Tigers Take 100th Meeting, End Gamecocks' Season
Eric Sampson breaks up USC's fake field attempt in the 4th quarter.
CLEMSON - Clemson fans hadn't had much cause to tear down any goal posts this
season. So when it took them more than 10 minutes to do so in the East end
zone after Saturday night's 27-20 Tigers' victory over South Carolina at
Death Valley, it was understandable.
But ultimately they did come down, much to the chagrin of the dozens of
police officers trying to defend the yellow uprights from the thousands and
thousands of deliriously happy Clemson supporters. Once down, the goal post
was splintered into three separate pieces and carried off into the night; a
large trophy to commemorate the moment.
The celebration did turn somewhat ugly, however.
Two fans had to be carted off the field after suffering unknown injuries, and
Anderson Co. Sheriff's Office Reserve Officer Homer Booth may have suffered a
heart attack while fighting the crowd.
He was rushed off the field on a stretcher by his colleagues, taken to an
ambulance and rushed to an Anderson hospital. His condition was not known by
Such ended the 100th meeting between these two rivals (Clemson leads the
all-time series 60-36-4), a climax befitting a game featuring a couple of
huge momentum swings and more points than most experts predicted.
Afterwards, Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden had words of praise for the large
home crowd that made up most of the 84,000 in attendance.
"I really appreciate the fans and their involvement in the game," he said.
"It's been a frustrating year, but the way they've responded here of late
with the noise factor kept us up and kept the sidelines up. I'm just really
appreciative of the environment they created.
"It made the 100th game very, very special."
To win this historic matchup, Clemson (7-5) was forced to rally from a 20-13
deficit with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Freshman quarterback Charlie Whitehurst (27-of-38, 287 yards) started the
comeback with an 11-yard touchdown run on a third-and-10 play. Whitehurst
used a reverse pivot to elude a blitz from USC quarterback-turned-safety
Corey Jenkins, then tightroped the left sideline for the tying touchdown with
13:42 left in the game.
After forcing the Gamecocks (5-7) to punt on the ensuing possession, the
Tigers put together the game-winning drive. Beginning at its own 42, Clemson
marched 58 yards in six plays - the key play coming when Whitehurst hit
Jackie Robinson for 30 yards to the USC 1-yard line.
Two plays later, Bernard Rambert (15 carries, 67 yards) took an option pitch
around the corner for a two-yard touchdown and a 27-20 Clemson lead with 9:38
"When they came out and got those two quick scores, no one got down," Bowden
said. "I attribute that to the fans because they wouldn't let us get down.
The seniors took over, but I think there was a good feeling about the team
all week and about the whole game."
"We've never been able to stop people after we've scored all year," said USC
head coach Lou Holtz. "Every time we score, they seem to come back and
score...There were times - I'd have to look at it on film - sometimes they'd
be stuttering four or five yards deep (and) next thing I know they're plus
South Carolina put together an impressive drive in response to Rambert's
score, mostly on the ground, and looked poised to tie the game. But after
moving from their own 37 to the Clemson 30, the drive stalled and Holtz
appeared ready to settle for a 47-yard field goal attempt.
But in what may have been the game's biggest play, the Gamecocks faked the
kick and snapped the ball directly to backup kicker Josh Brown. He rolled
right, then threw back left in the direction of holder Eric Kimrey.
But Clemson's Eric Sampson wasn't fooled, staying home to knock down the pass
and give Clemson possession with 6:25 left.
The Tigers were able to maintain possession for the rest of the game, driving
deep into USC territory for Whitehurst twice took a knee to run out the
"We didn't stop them, and consequently we never got the ball back," Holtz
Down 13-6 at the break, USC came storming back using a near-forgotten weapon
in Gamecock country - the big pass play.
On the second play of the third quarter, quarterback Dondrial Pinkins
(8-of-14, 179 yards) unloaded a bomb to Troy Williamson, who had beaten
Clemson cornerback Brian Mance and waltzed into the end zone for a 70-yard
The two hooked up again on USC's next possession, working on backup corner
Jamaal Fudge for a 43-yard completion to the Tigers' 14-yard line. Four plays
later, fullback Andrew Pinnock (11 carries, 68 yards) crashed into the end
zone for a 20-13 Gamecocks' lead with 3:04 left in the quarter.
Clemson scored the only touchdown of the first half on a Rambert four-yard
run near the end of the first quarter. Rambert's scamper around left end
capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive and wiped out an early 3-0 USC lead.
The Gamecocks drew within 7-6 early in the second quarter on Daniel Weaver's
second field goal, a 33-yarder. South Carolina missed a golden opportunity
for a touchdown four plays earlier when, on first-and-10 at the Clemson 19,
Pinkins short-hopped a wide open Troy Williamson in the end zone.
