Gamecocks' defense smothers Tigers

South Carolina 34, Clemson 13

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COLUMBIA — South Carolina’s defense came to play Saturday night against Clemson.

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South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery pulls in a touchdown in front of Clemson's Coty Sensabaugh.   Associated Press
Associated Press
South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery pulls in a touchdown in front of Clemson's Coty Sensabaugh.

That was no surprise, given the fact that the No. 14 Gamecocks relied on the unit all year to come up with big plays and preserve several close wins.

But the Gamecocks’ offense showed up too, and the result was a convincing 34-13 victory over the rival Tigers in front of 83,422 fans at Williams-Brice Stadium.

The victory was a milestone on two counts for South Carolina: it gave the Gamecocks their second 10-win season in school history, and the third consecutive win over the Tigers was their first such streak since 1968-70.

“Ten wins is special. It’s neat to beat Clemson because they’ve historically owned us,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. “They don’t own us right now, that’s for sure.”

South Carolina held 18th-ranked Clemson’s high-flying attack in check, allowing the Tigers only 153 total yards. It was Clemson’s lowest point total of the season.

The Gamecocks’ defensive line pressured Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd all night, and held him to 11 of 30 for just 83 yards.

South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw enjoyed the finest game of his career as he threw three touchdown passes and rushed for another. Shaw finished with 107 yards rushing and threw for 210 yards.

The 109th meeting between the two schools was one of the most anticipated games in the history of the rivarly. The combined 18 wins was the most in series history, and it was just the fourth time both came into the game ranked in the national polls.

Clemson (9-3) started the season 8-0 and rose as high as No. 5 in the BCS standings, but sputtered in its final four games. It lost three of its last four games, but will still play in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game on Saturday against Virginia Tech.

South Carolina entered the year with lofty expectations, but a home loss to Auburn and the dismissal of quarterback Stephen Garcia provided some bumps. Still, the Gamecocks (10-2) completed their best Southeastern Conference campaign with a 6-2 mark and will have a shot to win a school-record 11th contest in its bowl game.

The Gamecocks padded a slim halftime lead when Shaw found Rory Anderson on a 55-yard gain. That set up a 2-yard touchdown pass to Anderson and a 24-10 lead.

The Tigers cut into the lead with Chandler Catanzaro’s second field goal of the night, but South Carolina responded with 10 points to close out the game. Jay Wooten’s second field goal of the night was followed by Shaw threading an 18-yard pass to Alshon Jeffery.

Shaw used his arm and his feet to help South Carolina build a 17-10 lead at halftime.

The Gamecocks took the opening kickoff and drove downfield for a 47-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead, a rarity since the Gamecocks allowed their opponent to score first in 10 of 11 games this season.

Shaw connected with Bruce Ellington for a 49-yard touchdown pass to put the home team ahead 10-0, but Clemson responded with a Boyd touchdown pass and field goal to tie the game.

The Gamecocks responded late in the first half when Shaw drove his team for the go-ahead score, and he rushed for the touchdown from 15 yards out.

“It was a pretty special win for us tonight,” Shaw said. “It’s huge for our program, our fan base and our team.”

Comments (11) Add comment
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curly123053
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curly123053 11/27/11 - 07:14 am
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The Gamecocks finally played

The Gamecocks finally played a total game! Great win for Carolina!

justthefacts
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justthefacts 11/27/11 - 08:04 am
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Clemson's season has come

Clemson's season has come undone. Will they finish 9-5?

etlinks
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etlinks 11/27/11 - 08:24 am
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What a wonderful beatdown of

What a wonderful beatdown of the taters from Clemson and VT will hand it to them too.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/27/11 - 08:30 am
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The total demise of Clemson

The total demise of Clemson has me in the depressive side of my bipolar disorder. But, I also saw where Carolina is now projected to go to the Cotton Bowl. Ain't that sweet? It's one of the old time big bowl games before this BCS stuff. Sounds good in any case. Good year for the Cocks.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 11/27/11 - 08:33 am
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Hey River, UGA-Tigers in the

Hey River, UGA-Tigers in the Chick-Fl-A Bowl? Remember when I proposed this several weeks ago?

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/27/11 - 08:37 am
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Yep, saw that one, too. And I

Yep, saw that one, too. And I do remember you saying it. But the problem now is will the "Eat more chikin" folks actually take Clemson if they lose another one next week? It could be Orange or a real small bowl for the Tigers.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 11/27/11 - 08:48 am
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I think the "chikin" folks

I think the "chikin" folks are required to take the #2 team in the ACC and #5 in the SEC. Clemson would still be #2...right? The question is whether the 2 bowls in FL take Ark and USC or UGA. On another note, I wonder if Coach Paul Johnson still thinks the there is no difference between the SEC and the ACC?

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/27/11 - 09:03 am
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It appears Carolina could

It appears Carolina could come out a little better than UGA with all this. I hope I'm wrong, but UGA could have another loss next week. I'm not sure if this is right, but I saw Ark projected to go to the Sugar Bowl again Ok State. But there are other bowls that they are projected for also. Again, Carolina in the Cotton Bowl would be something. That bowl name still has a ring to it.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 11/27/11 - 09:41 am
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River, can't happen. The SEC

River, can't happen. The SEC can only send two teams to BSC bowls. Unless UGA beats LSU. Then, for some convoluted reason, they can send three. It's more likely that Ark goes to the Cotton. USC will probably go to Capital One Bowl. UGA to the Outback. Or vice versa.

Vito45
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Vito45 11/27/11 - 10:48 am
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As I understand it, the BCS

As I understand it, the BCS committee put in a clause that if the conference champion was ranked lower that the 1-2 matchup, the champ would still go to a BCS bowl.

curly123053
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curly123053 11/27/11 - 02:56 pm
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I have ZERO confidence in the

I have ZERO confidence in the Bowl Corruptness Standards (BCS) in use today. Once again Division 1 will only name a generic national champion. A playoff system similar to Division 2 would work very well in Division 1. Cut the regular season down to 11 games between set dates. Then split conferences have their championship games following week followed by the NCAA Division 1 playoffs. If timed right there could still be bowl games in time for the holiday bowl season up to New Years! Bowl pairings could be based on the team's finish in the NCAA, and could possibly provide for some interesting match ups.

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