NO.8 CLEMSON LOSES STUNNER TO GAMECOCKS 31-30, SNAPPING HISTORIC STREAKS
- 2022-11-27 19:52:20
CLEMSON, SC - Turnovers have plagued the Tigers for 5 straight games now, and they cost them a second loss and an appearance in the College Football Playoff, while snapping a historic 40-game home win streak in Death Valley, giving the Gamecocks their first win in the rivalry in 9 years. I thought that the Gamecocks' 25-point win over No.5 Tennessee last week was a one-time anomaly, but Spencer Rattler and the Gamecocks proved me wrong. They followed it up with another great performance, and you could say that the Tigers were outcoached to an extent. For example, the excellent 4th and one play call in the 2nd quarter caught the Tigers completely off guard. Mukuba ran the player down and prevented a touchdown, and Mickens came up with an interception, but the Tigers gave up big play after big play in the game, and the offense could not overcome terrible field position all day long. I can't remember a game in which the punter should be named MVP, but the Gamecocks' Kroeger, who I mentioned in my preview, would be worthy of such. I can't remember seeing a punter pin a team inside the 5 yard line 3 times in a game, and that was a huge reason for the Tigers' loss. But in the end, the 3 turnovers, including fumbles by Mafah and Antonio Williams, cost the Tigers the game more than anything else. Also, the Gamecocks' tight end Adkins (#44) had the game of his life, and they don't win the game otherwise. He had just 4 catches all season and doubled that on Saturday, including a one-handed catch for 30 yards that set up a touchdown.
DJ did not have a good game either, but he is far from the reason the Tigers lost, despite what most Clemson fans will want to say. In addition to the two fumbles that weren't his fault, receivers dropped passes that hit them in the hands, the offensive line did a poor job giving DJ time, the receivers couldn't get separation, and the defense gave up too many big plays. DJ made some bad throws too, but none of the rest is his fault, and the Tigers still would have won if not for the late fumble by Antonio Williams, the Columbia native who has been one of the Tigers' best players all season. And I'm very incredulous that putting Cade in would have made a difference. He has done very little with his opportunities this season, and when Dabo put him in at Notre Dame, he immediately threw a bad interception to set up a touchdown.
The Tigers did a lot of good things in the game, although it won't take the sting out of this loss. Shipley rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown on 8.8 yards per carry, and Dabo said after the game that he regretted not feeding him the ball more. Trotter had a big pick-six, and Mickens had the score-saving interception as well and Ruke had a sack in the end zone for a safety. The defense had 3 sacks and 11 tackles-for-loss but just gave up too many big plays, including a couple coverage busts by Mukuba, who had one last week against Miami as well.
Before Saturday, the Tigers were 76-1 under Dabo when rushing for 200 yards or more with the only loss in the 2009 ACC Championship when neither team punted the entire game, and it came down to the final possession. They were 126-2 when leading after 3 quarters. The only losses were the 2015 national championship against Alabama and the 2014 overtime loss at defending champ FSU when the Tigers fumbled with the game-winning field goal in their pocket!
It's a tough day for Clemson fans, but try to put things into perspective. This is how Gamecock fans have felt for 9 long years. Clemson fans will undoubtedly go off the deep end and want all kinds of changes to be made, but the biggest change that needs to be made, in my opinion, is bringing Jeff Scott back to coach the receivers. They haven't been the same since he left. The Tigers have continued to bring in 4-star recruits, but they haven't developed and performed the way they did under Scott. There were never chronic issues with dropped passes or receivers not getting open on their routes like we've seen over the past two seasons. Speaking of the receivers, Dabo told me after the game that Beaux Collins left the game because his separated shoulder that caused him to miss the previous two games popped back out. It was right after Collins made a 59-yard catch. So they will be without him in Charlotte and likely the bowl game as well.
There will be no playoff again for the Tigers, but they still have an opportunity to win a 21st ACC Championship and 7th in the last 8 years, as well as an Orange Bowl, possibly against Ohio State, and finish 12-2 if they can stop turning the ball over! I'll have more analysis after I watch the tape. In the meantime, post-game interviews, highlights and notes are below.
