Gamecocks drill Tigers 29-7

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Hopkins led the Tiger receivers with seven catches for 124 yards.
Hopkins led the Tiger receivers with seven catches for 124 yards.

CLEMSON - The end of one era might herald the beginning of another one.

The Clemson defense couldn’t overcome a special teams miscue and the lack of any offensive success and the No. 18 South Carolina Gamecocks rolled over the Clemson Tigers 29-7 in Death Valley Saturday night, the first time since 1968-70 that the Gamecocks have beaten Clemson in back-to-back years.

A bad snap on a punt led to an early South Carolina touchdown, and a Kyle Parker interception led to another, and the only solace that Tiger fans could take from the defeat is that it appears the Tajh Boyd era has begun.

Parker was benched following that interception, and Boyd, the redshirt freshman and backup quarterback, took the rest of the snaps.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said the mistakes were costly.

“This was a very disappointing game,” Swinney said. “We didn’t play smart. South Carolina is a very good team and you can’t give a good team easy points like we did with the interception and the penalties. I’m just very disappointed in how we played. I can’t put it any other way. You have to give credit to USC and how they played.”

Boyd finished 10-for-18 for 73 yards.

“I’m proud of him,” Swinney said of Boyd. “This was a great experience for him to draw on. He had some really good throws and ran the ball well. He is a talented young man.”

The Tigers won the toss and elected to receive, then wasted no time in putting points on the board. The second play of the game was a slip screen that Nuke Hopkins took up the right sideline for 30 yards, running over Carolina defensive back Akeem Auguste in the process.

Two plays later, Hopkins got behind the safety and Parker lofted a perfect pass into Hopkins’ hands, completing a 45-yard touchdown pass that gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead just two minutes into the game.

The ensuing possession saw the Tigers stop the Gamecocks on third down, apparently forcing a punt, but Clemson was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The Gamecocks took advantage, getting a 46-yard field goal from Spencer Lanning to make it 7-3 Tigers.

The Tigers had their first breakdown of the game on the third possession. Dawson Zimmerman dropped back to punt, but in a scene reminiscent of the North Carolina State game a few weeks before, snapper Matt Skinner’s delivery to Zimmerman was high, and Zimmerman was unable to corral the snap.

South Carolina took over at the Clemson five-yard line, and Stephen Garcia hit fullback Patrick DiMarco on the first play for a Carolina touchdown. The extra point was blocked by Brandon Thompson, and the Gamecocks led 9-7 with five minutes left in the first quarter.

The Gamecocks extended the lead on the first play of the second quarter when Garcia hit Alshon Jeffery, running wide open on a post, on a 37-yard touchdown pass for a 16-7 lead.

The Tigers missed a golden scoring opportunity on the next possession, getting a long kickoff return from Marcus Gilchrist and a personal foul penalty on South Carolina, setting up at the Gamecock 38-yard line. The Tigers went three-and-out, however, and Clemson elected to punt.

The Gamecocks once again got points, a 25-yard field goal by Lanning, and it was 19-7 Gamecocks with 8:27 remaining in the half.

The Tigers held on the Gamecocks’ first possession of the second half, and two first downs into Clemson’s initial drive, it looked like the Tigers might yet make it a game. But Kyle Parker, flushed from the pocket, threw directly into defensive back Antonio Allen’s hands, and Allen returned it 37 yards for a touchdown and a 26-7 lead.

Parker was pulled in favor of Boyd following the play, and Boyd played the rest of the way. Parker started out 5-for-7, but finished 1-for-9 with the interception before being pulled.

Lanning added a 37-yard field goal late in the third quarter for a 29-7 lead to complete the scoring.

Boyd said he was glad he got to play in the rivalry game.

“I’m from Virginia and I’m just starting to understand how intense this rivalry is,” Boyd said. “It’s something big and special for the fans. You definitely want to win it for those people out there. We are just going to do whatever we can do to get it for them next year.”

The Tigers did accomplish one goal defensively – shutting down Lattimore. The freshman from Byrnes High School finished with 23 rushes for 48 yards, a 2.1 average. Jeffery, on the other hand, had five big catches for 141 yards.

“Last year we allowed USC about 200 rushing yards,” Swinney said. “Tonight we gave up only 97 rushing yards. I’m proud of how our guys played up front, especially Brandon Thompson and Jarvis Jenkins.”

Swinney said being 6-6 and losing to South Carolina is unacceptable.

“This was a very disappointing season,” he said. “To lose to USC is very unacceptable. Our future is bright, but it’s awful dark right now. Part of being a leader is to look at the positives, and we have a good future ahead. We have a great young football team coming back next year.”


This was the 108th overall meeting between the Tigers and Gamecocks and 102nd consecutive season with a game. Clemson holds a 65-39-4 record in the all-time series.

• Clemson honored the late Gamecock announcer Bob Fulton before the game with a moment of silence.

• Former Clemson All-American DJ Trahan was honored before the game for his induction into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame. He was unable to attend Hall of Fame day earlier in the season.

• Brandon Maye wore #44 in honor of teammate Scotty Cooper, who was unable to play the 2010 season due to injury. He was credited with eight tackles, his third-highest total of the season.

• Kyle Parker's first-quarter 45-yard touchdown strike to DeAndre Hopkins was the fourth-longest pass play of the season and the longest reception of Hopkins' career.

• Hopkins had two catches for 75 yards on the opening drive, and now has Clemson first-year freshman record in receiving yards with 532, as he crossed Roscoe Crosby's 2001 total of 465 yards on his 45-yard touchdown catch.

• Hopkins finished tonight with seven catches for a career-high 124 yards and a touchdown, his fourth of the season. The 124 yards were the most for any Clemson player this season.

