Clemson’s 56-7 victory over rival South Carolina last year was one of the more dominant wins by one team over the other in the history of the 114-year old rivalry.
How dominating was it?
Here are a few facts about the Tigers’ 49-point win in Death Valley.
- The 49-point margin of victory is the largest ever by an ACC school over an SEC school. The previous record also came in a Clemson-South Carolina game, when the Tigers topped the Gamecocks 63-17 in 2003, a 46-point margin of victory. It’s the second largest margin of victory in the history of the rivalry, only topped by the 1900 team’s 51-point victory over the Gamecocks.
- Clemson’s 56 points are the most against South Carolina since the 2003 game.
- The seven points by South Carolina were the fewest against the Tigers since also scoring just seven points in the 2004 game, a 29-7 Clemson victory.
- The Tigers amassed 622 yards of total offense and 40 first downs in the victory, all-time records for Clemson against South Carolina.
- Clemson held South Carolina to a season-low 218 yards of total offense, including a season-low 107 passing yards. It is the fewest by the Gamecocks against the Tigers since 2004, when Clemson held them to 197 yards of total offense.
- The Tigers had a 100-yard rusher and a 100-yard receiver, as Wayne Gallman rushed for 112 yards and Mike Williams totaled 100 receiving yards.
- Clemson led South Carolina 21-0 at the end of the first quarter. It is the first time since 2003 that Clemson led the Gamecocks 21-0 at the end of the first quarter. It was also the most points in any quarter against South Carolina since that 2003 contest.
- South Carolina did not manage a first down in the contest until the 12:28 mark of the second quarter, coming on its 17th offensive play of the game.
- Clemson’s 35 first-half points were the most against South Carolina since the 2003 game, when the Tigers also totaled 35 points in the first half.
- Deshaun Watson’s career-high-tying six touchdown passes were the most by any quarterback in the history of the rivalry.
But none of those facts mattered to South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley. He, in not so many words, claimed the Gamecocks were more responsible for the 49-point loss than anything Clemson did.
“Everyone knew they were not that much better than us or better than us at all,” he said last May to Fox Carolina News.
Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell said on Monday they heard Bentley’s comments last May and he respects it, however…
“We hear the talk. We don’t really listen to it,” the redshirt sophomore said. “Obviously he’s a competitor, so he’s going to think that his team is just as good as ours or any team they play and they can compete, which you should.
“So obviously you can’t really get into that. It’s more so just about what you do on the field and when you go out there and show it. Last year they didn’t really put on the performance that they wanted to. But we definitely know at home this year, night game, last game of the season for them, they’re definitely going to want to come out and kind of put this one to bed. They feel like last year was kind of a mistake on their part, so we have to come out and be ready to play.”
In that same interview last May, Bentley told Fox Carolina that Clemson’s 49-point win is what started its mantra for this season … “Never Again.”
“We just did not play well that week,” he said. “That is our big quote going into this year, just feel like we got out worked … so our big thing is never again will we be out worked. Never again, will we be out competed in a game like that.
“It all stems from that game.”
The “Never Again” mantra so far has led the Gamecocks to an 8-3 record heading into Saturday’s Palmetto Bowl with second-ranked Clemson. However, is it good enough to get South Carolina past a Clemson team that is playing for a whole lot more than just bragging rights this week.
Is it good enough to prove Bentley’s claim that South Carolina is just as talented as Clemson?
“Never Again…? I don’t really have too many thoughts on that,” Ferrell said. “I mean it’s going to be up to us on if that is true or not, so really we just have to go out there and not worry about what they have to say.
“We know at the end of the day it’s about going out there, players making plays. Who’s going to go out and be the most physically tough team out there? So we’re just going to have to see on Saturday.”