COLUMBIA – Clemson is in control, 30 minutes away from a 12-0 regular season as the top-ranked Tigers lead South Carolina 14-3 at the orange slices.
- Deon Cain: the perfect fill-in for Mike Williams (who, by the way, was on the sideline in a t-shirt, shorts and no neck brace) caught a 55-yard touchdown in stride, fighting off USC cornerback Al Harris Jr. to make this his fifth straight game with a touchdown reception. Cain has three grabs for 80 yards.
- Deshaun Watson leapt and tumbled for a 5-yard score, making this his seventh game with a rushing touchdown.
- Cornerback Adrian Baker picked up his second career interception when Perry Orth was looking for D.J. Neal, and both were in the red zone. Baker also intercepted Florida State’s Sean Maguire to shift momentum in that game.
Been thinking that South Carolina putting together a 10-play drive lasting nearly five minutes, resulting in that Baker pick rather than points to take an early lead, was about where the Gamecocks’ upset chances fell off a cliff.
- Perry Orth is 4-for-13. The Gamecocks overall have completed five of 15 passes for 44 yards, or 2.93 yards an attempt.
- Clemson failed to score in the first quarter for just the second time this year, and couldn’t reach the end zone for the fourth time. Clemson was scoreless at Louisville, led Appalachian State 3-0 and trailed Florida State 7-3 after 15 minutes in prior games.
- Third-down conversion watch: Clemson 2-4, South Carolina 2-9, though one of the conversions was on 3rd-and-22 to Pharoh Cooper to get the Gamecocks inside the Tigers’ 10-yard-line in the final minute of the first half. Elliott Fry capitalized with a 21-yard field goal to get the Gamecocks on the board.
- When tailback Wayne Gallman fumbled it away (caused by Skai Moore, recovered by Rico McWilliams), it marked just his second career fumble in 396 total touches.
- With the mishandled handoff from Watson to Gallman: 23 turnovers this year, and nine in the last nine quarters. Like I tweeted, that stuff will get you beat on or well before January 11.
- Right guard Maverick Morris started his third straight game in relief of Tyrone Crowder, who did dress today and checked in on the Tigers’ second drive of the second quarter. Right tackle Joe Gore returned to the starting lineup, after coming off the bench last week when he missed a few practices due to personal reasons; last week’s starter, Jake Fruhmorgen, got some run in the first quarter. Hunter Renfrow started, not Germone Hopper, at receiver.
- On defense, the Tigers continue to use Mackensie Alexander at nickel with Cordrea Tankersley and Baker lining up at corner. Carlos Watkins and D.J. Reader started at defensive tackle, with Scott Pagano and Christian Wilkins rotating in on the second (extended) drive.
- Artavis Scott is back at punt return, but South Carolina’s running a crazy punt formation that’s forcing Scott to trot up to a midrange area. It’s working for the Gamecocks; Sean Kelly is averaging 50.5 yards on four punts with no returns.
- Scott did not have a touch until a 4-yard catch with 4:30 left in the first half.
- Gallman: eight carries, 75 yards, including a 27-yarder into USC territory. Jordan Leggett has a 25-yard catch.
- Total yards watch: Deshaun Watson 185, South Carolina 150.