COLUMBIA -- Both teams opened with vintage touchdown drives just to their own program’s liking.
South Carolina: 17 plays, 80 yards, 8:13 off the clock. The longest touchdown drive of South Carolina’s season in terms of total plays, capped by Connor Shaw’s 3-yard score.
Clemson: whoooooosh. 4 plays, 75 yards, 1:38 off the clock. Sammy Watkins went all video-game-joystick for 57 yards, setting up Tajh Boyd’s 8-yard run.
- From the time Boyd ran it in from 8 yards out, to the time he took the field for his next drive: 20 real minutes had passed. That’s due to the punt return muff, and the quarter change. Naturally, a chilled-out Boyd went 3-and-out on that series.
- TIME OF POSSESSION: South Carolina 19:42, Clemson 10:18.
- THIRD DOWNS: South Carolina 8-for-11, Clemson 2-for-5.
- TOTAL PLAYS: South Carolina 45, Clemson 27. And that’s with the Tigers getting the ball first and ending the half on a 10-play drive.
That means that sandwiched between the half-opening and half-ending drives, South Carolina ran 45 of 55 snaps. Holy …
- On third-and-8+, Florida State was 4-for-6. Tonight, South Carolina is 5-for-6. All of Clemson’s other opponents this year were 13-for-80.
- With Bryce Petty getting picked today, Connor Shaw is two quarters away from being the only quarterback in Division I with 10 or more touchdowns and just one interception. And Shaw has 20 touchdowns and one interception.
- You’d say going into it that Clemson had the advantage at wide receiver and South Carolina had the advantage at running back. Not so tonight.
Bruce Ellington (3 for 50), Shaq Roland (3 for 40) and Damiere Byrd (2 for 22) have been far more consistent for USC; outside of Sammy Watkins’ 57-yarder, the Tigers’ threats have been silenced. Martavis Bryant does not have a catch; don’t remember him getting a target this half either.
Meanwhile, Clemson RB Roderick McDowell’s played like a man possessed: 9 touches, 100 yards (that’s 8 for 72 on the ground, and a 28-yard catch.) Meanwhile, the SEC’s leading rusher per game (Mike Davis) has nine carries for 10 yards.
- Two turnovers involving Adam Humphries. But neither was particularly his fault. The Sammy Watkins toss was floated, allowing safety Brison Williams to race over and pick it off from a wide-open Humphries. Then the punt return bounced off his chest, but it was Martavis Bryant who bumped into Humphries and put the Tigers in position to cough it up.
- USC defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, recognized in Senior Day festivities as likely his last home game, got his first sack since Sept. 14 and third of the year. Boyd scrambled right into Clowney’s grasp when Brandon Thomas couldn’t grab ahold of No. 7.
- USC fullback Connor McLaurin made his first career catch to pick up 15 yards.