South Carolina 27, Clemson 17

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


CLEMSON -- South Carolina continued its mastery of rival Clemson Saturday night, rallying for a 27-17 victory and its fourth consecutive triumph in the series.
On a night when South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier became the winningest coach in school history, it was reserve quarterback Dylan Thompson who stole the show, passing for 304 yards and three touchdowns.
The victory pushed the Gamecocks to 10-2 while Clemson -- playing in front of a sellout crowd of 82,000 at Memorial Stadium -- fell to 10-2 and had its seven-game winning streak snapped as well as a 13-game home winning streak.
The victory gave Spurrier a 65-37 record in eight seasons at South Carolina, pushing him past Rex Enright, who had a 64-69-7 record from 1938-42 and 1946-55.
Clemson still holds the upper hand in the nation's third-longest continuous series with a record of 65-41-4, but the Gamecocks continued their recent domination, winning the annual showdown four straight years for the first time since 1951-54.
The defeat knocked No. 11 Clemson out of a possible BCS bowl bid and lifted No. 12 South Carolina to a 10-win season for a second straight year and just the third time in school history.
Saturday night's game marked just the second time ever that both teams entered the game ranked in the Top 15.
South Carolina flexed its offensive muscle in the third quarter, opening the period with back-to-back scoring drives for a 20-14 lead. The Gamecocks took their first lead of the night on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Thompson to Ace Sanders to cap a 10-play, 85-yard drive. Then Adam Yates booted a 43-yard field goal to extend the lead to 20-14.
Clemson pulled within 20-17 on Chandler Catanzaro's 37-yard field goal with 5:07 left in the third, but the Gamecocks responded again as Thompson and Ellington hooked up for a touchdown for the second time in the game, this time from six yards out with 4:17 remaining.
The Gamecocks' defense joined the party, too, limiting Clemson's typically high-octane offense to just eight plays in the third quarter. Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney had 4.5 sacks and established a school single-season record.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney fell to 1-4 against Spurrier.
Clemson took a 7-0 lead on its second possession of the game, driving 85 yards in 16 plays, with quarterback Tajh Boyd scoring on a 3-yard run. The Tigers converted four third-down plays on the drive and Boyd ran for three of them.
South Carolina responded quickly, scoring on its ensuing possession by marching 63 yards in just seven plays to tie the game, 7-7. The score came on a 13-yard pass from quarterback Dylan Thompson to Bruce Ellington.
The tie was short-lived, however, as Clemson took over on its 25-yard line and found the end zone in just two plays. Roderick McDowell had a 25-yard run on first down, then Boyd connected with DeAndre Hopkins down the left sideline for a 43-yard touchdown and a 14-7 lead. It was Hopkins' ninth consecutive game with at least one touchdown reception, tying the Atlantic Coast Conference record held by former Virginia star Herman Moore.
South Carolina cut Clemson's lead to 14-10 with 2:40 left in the first half on a 29-yard field goal by Adam Yates.
NOTES: Clemson senior running back Andre Ellington surpassed the 1,000-yard mark on a 13-yard run in the second quarter, becoming just the fourth back in Clemson history to have two 1,000-yard seasons. ... Clemson's first scoring drive of the game was 16 plays, matching its longest drive of the season. ... South Carolina sophomore defensive end Jadeveon Clowney had 1.5 sacks in the first half, tying him for the school's single-season record with 10. ... The Gamecocks' DeVonte Holloman intercepted a pass in the second quarter, giving him an interception in each of the last three games in the series.