Dylan Thompson started at QB for USC though Connor Shaw was dressed. Shaw saw limited snaps in practice during the week because of his foot injury.
USC forced a Clemson punt on the first possession and Ace Sanders took it back 30 yards to set up the Gamecocks at the Clemson 44. They reached the 28 but on third down Thompson was sacked and the Gamecocks punted.
The Tigers then went on the first scoring drive of the game of 85 yards in 16 plays using 6:14 off the clock. Tajh Boyd capped the drive with a three yard run on the option keeper to the right. The Tigers were 4-4 on third downs on the drive including converting a third and 15 with a 22 yard pass to Adam Humphries. Clemson 7-0.
The Gamecocks answered with their own long drive of 63 yards in 7 plays. Thompson connected with Bruce Ellington on a 13 yard scoring pass in the left size of the end zone. Thompson was 4-4 passing on the drive for 56 yards. It was Thompson’s first touchdown pass since the UAB game. Clemson 7-USC 7.
It took Clemson all of two plays to strike again. Rod McDowell broke off a 32 yard run on the first play of the drive. On the second play, Boyd hit Nuke Hopkins with a 43 yard touchdown pass. Hopkins 0utfought Akeem Auguste for the ball as they tumbled into the end zone. Clemson 14-7.
End of quarter…Clemson 14-USC 7.