Notes & Quotes on Clemson's win over SC


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Notes & Quotes on Clemson's win over SC

NOTES

Clemson’s 744 yards were their most against South Carolina in series history, surpassing the 622 yards gained by Clemson in the 2016 contest. It ranks third in a single game in Clemson history, trailing 756 against Wake Forest in 1981 and 754 against NC State in 2012.

Clemson gained 393 passing yards and 351 rushing yards. It marked Clemson’s first time exceeding 300 yards in both categories in a single game since the 2017 season opener against Kent State. It was Clemson’s fourth such game under head coach Dabo Swinney (Duke in 2012, NC State in 2012, Kent State in 2017).

The game marked Clemson’s first time posting both 300 passing yards and 300 rushing yards against South Carolina in series history.

Clemson recorded a school-record three touchdown drives of 95 yards or more, scoring on drives of 95, 97 and 98 yards in the game. It marked Clemson’s first time posting multiple drives of 95 yards or more since recording two against Wake Forest on Oct. 7, 2006.

Clemson recorded a season-high 38 first downs, the second-most in school history and only two shy of the school record of 40 set against South Carolina in 2016.

Including the 744 yards gained against South Carolina, Clemson reached the 6,000-yard mark on the year to post the seventh 6,000-yard season in team history. All seven 6,000-yard campaigns have been posted under Swinney.

WIth 351 rushing yards on the day, Clemson reached 3,000 rushing yards in a season for the sixth time in school history. It marks the team's second 3,000-yard rushing season under Swinney (3,345 in 2015).

Clemson outrushed an opponent for the 11th time this season. The Tigers have now outrushed opponents in 22 of their 26 games since 2017 and are 22-0 when outrushing opponents in that time frame.

Clemson scored 27 or more points in a 12th straight game for the first time in school history, adding to its existing school record.

Clemson scored eight touchdowns to push its season total to 74. The 2018 squad now sits one touchdown shy of the 2016 Tigers (75) for the most total touchdowns in a season in school history.

During the contest, Clemson reached the 500-point mark on the year post the fifth 500-point season in school history. All five instances have come under Swinney.

Clemson opened the game with four consecutive touchdown drives. It marked Clemson’s first time accomplishing the feat on offense since Nov. 18, 2017 vs. The Citadel.

On its sixth rushing touchdown of the game, the 2018 Tigers broke the single-season school record for rushing touchdowns, surpassing the mark of 40 set in 2017. Clemson now has 42 rushing touchdowns this season.

The teams combined for 1,344 yards, the second-largest combined yardage total in Clemson history behind the 1,351 yards combined for by Clemson and NC State in 2012.

Clemson has now won seven consecutive games by 20 or more points for the first time in school history. The current streak of 20-point wins passes a six-game streak across the final five games of the 1989 season and the 1990 season opener.

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence completed 27-36 passes for a career-high 393 yards.

Lawrence also recorded the longest rush of his career on a 32-yard run in the second quarter.

Lawrence’s 393 passing yards are the most against South Carolina in series history, surpassing Deshaun Watson’s 347 passing yards in 2016.

The game was Lawrence’s third 300-yard passing performance of the season.

Lawrence has now eclipsed 250 passing yards in three consecutive games for the first time in his career.

With his passing touchdown, his 22nd of the season, Lawrence passed Woodrow Dantzler (21 in 2001) and Charlie Whitehurst (21 in 2003) for sole possession of seventh on the school's leaderboard for touchdown passes in a single season.

Running back Adam Choice rushed seven times for 56 yards with a career-high three rushing touchdowns. His six rushing touchdowns this season tie his single-season career high from 2017.

Wide receiver Tee Higgins caught his team-leading eighth receiving touchdown of the season on a 22-yard pass from Lawrence in the first quarter. It moved Higgins within one touchdown of Deon Cain’s school record for receiving touchdowns by a sophomore (nine).

