Neither team scored on its first possession but there was big news early. Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, who’s been battling a knee injury, did start but took himself out of the game after throwing a rollout pass that Germone Hopper dropped. Watson immediately limped to the sidelined and called for his backup Cole Stoudt. Stoudt couldn’t move the Tigers on his one play and Ammon Lakip was short on a 47 yard field goal attempt.
The Gamecocks took their next possession 70 yards in 8 plays for the game’s first touchdown. Dylan Thompson hit Shaq Roland for 12 yards and Rory Anderson for 24 yards to move the ball to the Clemson 27. Another pass to Roland gained 7, and on the next play Pharoh Cooper, from the Wildcat, scored on a 20 yard run around the right side. USC 7-0.
The Tigers came right back with a 4 play, 80 yard drive. Watson returned to lead the drive and converted a third and 8 with a 25 yard pass to Mike Williams to the Clemson 47. On the next play Watson shoveled a pass to Artavis Scott who came in motion from right to left. Scott easily turned the corner and turned on the jets for a 53 yard touchdown to tie the game. Clemson 7-USC 7.
End of quarter…Clemson 7-USC 7