Recap: Clemson vs. So Carolina
Clemson, SC (SportsNetwork.com) - Clemson is back on top in the Palmetto State as the 23rd-ranked Tigers ended South Carolina's winning streak in the longtime series with a 35-17 victory at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
The Gamecocks had won five straight meetings against their in-state rivals but were limited to 339 yards and scored 18 points below their season average.
Deshaun Watson played through a knee injury and completed 14-of-19 passes for 269 yards and added two scores on the ground for the Tigers (9-3), whose senior class has totaled a school-record 41 wins over the last four years.
"After we started 1-2, to go undefeated at home, break the streak against South Carolina and to get these seniors their 41st win, I couldn't think of a better way to close out the season," Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. "With the exception of being in the College Football Playoff, you couldn't script it any better."
Watson was credited with a pair of scores through the air, but Artavis Scott did most of the work on two shovel passes that went for TDs and totaled 123 yards. Scott finished with 185 yards on seven catches, while Wayne Gallman gained 191 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries.
Dylan Thompson passed for 249 yards and a touchdown for South Carolina (6-6), which finished its disappointing regular season at .500 after coming into the year ranked No. 9 in the AP poll.
"Clemson was better than us," South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said. "They played better and they coached better. ... They are a better team than we are. Simple as that."
Watson, who was sidelined for four of the previous five games, pulled up lame during Clemson's first possession, which ended with Ammon Lakip coming up short on a 47-yard field goal try.
The Gamecocks then went 70 yards in eight plays, and Pharoh Cooper's 20-yard run out of the wildcat formation gave the visitors the lead.
Watson was back on the field on the ensuing series and helped the Tigers score 21 straight points to take control.
Scott took a shovel pass behind the line of scrimmage and sprinted 53 yards for a score, and a Thompson fumble led to Gallman's 5-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter.
Watson capped a 10-play, 61-yard drive with a 1-yard sneak over the goal line, but the freshman QB again limped to the sideline just before halftime.
Cole Stoudt's first pass after replacing Watson was intercepted, and Elliott Fry cut South Carolina's deficit to 21-10 by booting a 47-yard field goal.
Fry had an opportunity to make it a one-possession game late in the third quarter from the same distance and narrowly hooked it to the left.
On the next play from scrimmage, Scott outran everyone en route to a 70-yard TD using the same play he scored on in the first quarter. The speedy wideout was nearly knocked out of bounds at the 10-yard line but acrobatically tip- toed his feet in play.
The Gamecocks had 1st-and-goal from the 2-yard line on the ensuing series and turned it over on downs.
Thompson and Damiere Byrd hooked up on a 12-yard touchdown pass midway through the fourth, and Watson tacked on another 1-yard keeper to account for the final score.Game Notes
South Carolina had won 18 straight games against non-conference opponents ...
Clemson leads the all-time series 66-42-4 ... This is the second longest
active streak of consecutive years (106) played between schools. Minnesota and
Wisconsin have played 108 straight years ... Clemson finished the season
undefeated at home for the second time in four years ... The Tigers have won
27 straight games against unranked opponents.