South Carolina Review
|Monday, November 28, 2016, 9:56 AM- -|
South Carolina Review
I saw Clemson's 45-0 win over South Carolina in 1989 and the Tigers' 63-17 win over the Gamecocks in 2003, but what I saw Saturday night was the most dominating win in the series.
The 49-point margin of victory is the largest ever by an ACC school over an SEC school. The previous record also came in a Clemson-South Carolina game, when the Tigers topped the Gamecocks 63-17 win.
Clemson physically beat the Gamecocks up. ESPN's play-by-play man called it "children versus grown men." One tweet that seemed appropriate asked a South Carolina player, "Y'all even lift, bruh?"
The Tigers were better at every position and proved it from the opening play. Clemson's 21-0 first quarter lead ended the competitive part of the game. The result was decided. The only thing left were the details.
First quarter stats showed Clemson with 14 first downs and South Carolina still looking for its initial first down. The Tigers outrushed South Carolina 88-3 in the first quarter. They out passed them 138-4 and outgained them 226-7. A friend texted me and said South Carolina's offense was balanced in the first quarter; they had four yards rushing and three passing.
South Carolina did not manage a first down in the contest until the 12:28 mark of the second quarter, coming on its 17th offensive play of the game.
At the half, Clemson led 35-0. The first downs were 23-3. Rushing yards were 129-11 while the passing totals were 251-52. Clemson outgained South Carolina 380-52 in the first half.
The final stats were just as telling. Clemson had 40 first downs to Carolina's seven. The Tigers' 622 yards of total offense and 40 first downs in the victory, all-time records for Clemson against South Carolina. The 622 yards of total offense were 11th most in Clemson history and eighth most in Memorial Stadium history. Clemson held South Carolina to a season-low 218 yards of total offense, including a season-low 107 passing yards. It is the fewest by the Gamecocks against the Tigers since 2004 when Clemson held them to 197 yards of total offense.
ESPN's Booger McFarland said this week that Jake Bentley would outplay Deshaun Watson. Clemson's starter was 27 of 33 for 347 yards with six touchdowns through the air and 19 more yards on the ground. Bentley was 7 of 17 for 41 yards with no touchdowns and an interception and three carries for minus six yards.
If you want to know what a physical mismatch, watch how many times Clemson's running backs moved the pile for eight, nine, ten and 11-yard gains.
I have said on my radio show that I don't watch the UFC because I don't enjoy sheer brutality, but I could watch this game over and over again. I will go back and watch Mike Williams carry Gamecock defenders for the next few years. I will watch Wayne Gallman, C.J.Fuller and Tavien Feaster rip up Gamecock defenders again and again and again.
Maybe we shouldn't have been surprised by the outcome. Look at the lines of scrimmage. Clemson physically dominated the Gamecocks on both lines of scrimmage and made it easy to see the difference in the two programs. I was surprised how much more physical Clemson's skill players were, though.
These two programs are miles apart, and the gap isn't closing soon. Muschamp will improve their recruiting, but Clemson's staff is recruiting at an elite level. There is a clear line drawn here and Saturday night was another example of that.
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