Clemson Tops No.19 USC


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Charlie Whitehurst celebrates the QB draw that sealed for the victory for the Tigers.

COLUMBIA - Facing first and 35 from just outside your own 20 yard line might have shaken up most quarterbacks. For Charlie Whitehurst, it was a chance to seal his Clemson legacy.


Whitehurst completed three straight clutch passes to dig Clemson out of that huge fourth quarter hole, then turned matters over to freshman running back James Davis. Davis' two-yard touchdown run with just over six minutes left Saturday night helped the Tigers extend their uncanny run of success over South Carolina, this time with a 13-9 victory in Columbia.


"We knew it was going to be a hard game coming in," said Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden. "Trying to catch South Carolina like we did, new guy in town, winning five games in a row, playing at home on senior night. They are a well-coached team and we knew it would be hard. I am very pleased with our win."


It was Clemson's (7-4) fourth straight win in the series, eighth in the last nine between teams, and also eighth in the last nine played at Williams-Brice Stadium. The announced crowd of 83,368 was the 14th largest in Williams-Brice history and fifth largest with Clemson as the opponent.

For USC coach Steve Spurrier, whose dramatic turnaround of the Gamecock program was one of the headline stories of this college football season, his struggles against the Bowden family continued. Spurrier was 5-8-1 vs. Bobby Bowden when his former team, Florida, battled Florida State on a yearly basis.


He's now 0-1 vs. son Tommy.


Whitehurst, playing in his final game in this 103-year old series (Clemson leads 63-36-4), became the first Tiger quarterback in school history to go 4-0 vs. the Gamecocks (7-4). But it wouldn't be easy. The senior threw two first-half interceptions and had just 27 passing yards at the break, when his team trailed 6-3.


"It couldn't have started any worse," said Whitehurst. "I just didn't play good. The defense kind of kept us in it. We scored the points when we had to there at the end, and I just couldn't be happier for everybody."




But when he needed most to be accurate, Whitehurst did what he has done more often than not against South Carolina.


He went for the jugular.


Trailing 9-6, Clemson took possession at its own 20 after Josh Brown's kickoff - following his 29-yard field goal, went into the end zone for a touchback. Davis ran for no gain on first down, then Whitehurst found wideout Aaron Kelly for 27 yards to the 47.


But on the two plays right guard Chip Myrick was flagged for a pair of major penalties - a 15-yard clipping infraction and a holding call. That set the Tigers back at their own 22-yard line, facing first and 35.


On first down Whitehurst tossed a quick shovel pass to Davis for an eight-yard gain, then found Stuckey over the middle and in traffic for 15 yards.


Finally, on third and 12, Whitehurst found Curtis Baham for 29 yards and a first down to the USC 27.


From there it was up to Davis. He ran for 23 yards on the next play to the Gamecock four, then on first and goal gained two yards on first down. Davis found the end zone on the next play, running left and crashing over the goal line for the go-ahead score.


Carolina still had 6:09 to try and pull out the victory, but Clemson's defense made two huge plays to put the ball back in Whitehurst's hands.


First, USC quarterback Blake Mitchell was intercepted over the middle by C.J. Gaddis at the 5:50 mark. But Gaddis, struggling for yardage after the catch, was stripped of the ball by Gamecock wideout Sidney Rice. Rice's teammate Kris Clark recovered the fumble to allow USC to regain possession, and gain 24-yards on the play in the process.


But the second chance wouldn't last long. Just moments later on a fourth and six play, Mitchell was intercepted again - this time by defensive end Charles Bennett after the ball was batted into the air by defensive tackle Rashaad Jackson.


Fittingly, Whitehurst would make the final big play of the game to cap the victory.


On third and nine with 1:40 remaining, Whitehurst ran for 10 yards on a quarterback draw to get the first down and drive the final nail in the coffin.


"I think I made it by about one yard and it was a great call and a great pickup," said Whitehurst. "It was one of the best feelings of my life, you know it's over, it's four in a row, it's just awesome."


Two kneel down plays later, Clemson was celebrating on the Williams-Brice playing surface yet again.


For a while it looked as if the Tigers were in for another Georgia Tech-style ending.


