USC continued its recent domination of Clemson Saturday night in Columbia with a 31-17 victory, their fifth straight in the series. The Gamecocks scored a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to break open a close game to earn their 10th win of the season. Clemson also finishes the regular season at 10-2.
Kevin McCrarey joined me after the game to analyze all that played out before us at Williams-Brice Stadium.
USC post game notes:
- No. 10/9 South Carolina’s 31-17 victory over No. 6/4 Clemson extends the Gamecocks’ winning streak to five games over the Tigers, their longest in the 111-year history of the Palmetto State rivalry. South Carolina has won all five contests in the stretch by double digits.
- The win also increases the South Carolina home winning streak to 18, extending its school record. The streak is the longest current home winning streak in the country.
- After tonight’s victory, the Gamecocks have won 41 games in the last four years, extending the school record. After logging 10 wins just once in school history prior to the 2011 season (1984), the Gamecocks have now posted a 10-win season for the third-straight year.
- South Carolina has won 14-straight games against non-conference foes.
- Tonight’s announced attendance of 84,174 is a season high and the seventh-highest total all time.
- South Carolina has scored 62 points off turnovers while allowing none for Clemson in the last five years.
- Senior quarterback Connor Shaw earned his school-record 26th career victory as the starting quarterback for the Garnet & Black. Shaw is 26-5 as a starter and is 17-0 in his starts at Williams-Brice Stadium. Shaw is now fifth in school history in career pass completions with 458 after going 14-for-26 tonight.
- The Gamecocks’ first drive and score of the night was 17 plays, the longest scoring drive by plays of the season and the fourth-most by plays in the Steve Spurrier era.
- Freshman wide receiver Pharoh Cooper completed the first touchdown pass of his career to sophomore tailback Brandon Wilds in the fourth quarter.
- With his four receptions on the night, junior wide receiver Bruce Ellington became the 14th Gamecock in school history to log 100 receptions in his career.
- With his fourth-quarter touchdown, sophomore tailback Mike Davis tallied his 11th touchdown of the season, tying him with Derek Watson (2000) and Marcus Lattimore (2012) for the sixth-most in a season at South Carolina.
- Junior fullback Connor McLaurin’s 15-yard reception for a first down in the first quarter was his first career reception.
- Junior defensive end Jadeveon Clowney moved into third place in school history with 24.0 career sacks after recording one in tonight’s contest.
- Junior defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles set a new career high with 2.5 sacks on the night.
- Sophomore linebacker Kaiwan Lewis recorded the first sack and the first forced fumble of his career.
- The Gamecocks had three interceptions in the contest, a total also recorded at UCF and vs. Mississippi State earlier this season. Junior strong safety Brison Williams nabbed the first of the night for his third career interception. Fourth-quarter interceptions were hauled in by freshman linebacker Skai Moore, the second of his career, and by redshirt freshman linebacker T.J. Holloman, the third of his career.
- Senior defensive end Chaz Sutton forced a fumble in the fourth quarter and collected the fumble recovery. It was his fourth career forced fumble and the first fumble recovery of his career.
- Freshman wide receiver Pharoh Cooper rattled off a 55-yard kickoff return to start the second half for the Gamecocks’ longest kick return of the season. Cooper had 80 return yards on two kick returns and 98 total all-purpose yards.
- South Carolina recovered fumbles on two punt returns. Freshman linebacker Skai Moore recovered the muffed punt at the end of the first quarter for his first career fumble recovery. Freshman wide receiver Kwinton Smith collected a fumbled punt in the fourth quarter for the first of his career.
- Freshman placekicker Elliot Fry improved to 15-of-18 on the year with his 21-yard field goal in the second quarter.
Clemson Team Notes
*Tonight’s game was the 10th meeting of top 10 teams in the FBS this year and Clemson played in three of the 10. The other two were against Georgia in the season opener and Florida State at Clemson.
*Clemson finishes the regular season with a 10-2 record. It is just the fifth time Clemson has won at least 10 games in the regular season. Dabo Swinney has been the coach for two of the five.
*Clemson and South Carolina were tied going into the fourth quarter at 17-17 tonight. It was just the fourth time in the last 37 years the two teams were tied going into the fourth period. The other years were 1993, 2005 and 2006. The two teams are tied 2-2 in those games. Clemson won in 1993 and 2005 and South Carolina won in 2006 and 2013.
*Clemson outgained South Carolina this evening 352-318. Clemson was 9-0 this year when winning the total offense margin, and had won 29 in a row dating to the 2010 loss to South Florida in the Meinke Car Care Bowl. Dabo Swinney is now 45-4 when winning the total offense statistic.
*Clemson finishes the regular season with a 10-2 record. The Tigers committed 10 turnovers in the two games they lost and just 12 in the 10 games they won. Clemson was outscored 45-0 in those two games in terms of points off turnovers and won that statistic 101-12 in the 10 games Clemson won.
*Clemson committed six turnovers tonight, most by the Tigers since they had six in a loss to Miami (FL) in 2010. The only game in history Clemson has committed more turnovers against South Carolina took place in 1945 when the Tigers had eight in a 0-0 tie.
*Clemson held South Carolina running back Mike Davis to 22 yards rushing in 15 attempts. Davis entered the game averaging 111 yards per game on the ground, and this was the fewest yards he has gained in a game this year. He previous low was 51 yards in 19 attempts against Missouri. Clemson’s rushing defense was one of just three teams this year to hold Boston College running back Andre Williams to 70 yards or less this year.
*Rod McDowell had 14 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown tonight. He is the first Clemson running back to gain at least 100 yards rushing against South Carolina since 2007 when James Davis had 22-122 in a Clemson 23-21 win over the Gamecocks in 2007. Davis’s brother, Mike Davis, started at running back tonight for the Gamecocks.
*McDowell needs just 44 yards in the bowl game to reach 1000 yards for the season.
*Sammy Watkins had seven receptions for 93 yards this evening. He now has 85 catches for the year and needs just four more in the bowl game to break Aaron Kelly’s record for receptions in a season. Kelly had 88 in 2007.
*Watkins has 224 career receptions and will need nine catches in a bowl game to break Kelly’s career record of 232 set between 2005-08.
*Watkins moved into the top five in ACC history in career reception yardage tonight. The junior had 93 reception yards tonight and now has 3,164. He moved ahead of former NC State player Jericho Cotchery, who had 3,119 for the Pack between 2000-03.
*Watkins had 172 all-purpose yards tonight and now has 4861 for his career, 16th in ACC history. He needs just 139 in the bowl game to become the 10th player in ACC history to reach 5000 yards in a career.
*Vic Beasley had two sacks this evening, his 11th and 12th of the season. He also caused a fumble, the fourth time this year he has caused a fumble on a sack. He is just the fourth player in Clemson history to record at least 12 sacks in a season. The others are Keith Adams, Da’Quan Bowers and Gaines Adams.
*Tajh Boyd completed 19-27 passes for 225 yards this evening, but was held without a touchdown pass for just the second time all year. He did not thrown one in limited playing time earlier this year against South Carolina State.
*Boyd did rush for a touchdown this evening, the 25th of his career. He now has an ACC record 127 touchdowns in terms of touchdown responsibility. He has 38 total touchdowns rushing and passing this season.
*Chandler Catanzaro scored five points on a field goal and two extra points. He now has exactly 400 points for his Clemson career. He is one of just two players in ACC history to score 400 points. He has now made 39 of his last 41 field goals dating to the 2011 season.
*Bradley Pinion had his first touchback of the season tonight. He had 23 punts inside the 20 without a touchback prior to tonight. He enters the bowl game needing two punts inside the 20 to set the school record.