The 114th meeting between the South Carolina Gamecocks and Clemson Tigers unfolded Saturday night in Death Valley with the 4th ranked Tigers securing their third straight win over the Gamecocks during the annual rivalry game.
Clemson’s Mike Williams secured the first touchdown with 11:08 remaining in the first quarter, making a 34-yard catch from Deshaun Watson.
Williams put another touchdown on the board with 5:52 left on the clock in the first quarter, receiving a 19-yard pass from Watson and carrying the Gamecocks defense into the end zone. The play was also Watson's 100th touchdown in his career.
The crowd went wild after the play.
With 2:05 remaining in the first, the Tigers added a third TD. Watson made an 11-yard pass to Jordan Leggett for the touchdown.
The Gamecocks secured their first 1st down and first takeaway in the second quarter. Linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams picked up an interception after a pass from Watson went off Leggett's hands. The interception failed to yield momentum and the Tigers stopped the drive in three downs.
Clemson struck again with 3:06 left in the fist half when Wayne Gallman completed an eight yard touchdown run. The Tigers went 45 yards on six plays in the drive.
With just seconds remaining in the half, Mike Williams picked up his third touchdown of the night. The Tigers covered 80 yards in just 39 seconds on that scoring drive.
At halftime, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney commended the defense for stopping the ball and keeping South Carolina scoreless in the first half. He admitted the offense made a few small mistakes, most notable wide receiver Deon Cain letting a touchdown pass slip right through his hands, but said the offense was "in sync" throughout the half.
The Clemson offensive blitz continued into the third quarter with the Tigers adding another touchdown to the board. Wide receiver Wayne Gallman was taken off the field after taking a hard knock, but in the next play, less than two minutes into the second half, Deshaun Watson threw a perfect pass to CJ Spiller in the end zone. In the scoring play, Watson became the first ever Clemson quarterback to throw five touchdowns against the Gamecocks. Gallman did not return for the remainder of the game.
The Gamecocks shifted things around on offense in the third quarter, with Brandon McIlwain replacing Jake Bentley as quarterback. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel would actually make the throw that got the Gamecocks on the scoreboard. Samuel completed a 33-yard pass to Bryan Edwards in the end zone.
The Tigers pushed back in the next drive. After a few setbacks, Watson found Artavis Scott in the end zone. The pass was Watson's sixth touchdown throw of the night.
With three minutes remaining in the third quarter, Clemson also shook up the offense, with Nick Schuessler replacing Watson as quarterback.
In the middle of the fourth quarter, Clemson offensive lineman John Simpson was carted off the field after being injured on a play. Simpson was holding his left knee after being thrown down behind the line of scrimmage by the Gamecocks defense.
With three minutes remaining, Clemson backup quarterback Kelly Bryant added another touchdown for the Tigers with a one-yard rush.
Final score: Clemson, 56; South Carolina, 7.
Clemson, 11-1, will next face Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game. If the Tigers win that game, they will be heading to the playoffs.
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