CLEMSON, SC (WIS) - Earlier in the week, Will Muschamp recalled South Carolina’s first trip to Clemson under his leadership.
He said his players didn’t compete and it ultimately resulted in a lopsided loss. The Gamecocks didn’t have that issue this year, but they were still overmatched as Clemson pulled away in the second half to capture a 56-35 win over South Carolina giving the Tigers five straight wins over their rivals.
South Carolina gets off to a fast start again this week. Behind the passing of Jake Bentley, the Gamecocks marched 75 yards down the field and capped their opening drive with a 9-yard touchdown toss to Deebo Samuel to give the Gamecocks the early 7-0 lead with 10:41 to go.
Clemson responds with a touchdown of their own on their first drive of the night. Like Carolina, the Tigers moved 75 yards down the field. However, Dabo Swinney’s squad ended the series with a 1-yard touchdown run by Adam Choice to tie things up 7-7 with 6:17 left in the opening period.
Clemson extended their lead in the second quarter. The Tigers put together a 97-yard drive, their longest of the year, with defensive lineman Christian Wilkins scoring on the 1-yard run. Wilkins’ second rushing touchdown of the year made it a 21-7 game with 7:23 left in the half.
Clemson put together three scoring drives against the Gamecocks that spanned 95 yards or longer, a first in school history, according to Swinney.
The Gamecocks didn’t take long to cut the deficit. Jake Bentley tossed his second touchdown to Kiel Pollard, who got past the defense to score on the 67-yard touchdown reception. That made it 21-14.
Clemson once again took a double-digit lead with 4:49 left in the half. Adam Choice comes up with his second touchdown run of the night on a 2-yard run pushing Clemson ahead 28-14. But South Carolina didn’t take long to respond. Exactly 12 seconds later, Bentley heaved one deep to Deebo Samuel for 75 yards to cut the lead to 28-21.
There was plenty of offense to go around in the first half. Both teams combined for 709 yards in the first two quarters.
Clemson dominated the second half scoring 21 unanswered points in the third to double their cushion to 49-21. One of those touchdowns for Clemson’s was Travis Etienne’s 18th of the year, which is a new school record. Etienne had 28 carries for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
Adam Choice also recorded his third rushing touchdown of the night in the fourth quarter. Clemson ended the night with 744 yards of total offense.
Bentley helped the Gamecocks close the gap in the final quarter with two more touchdown passes. He finished the night 32-of-50 passing with career highs of 510 yards and five touchdowns.
Trevor Lawrence finished the night 27-of-36 passing with a career-high 393 yards and a touchdown for the Tigers.
Clemson moves to 12-0 on the season and will play for the ACC Championship in Charlotte on Saturday. South Carolina falls to 6-5 and will face Akron at home at noon.