Final grades following South Carolina’s regular season-ending loss to Clemson on Saturday:


Forgettable outings from fifth-year senior Dylan Thompson and his offensive line damaged the Gamecocks’ hopes to reach seven wins for the seventh straight season. South Carolina was manhandled at the line of scrimmage as Clemson tallied 13 tackles for losses and four sacks, one resulting in a fumble recovery that led to a touchdown in the second quarter. Late in the third quarter, tackle Corey Robinson — a projected mid-round pick — whiffed on consecutive plays with little to no effort, a microcosm of the Gamecocks’ miserable play in the trenches.


It appeared Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris watched tape from South Carolina’s previous loss to Auburn, calling similar quick, jet sweep plays to the edge and freshman Artavis Scott did the rest. The Gamecocks’ defensive line hasn’t sealed the edge all season and the Tigers took advantage. After a highlight-filled first half, Lorenzo Ward’s unit settled down a bit but it wasn’t enough. Clemson freshman running back Wayne Gallman had his way, rushing for a season-best 191 yards.


Elliott Fry made a field goal and missed another, but it was K.J. Brent’s heads up play on a surprise onside kick try in the first quarter that was the afternoon’s best play on special teams for the Gamecocks. With two gunners bearing down on him, Brent called fair catch and after review, South Carolina retained possession despite Clemson’s recovery thanks to a kick-catch interference flag.


A failed 4th-and-1 along with a missed red zone opportunity in the second half makes you scratch your head with South Carolina’s play-calling on offense, a unit that managed just 339 yards against the nation’s top-ranked total defense. The Gamecocks didn’t use a single timeout in the second half and poor clock handling at the end of the second quarter forced South Carolina into a field goal try.


The Gamecocks picked a poor time to post their worst outing of the season since an opening-night loss to Texas A&M, capping a disappointing 2014 campaign at 6-6. That same team from August showed up, the one that was pushed off the field up front and suffered from tackling and speed issues defensively. No improvement over a three-month span. Execution lacked and for the first time since 2008, South Carolina’s staff was out-coached by Dabo Swinney and the Tigers. To Birmingham (or Shreveport) the Gamecocks go.