Clemson made it 10-6 on the next possession, driving to the USC 9-yard line
to set up Hunt's 27-yard field goal with 10:42 left in the half.
The Tigers closed the half with another Hunt field goal, this one a 28-yarder
with :32 to go for a 13-6 advantage. But like USC before it, Clemson missed a
chance for a touchdown when Hamilton, falling down in the back of the end
zone, juggled Whitehurst's pass from the 11-yard line.
The regular season now complete, Clemson awaits word of its bowl destination.
Speculation leading up to the game had the Tigers headed to the Tangerine
Bowl in Orlando with a victory, while a loss would send them to the
Continental Tire Bowl in Charlotte.
The announcement of that destination could come as soon as this week.
South Carolina, needing a win to qualify for a bowl, will miss the postseason
for the first time in three years.
USC 3, Clemson 0
Scoring Drive: 13 plays, 79 yards in 7:16.
Scoring Play: Daniel Weaver's 25-yard field goal at 6:08.
Key Play: On third-and-10 from the Clemson 33, Dondrial Pinkins completes a
pass to Michael Ages for 16 yards to the CU 17.
Clemson 7, USC 3
Scoring Drive: 10 plays, 80 yards in 4:46.
Scoring Play: Bernard Rambert's 4-yard run at 1:22.
Key Play: Charlie Whitehurst's 37-yard completion to J.J. McKelvey to the USC
46 on third-and-13.
Clemson 7, USC 6
Scoring Drive: 8 plays, 48 yards in 2:58.
Scoring Play: Daniel Weaver's 33-yard field goal at 13:24.
Key Play: Andrew Pinnock's 22-yard run to the Clemson 41.
Clemson 10, USC 6
Scoring Drive: 7 plays, 44 yards in 2:42.
Scoring Play: Aaron Hunt's 27-yard field goal at 10:42.
Key Play: Charlie Whitehurst's 25-yard pass to Kevin Youngblood to the USC
Clemson 13, USC 6
Scoring Drive: 12 plays, 71 yards in 3:20.
Scoring Play: Aaron Hunt's 28-yard field goal at :32.
Key Play: Charlie Whitehurt's 16 yard pass to J.J. McKelvey to the USC 29.
Clemson 13, USC 13
Scoring Drive: 2 plays, 70 yards in :29.
Scoring Play: Dondrial Pinkins' 70-yard pass to Troy Williamson. Key Play: Scoring Play.
USC 20, Clemson 13
Scoring Drive: 9 plays, 70 yards in 4:36.
Scoring Play: Andrew Pinnock's 2-yard run at 3:04.
Key Play: Dondrial Pinkins' 43-yard pass to Troy Williamson to the Clemson
Clemson 20, USC 20
Scoring Drive: 10 plays, 63 yards in 4:22.
Scoring Play: Charlie Whitehurst's 11-yard run at 13:42.
Key Play: Whitehurst's 21-yard pass to Airese Currie to the USC 11 on
Clemson 27, USC 20
Scoring Drive: 6 plays, 58 yards in 2:12.
Scoring Play: Bernard Rambert's 2-yard run at 9:38.
Key Play: Charlie Whitehurst's 30-yard pass to Jackie Robinson to the USC
SOUTH CAROLINA CLEMSON
First downs 12 27
Rushed-yards 34-150 40-145
Passing yards 180 287
Sacked-yards lost 1-5 2-17
Return yards 2 0
Passes 9-17-1 27-39-0
Punts 3-40 2-38
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-1
Penalties-yards 10-98 5-60
Time of possession 26:21 33:39
SOUTH CAROLINA - Andrew Pinnock 11-68, Dondrial Pinkins 10-33, Daccus Turman 5-24, Kenny Irons 7-21, Troy Williamson 1-4.
CLEMSON - Bernard Rambert 15-66, Yusef Kelly 10-64, Chad Jasmin 4-14, Derrick Hamilton 2-7, Tye Hill 1-2, Charlie Whitehurst 6-MINUS 3, - Team 2-MINUS 5.
SOUTH CAROLINA- Dondrial Pinkins 8-14-179- 1, Erik Kimrey 1-2-1- 0, Josh Brown 0-1-0- 0.
CLEMSON - Charlie Whitehurst 27-38-287- 0. Tony Elliott 0-1-0- 0.
SOUTH CAROLINA - Troy Williamson 4-140, Michael Ages 3-28, Ryan Brewer 1-11, Andrew Pinnock 1-1.
CLEMSON - Derrick Hamilton 7-76, JJ McKelvey 3-58, Jackie Robinson 4-49, Kevin Youngblood 3-35, Airese Currie 2-29, Bobby Williamson 2-22, Bernard Rambert 3-18, Tony Elliott 1-1, Yusef Kelly 2-MINUS 1.
Attendance - 84,000