Well, I don’t think a lot of us went into this one thinking we were going to see Jake Bentley slice and dice the Clemson secondary to the tune of 510 yards and 5 TDs. Turns out, that still wasn’t enough - not nearly enough actually - as the Tigers dispatched of their in state rival for the 5th consecutive time, 56-35.
I wasn’t expecting quite the dominating performances we had seen the previous two seasons, but I wasn’t expecting South Carolina to come in and accumulate 600 yards of offense without some semblance of a running game, yet they did.
If you believe in moral victories, then congratulations, but this is still a game of wins and losses, and the fact of the matter is, on a night in which the Clemson defense had what one could argue, its worst performance in 3-4 years, they still managed to win by 3 TDs, and this game was never really in doubt after Clemson extended their lead to 42-21 in the third quarter. Without some questionable officiating and a dropped TD pass, Clemson wins by a lot more.
It is only fitting we start here. After writing about dominant outings week after week, the Clemson defense looked anything but dominant. Credit the offensive staff of the Gamecocks, as they came in with a great plan. That, along with tempo, kept the Tiger secondary looking confused much of the night, and created a lot of mismatches in coverage down the middle of the field. Jake Bentley was throwing the ball as accurately as I have ever seen and was able to take advantage of those opportunities. The secondary was beaten time and time again down the field, and it wasn’t just one guy. It was every guy back there at one time or another. Deebo Samuel had 10 catches for 210 yards and caught 3 TDs, one going for 75 yards and another for 32 yards where he just abused AJ Terrell. Shi Smith had 9 catches for 109 yards. It just wasn’t a good night at the office for the secondary.
Despite sacking Bentley 3 times, and hitting him several more times, the front four just was not getting the pressure on Bentley we had seen the past 2 seasons. Several times the Gamecock offense were faced with 3rd and long situations, and to many were converted. SC was 7-14 on 3rd downs and had 29 1st downs. It was a very uncharacteristic night for this unit..... Paws Down
Best night of the season offensively. 744 total yards. 393 through the air and 351 on the ground. 6.4 yards per carry. That is what I call having your way with the opposing defense. Other than the dropped TD pass by Justyn Ross and the fumbled exchange between Trevor Lawrence and Lyn J Dixon late, it was a very productive night..... Paws Up
Welcome to the rivalry young fella. That is how you make a first impression on a fan base. 27-36 for a career high 393 yards. Laser like precision. There was one 3rd down throw to Hunter Renfrow that I still can not believe he threw that accurately. Oh, and that stare down after his TD pass to Tee Higgins late in the 1st quarter? More of that please..... Paws Up
Travis was finally unleashed in this one. After a stretch that saw him with no more than 10 carries over the past few games, the sophomore RB had 28 carries and 150 yards, along with 2 TDs. The Gamecock defense had no answer for the Tiger running game..... Paws Up
What a way to finish it off in The Valley. 7 carries for 56 yards and 3 TDs. Choice was running with a purpose in this one and it was good to see him have this kind of outing in his final game in front of the Tiger faithful after all the adversity he has faced throughout his career..... Paws Up
9 carries 63 yards for the junior RB. Like Choice, he was running with a purpose, and I would be remiss to not give him the..... Paws Up
Did you really think he wasn’t going to play in his final game in Death Valley? Against South Carolina no less? 5 catches for 80 yards, and of course some big third down conversions in there. Basically Hunter Renfrow doing Hunter Renfrow things..... Paws Up
This might have been the best game of the year from a playcalling perspective. The offense was as efficient as it has been all season long, as the Tigers averaged 10.6 yards per pass and 6.4 yards per rush, while also going 8-13 on 3rd downs and racking up 38 1st downs..... Paws Up
Watching some of those call last night makes me appreciate ACC referees just a little more... not much, but a little. The offensive pass interference against Amari Rodgers was terrible, and that took 7 points off the board. And “disconcerting signals?” Really..... Paws Down
If you don’t want another TD tacked on at the end, line up and stop a basic running play up the middle. If one team is still playing hard and trying to score, why shouldn’t the other? Oh, and hold onto those moral victories as tightly as you can..... Paws Down
And in other action across the nation on Rivalry Weekend.....
I have been waiting for the real Fightin’ Harbaugh’s to stand up and make an appearance all season long, and finally on the regular seasons last weekend, they did not disappoint. Another big game for Captain Khaki pants, and another big choke job..... Paws Down
Who didn’t feel bad for Mike Leach and his Cougars Friday night. Trying to secure an appearance in the Pac 12 Title to gave shot at their first conference title in decades, and it snows, relegating his fun and gun offense to nothing more than an ineffective mess..... Paws Down
LSU vs Texas A&M
7 overtimes, wow. I bet not one single fan at that game was expecting a basketball game to break out. A 74-72 Texas A&M win..... Paws Up
And one final regular season Paws Up to Mckenzie Milton. UCF’s star QB suffered a gruesome leg injury vs South Florida Friday night in a 38-10 win. All the best to that young man. That was something no one ever likes to see.
Give us your Paws Up and Paws Down takes in the comments and keep checking back with STS for more from the win over South Carolina and a look ahead to Pitt in the ACCCG next weekend.