Higgins’ eighth receiving touchdown of the year tied him for eighth-most receiving touchdowns in a season in school history.

Higgins finished the game with six receptions for 142 yards, his fourth career 100-yard receiving game.

Higgins’ first-quarter touchdown was the culmination of a 95-yard scoring drive, temporarily tying for Clemson’s longest of the season (95 yards vs. Furman).

Clemson eclipsed that mark on its following possession, culminating a 12-play, 97-yard scoring drive with a one-yard rushing touchdown by defensive lineman Christian Wilkins.

The 97-yard drive was Clemson’s longest in its 116-game all-time series against South Carolina. It would later be surpassed by a 98-yard drive later in the contest.

Clemson recorded five touchdown drives of 10 plays or more, the team’s first game with at least four touchdown drives of 10 plays or more since the 2015 ACC Championship Game against North Carolina.

The rushing touchdown was Wilkins’ second of the year. Earlier in the season, he became the first Clemson defensive lineman to rush for a touchdown in the two-platoon era. Now, Clemson defensive linemen have rushed for three touchdowns through 12 games this season (two by Wilkins, one by Dexter Lawrence).

Wilkins also recorded a sack in the contest, pushing his season total to 5.0 and his career total to 15.0. He has now recorded at least half a sack in each of Clemson’s last four games.

Running back Travis Etienne rushed a career-high 28 times for 150 yards with two rushing touchdowns.

Etienne has now posted only the fourth 1,300-yard rushing season in school history, joining Wayne Gallman in 2015 and Raymond Priester in both 1995 and 1996.

Etienne pushed his season total in rushing yards to 1,307, which now sits fourth on the school's leaderboard for rushing yards in a single season.

During the contest, Etienne reached 2,000 rushing yards for his career.

Etienne scored his 31st and 32nd career rushing touchdowns, tying C.J. Spiller (32 from 2006-09) for fifth on the school's leaderboard for career rushing touchdowns.

Etienne (33) moved into sixth on the school's leaderboard for total touchdowns in a career.

The game was Etienne’s sixth 100-yard rushing performance of the season and the seventh of his career. Clemson now holds a 38-2 record when producing a 100-yard rusher since 2011.

On a two-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter, Etienne broke Clemson's record for rushing touchdowns in a single season with his 18th of the year. He entered the game tied for the mark with Lester Brown (1978), James Davis (2006) and Wayne Gallman (2016).

On a 22-yard reception on third down on Clemson’s opening drive, wide receiver Hunter Renfrow extended his school-record streak of consecutive games with a reception to 40.

On the play, Renfrow became the 13th player in school history to reach 2,000 career receiving yards.

Renfrow caught five passes to pass Mike Williams (177 from 2013-16) for fifth on the school's leaderboard for career receptions.

Running back Tavien Feaster scored his sixth rushing touchdown of the season on a 13-yard run in the third quarter.

Clemson held South Carolina without a sack and has now allowed only one sack in its last five games.

Clemson allowed a touchdown on South Carolina’s opening drive, marking the first touchdown allowed by the Clemson defense in the first quarter this season. The lone first-quarter touchdown allowed by Clemson prior to the contest came via punt return at Boston College.

Prior to the score, Clemson had not surrendered a touchdown on defense in the previous eight quarters. Clemson's defense had not allowed a touchdown when the score of a game had been within 14 points since the fourth quarter of the Syracuse game, a total span of 24 quarters.

Defensive end Austin Bryant recorded his sixth sack of the season, dropping South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley for a seven-yard loss in the first quarter.

Linebacker J.D. Davis made his second start of the season and recorded his first career interception in the second quarter.

Defensive tackle Albert Huggins added a sack in the fourth quarter.

Kicker Greg Huegel made his 45th career start at kicker to become only the fourth kicker in school history to start 45 times in a career (52, Chandler Catanzaro; 47, Aaron Hunt; 46, Nelson Welch).

