CLEMSON, S.C. — Tajh Boyd continued to make his case for being part of the Heisman Trophy conversation Saturday night against South Carolina.
The Clemson quarterback has torched Atlantic Coast Conference defenses all season, and against North Carolina State he accounted for eight touchdowns (five passing, three rushing) and 529 yards of total offense.
In the first half against the Gamecocks, Boyd had one touchdown rushing and one touchdown passing. He led the Tigers on a 16-play, 85-yard drive for the game’s first score, and it was Boyd who found the end zone on a 3-yard run.
After South Carolina tied the game at 7, Boyd did what he has done best this season. He led Clemson to the end zone in a hurry, finding DeAndre Hopkins for a 43-yard touchdown pass to cap a two-play, 24-second drive.
Boyd had an interception late in the first half when he was hit while throwing. DeVonte Holloman had the pick for the Gamecocks.
NO CLOWNING AROUND: A week after sitting out against Wofford, Jadeveon Clowney returned to action for South Carolina in a big way.
The sophomore harassed Clemson’s offense throughout the first half, accounting for 11/2 sacks and four tackles.
Clowney sacked Boyd early in the third quarter to give him his 11th sack of the season, a school record for a single season.
Clowney is a finalist for the Bednarik, Lombardi and Nagurski awards that honor the nation’s top defensive player.
GROUND STRUGGLES: With all-star running back Marcus Lattimore sidelined by a knee injury, South Carolina’s rushing attack has struggled.
The Gamecocks put up just 24 yards on the ground in the first half against Clemson. The Tigers, meanwhile, rushed for 106.
Kenny Miles led the Gamecocks with 11 rushes for 23 yards. With starting quarterback Connor Shaw out with a foot injury, Dylan Thompson only rushed for 1 yard thanks to a pair of sacks.
AT THE POLLS: The Clemson-South Carolina series is the second longest uninterrupted series in the nation at 104 games, dating back to 1909.
The two rivals first met in 1896 and trail only the Minnesota-Wisconsin series, which is at 106.
The Palmetto State Showdown, though, has often lacked national attention because both schools have rarely been decent at the same time.
Saturday night’s game marked only the sixth time the Tigers and Gamecocks have met with both ranked in one of the major polls. South Carolina won the first matchup involving ranked teams in 1979.