• The four-play, 73-yard drive in 1:50 was the 15th touchdown drive of fewer than two minutes for Clemson in the 2010 season. It was also the 8th time in 12 games the Tigers have scored on the first possession.

• South Carolina's field goal marked only the fourth time this season the Tiger defense has allowed a score on the opening drive.

• Brandon Thompson blocked a first-quarter extra point attempt by Spencer Lanning, only the fourth time in 78 career attempts that Lanning has missed an extra point. It was Thompson's first career blocked kick. Thompson also had 2.5 tackles for loss in the game, a career-best.

• Stephen Garcia's 37-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery on the first play of the second quarter marked the first time in seven games that the Clemson defense has surrendered more than one touchdown since North Carolina scored three on Oct. 9. The six-game streak was the second-longest in Clemson history behind the 1981 team's seven.

• Corico Hawkins had a career-high 13 tackles in the contest. His previous career-best was nine against North Carolina.

• Clemson failed to register a sack for the first time in 2010, but did have six tackles for loss for a total of (-12) yards.

• Tajh Boyd completed 10-of-18 passes, both career highs. Boyd played all but the first drive of the second half.

• Clemson held South Carolina to 95 yards rushing on 36 carries for a 2.6 ypc average. It was the fourth straight game in which Clemson's defense held the opponent below 100 yards in a game, and sixth time in the last eight games. It was the third time this season the gamecocks were held below the century mark.

• Roderick McDowell's 39-yard carry in the fourth quarter was a career-long.

• Marcus Gilchrist had a career-high 165 total all-purpose yards (139 KOR, 26 PR) in the game. The 139 KOR yards were also a personal best.

• Andre Ellington appeared in the game tonight and had one rush for no yards. It was his first appearance since suffering a toe injury in the Boston College game. He will have surgery on his toe injury and will not play in the bowl game.

Score by Quarters     1  2  3  4   Score
-----------------    -- -- -- --   -----
South Carolina......  9 10 10  0  - 29       Record: (9-3)
Clemson.............  7  0  0  0  -  7       Record: (6-6)

Scoring Summary:
1st 13:10 CU - DeAndre Hopkins 45 yd pass from Kyle Parker (Chandler Catanzaro kick), 4-73 1:50, SC 0 - CU 7
    09:18 SC - Spencer Lanning 46 yd field goal, 12-48 3:47, SC 3 - CU 7
    05:00 SC - Patrick DiMarco 5 yd pass from Stephen Garcia (Spencer Lanning kick blockd), 1-5 0:05, SC 9 - CU 7
2nd 14:53 SC - Alshon Jeffery 37 yd pass from Stephen Garcia (Spencer Lanning kick), 5-85 2:45, SC 16 - CU 7
    08:22 SC - Spencer Lanning 25 yd field goal, 10-72 5:29, SC 19 - CU 7
3rd 10:17 SC - Antonio Allen 37 yd interception return (Spencer Lanning kick), , SC 26 - CU 7
    01:15 SC - Spencer Lanning 37 yd field goal, 6-20 2:49, SC 29 - CU 7

                                     SC       CU
FIRST DOWNS...................       14       13
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............    36-95    27-61
PASSING YDS (NET).............      227      190
Passes Att-Comp-Int...........  30-14-0  35-17-1
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS.....   66-322   62-251
Fumble Returns-Yards..........      1-4      0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............     2-17     4-26
Kickoff Returns-Yards.........     2-40    6-139
Interception Returns-Yards....     1-37      0-0
Punts (Number-Avg)............   7-42.7   9-38.3
Fumbles-Lost..................      0-0      4-2
Penalties-Yards...............     6-60     7-65
Possession Time...............    34:43    25:17
Third-Down Conversions........  6 of 18  4 of 15
Fourth-Down Conversions.......   0 of 0   0 of 2
Red-Zone Scores-Chances.......      3-3      0-0
Sacks By: Number-Yards........     3-22      0-0

RUSHING: South Carolina-M. Lattimore 23-48; Brian Maddox 5-23; Stephen
Garcia 5-18; Kenny Miles 3-6. Clemson-Jamie Harper 16-58; Roderick McDowell
1-39; Andre Ellington 1-0; Tajh Boyd 8-minus 18; TEAM 1-minus 18.

PASSING: South Carolina-Stephen Garcia 14-30-0-227. Clemson-Tajh Boyd
10-18-0-73; Kyle Parker 7-17-1-117.

RECEIVING: South Carolina-Alshon Jeffery 5-141; M. Lattimore 5-41; J.
Cunningham 2-33; Patrick DiMarco 2-12. Clemson-DeAndre Hopkins 7-124; Jaron
Brown 3-28; Marquan Jones 2-13; Jamie Harper 1-12; Xavier Dye 1-6; Roderick
McDowell 1-4; Brandon Ford 1-2; Chad Diehl 1-1.

INTERCEPTIONS: South Carolina-Antonio Allen 1-37. Clemson-None.

FUMBLES: South Carolina-None. Clemson-Tajh Boyd 2-1; TEAM 1-1; Jamie
Harper 1-0.

Stadium: Memorial Stadium      Attendance: 81500
Kickoff time: 7:07 PM   End of Game: 10:18 PM  Total elapsed time: 3:11
Officials: Referee: Hubert Owens; Umpire: Russ Pulley; Linesman: Josh Langlois;
Line judge: Mickey Haddock; Back judge: Dale Keneipp; Field judge: Grant Jackson;
Side judge: Bobby Moreau;
Temperature: 50 deg    Wind: Calm      Weather: Clear skies

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