Rapid Reaction: South Carolina suffers historic defeat against Clemson
So much for the momentum coming into the game, South Carolina let it fritter away thanks to a host of ill-advised penalties and missed assignments that setup another blowout at the hand of Clemson.
The Gamecocks never got on track, and couldn’t slow down Clemson early as the Tigers built a big early lead, then held on with late field goals to coast to a 30-0 victory. It was Clemson’s first shutout of South Carolina since 1989 as Marcus Satterfield’s play calling drew the ire of Gamecock faithful.
The Gamecocks got off to a rough start as Jason Brown was intercepted by Andrew Booth as Clemson got the ball at the South Carolina 13 after he nearly picked off a pass earlier on the same drive.
Brown finished 8-for-19 for 67 yards and 2 picks when he was replaced by backup QB Zeb Noland with 3:22 left in the third quarter.
The Gamecock offense on Noland’s first drive painted a microcosm of the game:
Noland completed an 8-yard pass on first down, but the Gamecocks’ drive went the wrong direction after that.
Second down was an incomplete pass, then on third down, Kevin Harris ran for 9 yards, but a holding penalty made it third and 12, instead of third and 2. That’s when Noland connected with Harris, but he was tackled for a 2-yard loss. On fourth down, the Clemson pass rush collapsed around him, and Noland’s pass went incomplete.
After Clemson built a 17-0 halftime lead, the Tigers sent a clear message coming out of the break: Stop the run, or else. The Gamecocks began with a three-and-out, then Clemson had Shipley run 4 straight times for 29 yards.
The Gamecocks had a rough game from the beginning as they allowed just a field goal early on, but Brown began 1-for-5, and the Gamecocks had just 4 yards. That came after the Gamecocks used a timeout on a punt after they were flagged for a penalty to make it fourth down and 13. Clemson at one point outgained the Gamecocks 169 yds to 12, and that’s about the time it felt like Texas A&M game all over again.
Clemson did it largely behind 2 running backs, Will Shipley and Kobe Pace. At one point, Clemson averaged 10 yards per carry as it pulls away from South Carolina. It was evident early as Shipley should have been stopped for a loss on the second play from scrimmage in the game, but instead went for 13 yards. At halftime, Clemson had 258 yards total offense, including 193 rushing and did it at a clip of 7.7 yards per run Shipley has 86 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown, and Pace had 54 yards on 5 carries and a touchdown.
Shipley became the first Clemson running back since C.J. Spiller 15 years ago to have 3 100-yard rushing games in the same season. But as strong as the Clemson offense was, the defense kept the Gamecocks in check. It limited South Carolina to 75 yards and 3 first downs, including Brown’s 18-yard pass to Jaheim Bell on the final play of the half.
The Gamecocks haven’t beaten Clemson for most of the past decade. South Carolina capped off a five-game win streak against the Tigers in 2013. But since then, Clemson has won the past 7 meetings. The streak most likely would’ve grown last year if COVID-19 not canceled the contest in 2020.
This time, the Gamecocks came in with momentum after they won 3 of the last 5 SEC games, including wins over Florida and Auburn, but couldn’t carry it over in what began as a spirited Williams-Brice Stadium.