Huegel went 8-8 on PATs, and on his eighth PAT, he tied Chandler Catanzaro’s school record of 203 career PATs.

Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins played his 56th career game to tie Dorian O'Daniel (2014-17) for second-most in school history. He is now one game shy of tying fullback Chad Diehl's school record of 57 games played from 2007-11.

Clemson’s captains for the game were tackle Mitch Hyatt, linebacker Kendall Joseph, wide receiver Hunter Renfrow and defensive tackle Christian Wilkins.

WITH THE WIN

Clemson completed its seventh undefeated regular season in school history, joining the 1900 (6-0), 1906 (4-0-3), 1948 (10-0), 1950 (8-0-1), 1981 (11-0) and 2015 (12-0) Clemson squads. This year marks Clemson's fifth time finishing a regular season with without any losses or ties.

Clemson opened a season 12-0 for only the third time, joining a 12-0 record in all 12 games of the 1981 season and a 12-0 mark in the first 12 games of 2015.

Clemson won the first 12 games of a season for the second time under head coach Dabo Swinney (2015). Swinney became the first coach in Clemson history to coach the school to multiple 12-0 starts, as Danny Ford accomplished the feat once during Clemson's 1981 National Championship campaign.

The 2018 Tigers have now tied the 1981 and 2017 squads for the third-most wins in a season in school history.

Clemson won its 12th straight game, which represents sole possession of the fifth-longest winning streak in team history.

Clemson won its 52nd game in the last four years, adding to existing school and ACC records for wins held by Clemson's 2018 senior class.

Clemson's 2018 senior class improved upon its current .927 winning percentage since 2015, which far outpaces the school record set by the 2017 seniors (.877, 50-7). The 2018 senior class is attempting to become the first in school history to field a winning percentage of .900 or better.

Clemson earned its 100th win of the decade, reaching the century mark in wins in a decade for the first time in school history. Clemson’s 100-22 record in the 2010s already represents the winningest decade in Clemson history, far surpassing the 87-25-4 mark set in the 1980s. Clemson joined Alabama and Ohio State as the only FBS schools to win 100 games this decade.

Clemson improved to 70-42-4 all-time against South Carolina. Clemson's 70 all-time wins against South Carolina are the program's most against any opponent.

Clemson has now recorded five consecutive wins against South Carolina for the first time since a seven-game streak from 1934-40. That seven-game streak stands as the longest winning streak in the series by either team.

Clemson's 2018 senior class became the 13th class in school history to defeat South Carolina in four consecutive seasons, joining the 1900, 1919, 1930, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1983, 1991, 2000 and 2005 and 2017 seniors.

Clemson improved to 19-10-1 all-time against South Carolina at home.

Clemson won a third straight home game against South Carolina for the first time since defeating the Gamecocks at Death Valley four straight times from 1998-2004.

Swinney improved to 6-5 all-time against South Carolina and became the first Clemson coach with wins against the Gamecocks in five straight years since Jess Neely accomplished the feat in his final six games in the series from 1934-39.

Swinney became the fifth coach in Clemson history to defeat South Carolina six times, joining Frank Howard (13), Danny Ford (7), Tommy Bowden (7) and Jess Neely (6).

Clemson won its 10th consecutive November game, dating back to 2015. It marks the program's longest November winning streak since winning 13 straight in the 11th month of the year across the 1988-92 seasons.

Clemson won its 15th consecutive game at Memorial Stadium, dating back to a 56-7 win against South Carolina on Nov. 25, 2016. The 15-game streak tied the second-longest home winning streak in Swinney’s tenure as head coach, trailing a 21-game home winning streak from 2013-16.

Clemson finished the season 7-0 at home. It marked Clemson's sixth time in school history winning seven home games in a single season, including 1987 (7-1), 2011 (7-0), 2014 (7-0), 2015 (7-0) and 2017 (7-0).