While the defense didn't allow a touchdown for the second straight game, the offense struggled mightily for much of the night. The Tigers had just over 80 yards total offense in the first half, and in the second half had a touchdown called back on a penalty and a potential go-ahead field goal blocked earlier in the fourth quarter.


But the defense kept Clemson in it, shutting down the Gamecocks twice inside the red zone and forcing USC to settle for field goals.


Meanwhile, the offense finally got it cranked up and generated the game-winning touchdown drive. Davis finished with 145 yards rushing for the Tigers. His counterpart, USC's Mike Davis, finished with 109 yards on 21 carries.


As for Whitehurst, he had the two first half interceptions on consecutive possessions, but then settled down and was very efficient. He finished 18-of-27 for 175 yards, doing most of his damage at the end when it mattered most.


Both teams will now wait and see where they will end up this postseason.


Scoring Summary:
1st 00:16 SC - Josh Brown 23 yd field goal
    11 plays, 82 yards, TOP 4:39, CU 0 - SC 3

2nd 07:12 SC - Josh Brown 43 yd field goal
    10 plays, 66 yards, TOP 3:32, CU 0 - SC 6

    02:29 CU - Dean,J 49 yd field goal
    10 plays, 48 yards, TOP 4:43, CU 3 - SC 6

3rd 07:43 CU - Dean,J 23 yd field goal
    19 plays, 74 yards, TOP 7:17, CU 6 - SC 6

4th 10:46 SC - Josh Brown 29 yd field goal
    4 plays, -1 yard, TOP 1:29, CU 6 - SC 9
    
    05:58 CU - Davis, J 2 yd run (Dean,J kick)
    8 plays, 80 yards, TOP 4:48, CU 13 - SC 9



Kickoff time: 7:00 pm   End of Game: 10:03     Total elapsed time: 3:03
Officials: Referee: Ron Cherry; Umpire: Tom Laverty; Linesman: John Busch;
Line judge: Richard Misner; Back judge: Pat Ryan; Field judge: Jim Coman;
Side judge: Van Golmont; Scorer: Ryan Johnson;
Temperature: 47 deg    Wind: 2 mph     Weather: Mostly Cloudy


Team Statistics 
                                     CU       SC

FIRST DOWNS...................       19       17
  Rushing.....................       10        9
  Passing.....................        8        8
  Penalty.....................        1        0
NET YARDS RUSHING.............      175      167
  Rushing Attempts............       40       33
  Average Per Rush............      4.4      5.1
  Yards Gained Rushing........      187      182
  Yards Lost Rushing..........       12       15
NET YARDS PASSING.............      172      180
  Completions-Attempts-Int....  17-26-2  16-29-3
  Average Per Attempt.........      6.6      6.2
  Average Per Completion......     10.1     11.2
TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS...........      347      347
  Total offense plays.........       66       62
  Average Gain Per Play.......      5.3      5.6
Fumbles: Number-Lost..........      2-2      2-1
Penalties: Number-Yards.......     3-35     7-60
PUNTS-YARDS...................     2-76    3-123
  Average Yards Per Punt......     38.0     41.0
  Net Yards Per Punt..........     37.0     37.7
  Inside 20...................        2        1
  50+ Yards...................        0        0
  Touchbacks..................        0        0
  Fair catch..................        1        0
KICKOFFS-YARDS................    4-250    4-260
  Average Yards Per Kickoff...     62.5     65.0
  Net Yards Per Kickoff.......     53.2     57.8
  Touchbacks..................        1        3
Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD.   2-10-0    1-2-0
  Average Per Return..........      5.0      2.0
Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD   1-29-0   3-37-0
  Average Per Return..........     29.0     12.3
Interceptions: Number-Yds-TD..    3-9-0    2-1-0
Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD.    0-0-0    0-0-0
Miscellaneous Yards...........        0        0
Possession Time...............    31:48    28:12
  1st Quarter.................     4:57    10:03
  2nd Quarter.................     7:50     7:10
  3rd Quarter.................    10:55     4:05
  4th Quarter.................     8:06     6:54
Third-Down Conversions........  9 of 14  3 of 12
Fourth-Down Conversions.......   0 of 0   0 of 1
Red-Zone Scores-Chances.......      2-2      2-2
Sacks By: Number-Yards........      1-4      1-4
PAT Kicks.....................      1-1      0-0
Field Goals...................      2-3      3-3

