The South Carolina Gamecocks walked into the locker room at half only down a touchdown. But the Clemson Tigers proceeded to score on their first three drives of the second half to take a 49-21 lead that put the game out of reach.
Injuries had decimated the depth on the Gamecock defense and Clemson took full advantage gashing them through the ground and the air.
The game started about as perfectly as it could if you are a fan of South Carolina. Marching down the field 75 yards, Jake Bentley found Deebo Samuel for a nine-yard touchdown. The South Carolina defense forced a third down right away, and a three-and-out would have been huge, but Trevor Lawrence found Alabama fan favorite Hunter Renfrow for 22 yards. Clemson then just marched to the end zone and Adam Choice capped it off with a touchdown run.
After a Gamecock punt, Clemson again powered there way down field and Tee Higgins took a Lawrence pass 22 yards to the end zone. SC responded quickly when Bentley found Kiel Pollard, who took it 67 yards to the house. The next two drives resulted in touchdowns for both teams; Clemson got another short run from Choice, and South Carolina scored on another long pass, this time it was Bentley to Deebo again for 75 yards.
South Carolina got a stop, but Bentley threw a pick. Clemson missed a field goal, and the score was 28-21 at half.
The second half was all Clemson. Three 3rd quarter rushing touchdowns by Clemson put the game out of reach for the Gamecocks. Muschamp’s team should some fight in the fourth as they started it on a 27-yard touchdown from Deebo Samuel forcing a Clemson fumble and Bentley threw his fifth touchdown of the night, this time to Shi Smith cutting it to 49-35. Clemson got one more touchdown, and thats where the game ended at 56-35.
Offensively there were a lot of positives to take out of this game. Jake Bentley for instance played a really nice game against one of the best defenses in the country. Bentley went 32-for-50 for 510 yards and five touchdowns. Yes, the numbers may be a bit inflated because SC was down most of the game, but for going up a tenacious defensive line and talented secondary who knew what was coming Bentley played well.
Gamecocks fans, you have two games left to watch Deebo Samuel, and he is a player you won’t soon forget. In this game, he caught ten balls for 210 yards and three touchdowns. Shi Smith will have big shoes to fill and the sophomore showed glimpses of what he can be catching nine passes for 109 yards. The running game struggled quite a bit though failing to get any consistency, as the leading rusher Mon Denson got the ball 17 times and was only able to get 62 yards.
The Gamecock defense couldn’t stop the Clemson on offense and couldn’t get any pressure on Lawrence. Lawrence went a smooth 27-for-36 for 393 yards and one touchdown. This guy is going to be a problem for everybody.
On the ground, Travis Etienne got the ball 28 times for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Adam Choice scored three touchdowns and Tavien Feaster scored one.
Clemson will face Pittsburgh in the ACC Championship next week for a chance to get to the College Football Playoff, while South Carolina will play a makeup game against Akron to try and add a 7th win and improve their bowl position.