Clemson has now gone undefeated at home in back-to-back years for the first time since 2014-15.

Clemson's senior class improved to 28-1 at Death Valley to tie the 2017 seniors for the best home record in school history.

Swinney earned his 113th career victory to tie Frank Beamer (113) for third-most career wins as head coach of an ACC program. (Note: Beamer's figure reflects his 113 wins after Virginia Tech joined the ACC as a member institution, excluding his victories as an independent or as a member of other conferences).

Clemson led, 28-21, at halftime and has now won 63 of its last 65 games when leading at halftime.

Clemson held a 42-21 advantage after three quarters and is now 83-2 since 2011 when leading after three quarters.

Clemson broke the 200-yard mark both rushing and passing and has now posted a perfect 40-0 record when both passing and rushing for at least 200 yards under Swinney.

Clemson is now 53-1 when rushing for at least 200 yards under Swinney.

QUOTES

CLEMSON HEAD COACH DABO SWINNEY

Opening statement:

“I’m so proud of our team. It’s so hard to go 12-0. It’s only the third time ever that’s been done here. Also, what an amazing accomplishment for this team to achieve something that hasn’t been done in my lifetime by beating South Carolina five times in a row.”

On the victory:

“Give South Carolina credit for making plays and continuing to compete. At the end of the day, our team was too strong across the board. I take my hat off to my players and staff to win a rivalry game by three touchdowns.”

On the offensive showing:

“That was an amazing performance by our offense. Trevor [Lawrence] was unbelievable in his first rivalry game. Our receivers made tons of plays. Hunter Renfrow made some amazing plays on third down. Our offense played maybe its best game of the season and had great balance. All of our running backs ran well, and our offensive line dominated and gave up no sacks.”

On the outlook moving forward:

“There’s a lot that happened in tonight’s game that we can improve on defensively, but the positive is that we won by three touchdowns. But it’ll make us better heading into postseason. Now, we’ll focus on making more history next week. There’s never been a team win four ACC Championship Games in a row, so we’re excited about having that opportunity.”

On the significance of the win:

“The seniors got their 52nd win. Playing in his last game at Death Valley, Christian Wilkins was amazing. He had a great touchdown run and got a sack, as well. All in all, we’re division champs and state champs, so we’re going to enjoy this one tonight. We’ve got bragging rights for a year, but we’ll be ready to move on tomorrow and focus on Pitt.”

CLEMSON CO-OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR Tony Elliott

On the game:

“I’m just really, really proud of our guys and how they showed up ready to play. We knew that we were going to have to set the tempo up front, in the trenches. We told the guys that in the first two play calls, we were going to establish the run. They really took that to heart and carried over the momentum from the second half of the Duke game.”

On Adam Choice’s career high three touchdowns:

“For him to come out and have such a big game...it couldn’t have happened to a better guy. He’s been the rock in my room, and I’ve tried to express that as much as I can. He makes me a better coach.”

CLEMSON CO-OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR Jeff Scott

On the senior class:

“First of all, I’m really happy for our seniors. That was the big message for us going into this game...this senior group deserves a great finish in Death Valley. We said ‘we’re four quarters away from your last game in Death Valley.’ For that group to finish the way that we did is really special.”

On Clemson’s start to the game:

“To have a great finish, we needed a great start, and to be able to go out on our first four drives and get touchdowns was huge and was something we talked about all week long.”

On the offensive line’s performance:

“I am really proud of the offensive line...no sacks [allowed] again tonight. I believe we’ve had one sack [allowed] in [the last] five games, which is incredible. Also, [we] had over 350 yards rushing, which is awesome. Those guys don’t get enough credit, since we have a bunch of special, skilled kids around...we’ve had skilled guys around here for a long time, but now we’re running the ball better than we ever have.”

CLEMSON DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR Brent Venables

On the season:

“I’m proud of our guys to be 12-0 and beat [our] rival five years in a row. It’s tough to do. It’s been done once in 78 years. I’m proud of our seniors and their incredible leadership. They won 52 games, and to finish their last game here in Death Valley, that’s big time.”