Individual Statistics 


Clemson

Rushing         No Gain Loss  Net TD Lg  Avg
--------------------------------------------
Davis, J        27  148    3  145  1 23  5.4
Whitehurst,C     5   25    4   21  0 10  4.2
Merriweather,R   5   13    0   13  0  4  2.6
Stuckey, C       1    1    0    1  0  1  1.0
Team             2    0    5   -5  0  0 -2.5
Totals...       40  187   12  175  1 23  4.4

Passing         Att-Cmp-Int Yds TD Long Sack
--------------------------------------------
Whitehurst,C      26-17-2   172  0   28    1
Totals...         26-17-2   172  0   28    1

Receiving        No.  Yds   TD Long
-----------------------------------
Kelly,A            5   68    0   27
Baham,C            5   64    0   28
Stuckey, C         4   26    0   14
Davis, J           3   14    0    9
Totals...         17  172    0   28

Punting          No.  Yds   Avg Long In20
-----------------------------------------
Chason,C           2   76  38.0   41    2
Totals...          2   76  38.0   41    2

                  Punts   Kickoffs  Intercept
All Returns     No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg
---------------------------------------------
Kelly,A          0   0  0  1  29 29  0   0  0
Stuckey, C       2  10  7  0   0  0  0   0  0
Gaddis,C         0   0  0  0   0  0  1   2  2
Bennett,C        0   0  0  0   0  0  1   5  5
Fudge,J          0   0  0  0   0  0  1   2  2
Totals...        2  10  7  1  29 29  3   9  5

Field goal attempts
----------------------------------------
Dean,J          2nd 02:29  49 yds - Good
Dean,J          3rd 07:43  23 yds - Good
Dean,J          4th 14:08  42 yds - Blocked

FUMBLES: Clemson-Gaddis,C 1-1; Stuckey, C 1-1. 
South Carolina-Blake Mitchell 2-1.

South Carolina

Rushing         No Gain Loss  Net TD Lg  Avg
--------------------------------------------
Mike Davis      21  120    9  111  0 17  5.3
Bobby Wallace    6   53    2   51  0 14  8.5
Blake Mitchell   4    6    4    2  0  3  0.5
Kenny McKinley   1    2    0    2  0  2  2.0
Daccus Turman    1    1    0    1  0  1  1.0
Totals...       33  182   15  167  0 17  5.1

Passing         Att-Cmp-Int Yds TD Long Sack
--------------------------------------------
Blake Mitchell    29-16-3   180  0   40    1
Totals...         29-16-3   180  0   40    1

Receiving        No.  Yds   TD Long
-----------------------------------
Sidney Rice        7  122    0   40
Kenny McKinley     3   28    0   14
Kris Clark         2   16    0   11
Carson Askins      2   15    0    8
Mike Davis         2   -1    0    1
Totals...         16  180    0   40

Punting          No.  Yds   Avg Long In20
-----------------------------------------
Josh Brown         3  123  41.0   45    1
Totals...          3  123  41.0   45    1

                  Punts   Kickoffs  Intercept
All Returns     No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg
---------------------------------------------
Kenny McKinley   1   2  2  0   0  0  0   0  0
Carlos Thomas    0   0  0  1   4  4  0   0  0
Noah Whiteside   0   0  0  1  17 17  0   0  0
J. Joseph        0   0  0  1  16 16  1   1  1
Fred Bennett     0   0  0  0   0  0  1   0  0
Totals...        1   2  2  3  37 17  2   1  1

Field goal attempts
----------------------------------------
Josh Brown      1st 00:16  23 yds - Good
Josh Brown      2nd 07:12  43 yds - Good
Josh Brown      4th 10:46  29 yds - Good

FUMBLES: Clemson-Stuckey, C 1-1; Gaddis,C 1-1. 
South Carolina-Blake Mitchell 2-1.

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