COLUMBIA — Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw three touchdown passes, two to Tee Higgins and one to Justyn Ross as the third-ranked Tigers rolled to a 24-3 halftime lead over rival South Carolina Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Lawrence finished the first half 18 of 24 for 232 yards. Higgins hauled in three passes for 101 yards to go with his two touchdowns, while Ross had seven catches for 88 yards.
The Tigers finished the first half with 314 total yards and 16 first downs. Clemson was 6-for-8 on third down.
The Gamecocks did have a 15-play, 76-yard drive in the second quarter that took 7:05 off the clock, but it ended with a 39-yard field goal by Parker White with 7:33 to play in the half. It was the best drive of the half for USC, who finished with 99 total yards and five first downs.
Clemson took a 7-0 lead following a Derion Kendrick interception on Ryan Hilinski’s second pass of the game. The interception came just a few plays after the Gamecocks stopped Travis Etienne for no gain on fourth down-and-goal from the 1-yard line.
Lawrence needed just three plays to find Higgins on a 10-yard pass in the corner of the end zone. That gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead with 6:58 to play in the opening quarter.
Clemson made it 14-0 on its next possession when Lawrence found Higgins down the middle for a 65-yard scoring play with 3:46 to in the first quarter.
After White’s field goal, Lawrence spotted Ross in the corner of the end zone on third down from the South Carolina 16. Initially Ross was ruled out of bounds, but replay overturned the ruling on the field. That gave the Tigers a 21-3 lead with 3:04 to go before halftime.
B.T. Potter added a 46-yard field goal as time expired for Clemson’s 24-3 lead.
Lawrence was 4-for-5 on third downs for 59 yards and two touchdowns, and also had a 21-yard scramble for a first down to another drive alive.