CLEMSON, S.C. — South Carolina averaged just 1.7 yards per carry. The Gamecocks were sacked three times and 11 times they were tackled behind the line of scrimmage.
Clemson had two interceptions. One it returned for seven points and the other came in its own end zone to prevent seven points. The Tigers also recorded a safety to score two more points.
Yet, despite all of those good things, South Carolina beat No. 8 Clemson, 31-30, for the first time since 2013, snapping the Tigers’ seven-game win streak in the series.
“It is very disappointing because somehow, we gave up thirty-one other points,” Clemson defensive coordinator Wes Goodwin said.
The Gamecocks (8-4) had five explosive offensive plays in the game, including a 72-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Spencer Rattler to wide receiver Antwane Wells and a 65-yard completion to running back Juju McDowell.
“Credit to them. They made more plays than we did,” Goodwin said. “They out executed us in some areas, and we could not get enough stops.”
South Carolina also had a 34-yard pass to wide receiver Josh Vann, a 32-yard pass to tight end Nate Adkins and a 23-yard pass to wide receiver Jalen Brooks.
“They definitely had some good play calls today,” said Clemson linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, who returned a first-quarter interception 35 yards for a touchdown. “Overall, it is still on us. We have to make plays too, as players. We have to make more plays than them in order to win the game.
“We respect them, they made the plays. They really balled out. They really fought today, too.”
South Carolina beat Clemson (10-2) through the air. Rattler, who was coming off a 438-yard-and-six touchdown-performance against then No. 5 Tennessee the week before, threw for 360 yards and two touchdowns, while completing 25-of-39 passes.
He averaged 9.2 yards per attempt, though 226 of it came on five passes.
“A couple of guys got out of position. I don’t know if it was initial footwork or bad eyes or exactly what it was,” Goodwin said. “But just not be disciplined and detailed at critical moments and credit to them. They made the right play call at the right time and out executed us in some areas.”
Clemson will try to regroup and fix things fast as they try to win an ACC Championship next Saturday against No. 17 North Carolina in Charlotte.