Tigers Embarrass Gamecocks, 63-17
|Sunday, November 23, 2003, 2:15 AM- -|
COLUMBIA - A road sign along I-26 East indicates that Columbia is 25 miles away from Prosperity. Saturday night, Clemson found that destination right in the middle of Williams-Brice Stadium.
Charlie Whitehurst threw three touchdown passes on the Tigers' first three possessions, and Clemson was off and running to a stunning 63-17 win over the Gamecocks here in the state capital. The 63 points is the most scored by any team in the 101-year history of this series, and equals the most points USC has ever allowed in a game (Florida, 1995).
The victory also capped off another tumultuous week surrounding the job status of Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden.
As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Bowden was hoisted onto the shoulders of his players and carried to the midfield meeting with USC coach Lou Holtz. Later, as the team exited the field, many of the 10,000-plus Clemson fans remaining in Williams-Brice chanted Bowden's name in unison.
Whatever the outcome of Bowden's future - athletic director Terry Don Phillips said it would be determined at the end of the season, but before a bowl game - the Clemson coach is now 4-1 vs. the Gamecocks in his five-year career.
And at 8-4, the Tigers have won the most games since Bowden's second team went 9-3 in 2000.
Afterwards, Bowden read a prepared statement to the press saying he and his wife, Linda, and family "loved Clemson University" and will always be bonded with the school because "two of my children will have Clemson degrees." He went on to say that he would answer no more questions about his job security until a decision has been made.
Interestingly, Bowden said the decision he was awaiting was from the school's President, James Barker, not from Phillips.
After that, the press conference was typical Bowden - low key and straight forward.
"It's nice to beat Florida State - that was something we had to do eventually - but we think about this game 365 days a year," Bowden said. "This one is always on our mind. We always are thinking of having to play South Carolina."
Meanwhile, USC (5-7) lost its last four games and will miss a bowl for the second consecutive season. A year ago the Gamecocks lost their final five games, including a 27-20 defeat in the season finale at Clemson.
The Gamecocks never recovered from Whitehurst's early flurry - 36 yards to Derrick Hamilton, 28 to Airese Currie and 39 to Ben Hall; it was only Hall's second catch of the season.
They did pull within 21-10 midway through the second quarter on a Daniel Weaver 26-yard field goal and Dondrial Pinkins' 2-yard scoring pass to Brian Brownlee.
"I'm as embarrassed as I've ever been," Holtz said in his postgame press conference. "We didn't play physical enough...We were out-hit. That should never happen to USC. We should never be out-hit. The fans, alumni and administration deserve better than this.
"We're going to have to go back and look at everything - myself, assistant coaches, players, everything. I'm embarrassed...This should never happen to South Carolina football."
Chad Jasmin answered the Gamecock points with a pair of one-yard scoring runs in the final 5:56 of the half to give the Tigers a 35-10 lead at the break. Jasmin would add two more one-yard scoring plunges in the second half as Clemson put it away, making him the first Tiger to rush for four touchdowns in a single game since Travis Zachery pulled the trick vs. Duke in 2001.
"I had on my mind no one could stop me," Jasmin said. "All week long people were talking about (USC running back) Demetrius Summers. We worked hard all week and it paid off. our offense clicked on all cylinders."
A Whitehurst-to-Duane Coleman 27-yard pass in the third quarter and backup quarterback Chansi Stuckey's 33-yard scamper in the fourth closed out the Clemson scoring.
Brownlee caught another short TD pass - this one three yards - for USC's final score late in the third period.
Clemson's defense held the Gamecocks to just 266 yards of total offense, while the offense rolled up 463. Whitehurst finished with 302 passing yards (18-of-26) and one interception to go with his four TD passes.
Jasmin led the ground attack with 61 yards on 14 carries, while Coleman had six rushes for 54 yards.
"I think it would be awfully difficult to play any better," Bowden said. "Lou Holtz has a very sound, very tough team and they are tough to beat. Tonight's game held no indication of the ability of South Carolina."
Clemson now awaits a decision not only on Bowden, but on its bowl destination.
Had N.C. State defeated Maryland earlier in the day, the Gator Bowl representative on hand at Williams-Brice Saturday night would have been authorized to immediately extend to the Tigers an invitation to the Jan. 1 game in Jacksonville, Fla. As it stands now, Maryland's late victory Saturday improved it to 5-2 in the ACC, a half-game better than Clemson.
The Terrapins still have conference foe Wake Forest on its schedule, so which bowl the Tigers land may not be known for another week.
- The 83,987 fans in attendance was the fifth-largest crowd in Williams-Brice history.
- With his four touchdown passes Charlie Whitehurst now has 21 on the season, tying him for the single-season best in school history with Woodrow Dantzler.
- Derrick Hamilton moved past Jerry Butler and into fourth place on Clemson's all-time receiving yardage list.
- Clemson's previous high in points scored vs. South Carolina was 51 back in 1900. South Carolina scored 56 vs. the Tigers in 1975.
- Tight end Bobby Williamson left the game on a cart in the third quarter with a knee injury. He will be evaluated today. Meanwhile, defensive tackle Todd McClinton had to be treated by the Clemson training staff for 3-4 minutes following the game while lying near the 20-yard line. McClinton, who has suffered from seizures in the past, ultimately walked off the field under his own power.
Clemson 21 14 21 7 - 63 South Carolina 0 10 7 0 - 17
Clem-Hamilton 36 pass from Whitehurst (Hunt kick), 11:19.
Clem-Currie 26 pass from Whitehurst (Hunt kick), 8:24.
Clem-Hall 39 pass from Whitehurst (Hunt kick), 4:38.
SCar-FG Weaver 26, 14:56.
SCar-Brownlee 2 pass from Pinkins (Weaver kick), 7:15.
Clem-Jasmin 1 run (Hunt kick), 5:56.
Clem-Jasmin 1 run (Hunt kick), 0:12.
Clem-Jasmin 1 run (Hunt kick), 11:48.
SCar-Brownlee 4 pass from Swygert (Weaver kick), 4:22.
Clem-Coleman 27 pass from Whitehurst (Hunt kick), 2:42.
Clem-Jasmin 1 run (Hunt kick), 0:08.
Clem-Stuckey 33 run (Anderson kick), 3:28.
Clem SCar First downs 23 20 Rushes-yards 41-240 39-153 Passing 302 166 Comp-Att-Int 18-26-1 16-34-3 Return Yards 63 0 Punts-Avg. 4-43.8 7-41.1 Fumbles-Lost 3-1 0-0 Penalties-Yards 9-90 5-35 Time of Possession 27:06 32:54
RUSHING-Clemson, Stuckey 6-77, Jasmin 14-61, Coleman 8-54, Whitehurst 6-43,
Merriweather 1-3, Hamilton 2-3, Brown 2-2, Kelly 2-(minus 3). South Carolina,
Summers 12-61, Turman 10-31, Boyd 6-30, Newton 2-21, Pinkins 5-15, Swygert 1-2,
Rathe 1-(minus 3), Gray 2-(minus 4).
PASSING-Clemson, Whitehurst 18-26-1-302. South Carolina, Swygert 6-13-1-31,
Pinkins 7-12-1-93, Rathe 2-7-1-24, Newton 1-2-0-18.
RECEIVING-Clemson, Hamilton 4-71, Currie 4-56, Coleman 4-37, Youngblood
3-57, Hall 1-39, Elliott 1-25, Baham 1-17. South Carolina, Boyd 3-51, Brownlee
3-41, Newton 3-6, Thomas 2-30, Goodman 2-13, Turner 1-14, Turman 1-10, Summers