter 45-yard touchdown strike to DeAndre Hopkins was the fourth-longest pass play of the season and the longest reception of Hopkins’ career.
• Hopkins had two catches for 75 yards on the opening drive, and now has Clemson first-year freshman record in receiving yards with 532, as he crossed Roscoe Crosby’s 2001 total of 465 yards on his 45-yard touchdown catch.
• Hopkins finished tonight with seven catches for a career-high 124 yards and a touchdown, his fourth of the season. The 124 yards were the most for any Clemson player this season.
• The four-play, 73-yard drive in 1:50 was the 15th touchdown drive of fewer than two minutes for Clemson in the 2010 season. It was also the 8th time in 12 games the Tigers have scored on the first possession.
• South Carolina’s field goal marked only the fourth time this season the Tiger defense has allowed a score on the opening drive.
• Brandon Thompson blocked a first-quarter extra point attempt by Spencer Lanning, only the fourth time in 78 career attempts that Lanning has missed an extra point. It was Thompson’s first career blocked kick. Thompson also had 2.5 tackles for loss in the game, a career-best.
• Stephen Garcia’s 37-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery on the first play of the second quarter marked the first time in seven games that the Clemson defense has surrendered more than one touchdown since North Carolina scored three on Oct. 9. The six-game streak was the second-longest in Clemson history behind the 1981 team’s seven.
• Corico Hawkins had a career-high 13 tackles in the contest. His previous career-best was nine against North Carolina.
• Clemson failed to register a sack for the first time in 2010, but did have six tackles for loss for a total of (-12) yards.
• Tajh Boyd completed 10-of-18 passes, both career highs. Boyd played all but the first drive of the second half.
• Clemson held South Carolina to 95 yards rushing on 36 carries for a 2.6 ypc average. It was the fourth straight game in which Clemson’s defense held the opponent below 100 yards in a game, and sixth time in the last eight games. It was the third time this season the gamecocks were held below the century mark.
• Roderick McDowell’s 39-yard carry in the fourth quarter was a career-long.
• Marcus Gilchrist had a career-high 165 total all-purpose yards (139 KOR, 26 PR) in the game. The 139 KOR yards were also a personal best.
• Andre Ellington appeared in the game tonight and had one rush for no yards. It was his first appearance since suffering a toe injury in the Boston College game. He will have surgery on his toe injury and will not play in the bowl game.