On the game:

“I’m disappointed in our performance tonight...not with everyone. I thought South Carolina and Jake [Bentley] had a good plan, and they played well. Obviously, I didn’t coach them very well tonight. I’m very embarrassed about different things that happened there tonight, and obviously, it’s my responsibility to get our guys ready.”

On specific improvements:

“We kept letting guys get inside of us. It’s not really complicated.”

CLEMSON LINEBACKER KENDALL JOSEPH

On giving up over 600 yards on defense:

“I wouldn’t have imagined it. I’m glad we finished the game.”

On what he learned about the team from this game:

“The offense was able to complement us well, and the special teams did a great job. We just kept fighting through adversity, and we’ll learn from this game.”

On Jake Bentley:

“He’s a great quarterback. He made some good throws.”

On if he’s disappointed with defensive performance:

“I’m happy. We’re 12-0. I’m 5-0 against South Carolina, so I’ll never put my head down, being upset. We’ll bounce back, and we will improve.”

CLEMSON LINEBACKER J.D. DAVIS

On his interception:

“I read the quarterback, I tried to make a play, and the ball kind of ended up in my hands.”

On how it feels to be on a 12-0 team:

“It feels great, but we know the journey is not over. One of our goals was to win the state championship, so obviously we’re really excited about that...but we know that there is a lot more work to do.”

CLEMSON WIDE RECEIVER HUNTER RENFROW

On when he knew he was playing tonight:

“I knew I was playing [last] Saturday night whenever I got knocked out. I knew that I wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass up, regardless of what happened. If I had to lie, I had to lie. But I felt pretty good. Tuesday was the biggest jump for me. I felt really good Tuesday after practice and [have] felt pretty good for the most part [since then].”

On type of injury he suffered last Saturday against Duke:

“It’s weird. I never really had a concussion, but I guess I might have had one on Saturday. I knocked myself out. But I remember everything, and I felt fine. I remember Coach [Daob] Swinney coming in and asking me when I was getting married, and I was joking with him...I told him the wrong girl, and I was having a good time with that.”

On Clemson’s offensive performance tonight:

“Watching that Oklahoma game and the Michigan game today with Ohio State, there was a lot of offensive firepower this weekend. So, it was good to go out there and play well.”

CLEMSON QUARTERBACK TREVOR LAWRENCE

On the game:

“It was awesome. It was a great experience. The atmosphere was crazy.”

On the shootout between himself and South Carolina QB Jake Bentley:

“I didn’t really know [if that would happen]. I knew we were prepared and played a good game. We did what we set out, which is to win the game, so I’m really proud of that.”

On setting the Clemson passing yards record against South Carolina:

“That’s awesome. Really, I have to shout out my offensive line and wide receivers. They make it really easy for me.”

SOUTH CAROLINA HEAD COACH WILL MUSCHAMP

On the game:

“We came here to win the game, and we didn’t get the job done.”

On the defense’s injuries and ability to get stops:

“It is what it is. That’s where we are right now. We’re a little short on defense, and that has limited us. At one point we had six true freshmen on the field. They’re going to be good players, but I wish we weren’t put in this situation...it’s not fair to them. But that’s where we are right now.”

On the play after halftime:

“Offensively, we played extremely well. We needed to score touchdowns in the red zone. In both situations, I told [offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon] he had four downs. We needed to go score, knowing our situation defensively.”

On fourth down plays:

“I think they defended the ball on both of those. I had a hard time seeing down on the other end zone, but down here [in the West End Zone], I thought they did a good job defending the ball.”

On postgame feelings:

“The guys fought their guts out. We came here to win the game.”

On Jake Bentley’s performance:

“I thought he played extremely well...gutsy, tough. That’s who he is. I’m glad he’s our quarterback.”

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