COLUMBIA — Steve Spurrier didn’t appreciate his Gatorade bath Saturday night after No. 10 South Carolina’s 31-17 victory over No. 6 Clemson.
“You’re supposed to do that for bowl games,” the Head Ball Coach complained, “not for home victories.”
Yes, just another win over Clemson (a school-record five in a row), one more happy outing at Williams-Brice Stadium (18-0 at home since a 2011 loss to Auburn).
Spurrier seriously gets it. He kept repeating how “blessed” his Gamecocks are. He likes this exceptionally young team with a 10-2 record.
But some Gamecocks fans — you know the nouveau riche type — think this is easy. You eat turkey on Thursday, shop on Friday, beat Clemson on Saturday.
South Carolina students get Clemson victory vouchers with their tuition receipts, right? And what a deal this year, the latest Gamecocks win over Clemson comes nicely wrapped with a garnet and black bow attached by quarterback Connor Shaw and a bunch of opportunistic teammates.
Of course, South Carolina fans old enough to remember the George W. Bush administration and old movies such as “Slumdog Millionaire” and “The Dark Knight” know Clemson dominance is harder than Latin algebra.
We are living through a Gamecocks streak so admirable, the likes of it might not happen again in our lifetime. Or, until Dabo Swinney opens a Gamecocks ornament booth on Market Street.
Tougher than it looked
Five in a row for South Carolina over Clemson, which, by the way, leads this series 65-42-4.
Degree of difficulty Saturday night: Very.
It was tougher than it looked, requiring the first three Clemson turnovers to stay afloat and the last three to put the game away.
“They’re all similar scores,” Spurrier said of the five straight double-digit wins in the series, “and fortunately we got ahead enough where we can relax a little bit the last minute of the game. But they have turnovers.”
Yes, a half dozen for Clemson on Saturday night.
Zero for South Carolina.
“That’s four home games in a row without a turnover,” Spurrier pointed out.
Contrary to the popular wisdom of George Rogers Boulevard, Clemson is getting better, not worse.
No. 6 this week.
The Tigers were No. 12 during Rivalry Week of 2012.
No. 18 in 2011.
Unranked in 2010.
The Tigers arrived at Williams-Brice Stadium ranked four spots higher than South Carolina, which means a lot of humans and computers considered Clemson the better team.
But they couldn’t handle Shaw’s steely nerves on third down, early and late.
“I thought our offense played really well in the first half, made some plays on third down to keep ourselves on the field,” the senior quarterback said. “We had great time of possession.”
Oh, what might have been for Clemson.
“It’s hard to beat a team of this caliber when you turn the ball over like that,” Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris said. “Or beat a team of any caliber. It’s hard to beat a middle school team.”
Six fewer turnovers and it might be different in 2014 at Death Valley.
The streak has to end sometime. Doesn’t it?
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff
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