By Lee Lance.
For the first time since 1970 South Carolina has beaten Clemson for two straight seasons. It all started when the security personnel allowed several Gamecock players to go to the top of the hill and touch Howard’s Rock before the game.
After striking first, quickly, scoring on the first drive of the game in just under two minutes, the Tiger offense never managed another scoring drive in a 29-7 loss to arch rival South Carolina Saturday night.
Kyle Parker connected with DeAndre Hopkins just two minutes into the game for a 45 yard touchdown pass, starting what would be a solid performance for Nuke, but not so solid performance for Parker. Hopkins would finish the game with seven catches for 124 yards.
South Carolina answered right back, denting the score board first with three points on a field goal, then next with a five yard touchdown pass from Stephen Garcia to Patrick DiMarco after a botched snap on a Tiger punt attempt gave the Gamecocks the ball at the Tiger five yard line. The extra point was blocked but the Gamecocks would take a 9-7 lead into the second quarter.
Starting the second quarter with the ball at the Tigers 41 yard line, the Gamecocks scored again quickly, capping off a five play, 85 yard drive with a 37 yard strike from Garcia to Alshon Jeffery for the touchdown. Lanning’s extra point put the Gamecocks up 16-7, just seven seconds into the second quarter.
Parker and the Tigers went three and out on the following possession and punted the ball back to the Carolina endzone, giving the Gamecocks the ball at their own 20 yard line. Ten plays and 72 yards later, they kicked another field goal, this one from 25 yards, and went up 19-7.
Six plays and twelve yards later, Zimmerman was on to punt again, this one was a 37 yard kick that was fair caught by Sanders at the South Carolina 29 yard line. The Tiger defense held the Gamecocks to a four and out and got the ball back on a Lanning punt, with Gilchrist returning it to the Clemson 20 yard line.
Once again though, the Tiger offense failed to make any noise and punted the ball back to South Carolina after just three plays. The Gamecocks moved the ball 33 yards to the Tiger’s 32 yard line but were forced to attempt a field goal from there, and missed it wide left, ending the first half up 19-7.
After kicking off to South Carolina to start the second half, the Tiger defense held and forced a punt that was fair caught by Gilchrist at the Tiger’s eight yard line. After two receptions and one run by Jamie Harper netted 32 yards, Kyle Parker rolled right and tossed an interception to Allen who returned it 37 yards for the Gamecocks third touchdown of the night. After a Lanning extra point, the Tigers found themselves further in a hole, down 26-7 just three minutes into the second half.
On the Tigers following offensive series, the Clemson coaches went with Tajh Boyd. Boyd completed on pass to Jaron Brown for seven yards, but two other passed fell incomplete, and the Tigers were again forced to punt the ball back to the Gamecocks.
After each team exchanged punts again, South Carolina mounted another scoring drive with four minutes left in the third period, a six play drive that was aided by two penalties by the Tigers for 20 extra yards. Lanning capped off the drive with a 37 yard field goal and making the score 29-7, Gamecocks.
The fourth quarter didn’t fair any better for the Tigers, but they were able to stop the bleeding a little and prevent any further scoring by the Gamecocks. Clemson did commit one turnover in the quarter, a fumble by Boyd on a sack play that was recovered by Robertson on the South Carolina 30 yard line.
Kyle Parker was 7-for-17 for 117 yards and one touchdown before being pulled in the third quarter in favor of Tajh Boyd.
Tajh Boyd went 10-for-18 for 73 yards and no touchdowns.
Jamie Harper had 16 carries for 65 yards.
DeAndre Hopkins had seven receptions for 124 yards and one touchdown.
Stay tuned to TheClemsonInsider for much more coming up from tonight’s game, including player and coaches interviews.