South Carolina dominates Clemson
South Carolina handed Clemson its most embarrassing loss in years on Saturday, beating the Tigers 29-7 to win two straight in the Palmetto State rivalry for the first time since 1970.
Clemson struck first but failed to score in the final 58 minutes as the Gamecocks capitalized on the Tigers' mistakes to cruise to an easy win.
Two major mishaps by the Clemson offense and special teams helped South Carolina put the Tigers away with relative ease. Matt Skinner snapped the ball over the head of punter Dawson Zimmerman in the first quarter and the Gamecocks recovered the ball at the Clemson five-yard-line.
The ensuing touchdown gave South Carolina a lead they would never relinquish.
With Clemson down 19-7 but still in the game, South Carolina safety Antonio Allen intercepted an ill-advised Kyle Parker pass and returned it for a touchdown to put the game out of reach.
Parker, who was benched after throwing the interception, completed just 7 of 17 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown.
Tajh Boyd replaced Parker and threw for 73 yards on 10-of-18 passing.
The Clemson offense continued to miss the early-season production of Andre Ellington, as Jamie Harper carried the ball 16 times for just 58 yards. Dabo Swinney even gave the injured Ellington a couple of carries, but he failed to produce any spark.
Nuke Hopkins was the only bright spot for the Tigers' offense, catching seven passes for 124 yards and scoring Clemson's only touchdown just 1:50 into the game.
The Clemson defense didn't play poorly, but they allowed South Carolina's best player, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, to beat them down the field time and time again. The sophomore had five catches for 141 yards and a touchdown.
Gamecock quarterback Stephen Garcia threw for 227 yards and two scores on 14-of-30 passing.
The one bright spot for the Clemson defense was that they held South Carolina freshman running back Marcus Lattimore to just 48 yards on 23 carries and his worst yards per carry average of the season (2.1 ypc).
The loss was Clemson's largest margin of defeat at home since 2003, and the 6-6 finish is its worst since 1999.