COLUMBIA — Clemson’s defense dominated rival South Carolina like it never has before.
The third-ranked Tigers held the Gamecocks to 174 total yards in Saturday’s 38-3 victory at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia. The 174 yards and three points are the fewest by a South Carolina team against Clemson since the Tigers’ 45-0 win in 1989 when they held the Gamecocks to 155 total yards.
Another one of the Tigers’ goals on Saturday was to keep their former teammate, running back Tavien Feaster, out of the end zone.
“We were talking trash during the game. It was all jokes,” safety Denzel Johnson said. “But yeah, it is (rewarding). We did not want him to score.”
Feaster, who graduated from Clemson in August and transferred to South Carolina the next week, was held to 47 yards rushing on 12 carries, while catching four passes for just eight yards. The Spartanburg native did break off an 18-yard run, but it came in the third quarter with Clemson already in control of the game.
“It was a lot of fun,” linebacker Isaiah Simmons said about playing against his former teammate. “It was probably the most fun I had in a game this year to play against him. It was just a lot of fun.”
Despite the loss, and despite it being his last college football game, Feaster enjoyed playing against his old teammates, while becoming the first player since 1947 to play for both Clemson and South Carolina in the 117-year history of the rivalry.
“Just playing against those guys it was joyful,” he said. “We did not get the outcome we wanted, but it was just a joyful moment for me.”
As Clemson moves on to the ACC Championship Game and perhaps another berth in the College Football Playoff, Feaster says he is now a Tiger fan the rest of the way.
“I am going to pull for them regardless,” he said. “I spent three years there and I want to see those guys, you know, my teammates, do well. So, there is no bad (blood). It is all love with them.”
And though there was no bad blood, the Tigers (12-0) were very satisfied that Feaster did not find the end zone against them.
“I talked to him earlier in the week and I told him I was going to have to shut him down,” Simmons said while smiling.
Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables said the game plan was not to stop Feaster, it was to stop whoever the Gamecocks handed the ball to. However, he was not going to lie. When Feaster but on a South Carolina jersey, he drew a line.
“When you put on one jersey or the other you are drawing a line in this state. That’s what it is about,” Venables said. “But players play the game. I don’t ever try to insert myself into it whatsoever. I just want to play well, so if that means he is not scoring, great.
“I know they were going to try and isolate our backers. I think he had eight yards with four catches, so the guys did a really nice job positioning themselves.”
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