The annual battle in The Palmetto State turned into a laugher quickly, as No. 4 Clemson celebrated a 56-7 victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks in Death Valley on Saturday night.
Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams made his presence felt on the game, scoring three touchdowns and gaining 100 yards on just six receptions. Fellow receiver Artavis Scott made his mark as well, catching a game-high eight passes for 77 yards and a score too. In total, quarterback Deshaun Watson threw a season-high six passing touchdowns in the rout, as South Carolina’s stout defense could do nothing to stop the Tigers’ aerial attack.
South Carolina meanwhile could get absolutely nothing going through the air or on the ground. Freshman quarterback Jake Bentley had himself a clunker as he completed just seven of his 17 pass attempts for merely 41 yards. Bentley never found the end zone and was picked off by Jadar Johnson early in the contest prior to Clemson’s first touchdown.
Deebo Samuel came away with the only passing touchdown of the day to Bryan Edwards in the third quarter.
What We Learned
Clemson is pretty good
Not so much learned as much reaffirmed on Saturday night that Clemson is really dang good. The Tigers are College Football Playoff contenders for a reason, and should they take care of business and dispatch Virginia Tech next weekend in the ACC Championship, Deshaun Watson & Co. will likely be playing for a National Championship once again.
South Carolina never really stood a chance
The Gamecocks and their freshman quarterback didn’t perform well under the bright lights and in a hostile environment. That was to be expected, and although South Carolina’s defense had been playing nastily of late, the Tigers were nearly unstoppable on Saturday night in Death Valley. Nobody should be too surprised with this result, and it shouldn’t be too much of a dimeric on them.
But now, South Carolina can focus on going on bowling
Now that they have the juggernaut away from them, South Carolina will get roughly a month to prepare for whatever comes next for them in the upcoming bowl season. We should probably expect a better performance from the Gamecocks against an opponent that’s more at their level, and so will end a pretty successful season in Columbia from an expectation standpoint.