Tigers Take 100th Meeting, End Gamecocks' Season


by - Correspondent -
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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.

POST GAME INTERVIEWS
Tommy Bowden - Real | Windows Media USC head coach Lou Holtz - Real | Windows Media Clemson OC Brad Scott - Real | Windows Media QB Charlie Whitehurst - Real | Windows Media DB Brian Mance - Real | Windows Media LB John Leake - Real | Windows Media RB Keith Kelly - Real | Windows Media WR JJ McKelvey - Real | Windows Media OL Gary Byrd - Real | Windows Media DL Nick Eason - Real | Windows Media
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 press time. 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 remaining. "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 six." 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 clock. "We didn't stop them, and consequently we never got the ball back," Holtz said. 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 touchdown. 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.

Drive Chart First Quarter 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. Second Quarter 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 27. 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. Third Quarter 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 14. Fourth Quarter 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 third-and-8. 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 1-yard line. BOX SCORE Team Statistics

 
                 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 
 
Individual Statistics Rushing 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. Passing 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. Receiving 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

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