- Clemson rushed for 237 yards, its fifth 200-yard rushing performance of the season.
- Clemson dropped to 76-2 when rushing for 200 yards under Dabo Swinney. Saturday’s game joined the 2009 ACC Championship Game as the only games under Swinney in which Clemson has rushed for 200 yards and lost.
- Clemson has rushed for 200 yards in each of its last four games against South Carolina.
- Clemson recorded a 17-14 advantage in first downs and is now 123-3 since 2011 when recording more first downs than its opponent.
- Clemson has scored at least one rushing touchdown in a national-best 66 of its 67 games since the start of the 2018 season. Clemson has rushed for multiple touchdowns in 55 of those games, also the nation’s most.
- Running back Will Shipley gained 132 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown.
- The 100-yard rushing game was Shipley’s eighth of his career and fifth of the season. Clemson dropped to 61-3 when having a 100-yard rusher since 2011.
- On a 47-yard first quarter carry, Shipley (career-high 1,092 rushing yards this season) broke the 1,000-yard mark to produce the 23rd 1,000-yard rushing season in Clemson history.
- Shipley’s 1,092 rushing yards this season are now the 14th-most in a season in school history.
- Shipley recorded his 14th rushing touchdown of the season on an 11-yard run in the third quarter. In doing so, Shipley (14) moved into the Top 10 in Clemson history in rushing touchdowns in a single season, joining a previous four-way tie for seventh (14 each by Fred Cone in 1950, Cliff Austin in 1982, Emory Smith in 1995 and Travis Etienne in 2020).
- With 150 yards of total offense, quarterback DJ Uiagalelei (3,056) surpassed 3,000 yards of total offense in a season for the first time in his career. His career-high 3,056 yards of total offense this season include 2,511 passing yards and 545 rushing yards, both career highs.
- Uiagalelei rushed for a touchdown in a third consecutive game for the first time in his career. It marked the first time a Clemson quarterback has rushed for a touchdown in three straight games since Trevor Lawrence accomplished the feat in the final three games of his career in 2020.
- Uiagalelei recorded his seventh rushing touchdown of the season on a nine-yard touchdown run, adding to his single-season career high.
- Uiagalelei’s 2022 season marks the 10th time since 2000 that a Clemson quarterback has rushed for at least seven touchdowns in a season.
- Uiagalelei also recorded his first career punt, a 48-yarder, late in the first half. It was the first punt by a Clemson quarterback since Kelly Bryant’s 45-yard punt at NC State in 2017.
- Wide receiver Beaux Collins returned after missing the last two games with a shoulder injury. In the second quarter, Collins recorded a 59-yard reception from Uiagalelei, tying Clemson’s longest play from scrimmage of the season, a 59-yarder from Uiagalelei to Antonio Williams at Florida State.
- Wide receiver Antonio Williams scored his fourth receiving touchdown of the season on an 11-yard pass from Uiagalelei in the second quarter.
- On the play, Uiagalelei (36) passed Nealon Greene (35 from 1994-97) for sole possession of the seventh-most career touchdown passes in Clemson history.
- With his second reception of the game, Williams (50) recorded the first 50-catch season by a Clemson freshman since 2014 (76, Artavis Scott). He joined DeAndre Hopkins (2010), Sammy Watkins (2011) and Scott (2014) as the only four Clemson freshmen since 2010 to catch 50 passes.
- Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. opened the scoring on a 35-yard interception return for touchdown on South Carolina’s second drive.
- The defensive touchdown by Trotter was Clemson’s first of the 2022 season.
- Trotter’s interception return for touchdown was Clemson’s first since Mario Goodrich’s pick-six in the 2021 Cheez-It Bowl.
- The interception was Trotter’s second of the season and his first since Sept. 17 against Louisiana Tech.
- Trotter’s interception return touchdown was the first in Clemson’s series with South Carolina since 2017, when Ryan Carter returned an interception 12 yards for a touchdown.
- Trotter also recorded a sack in the fourth quarter, giving him a sack in consecutive games for the first time this season.
- Clemson’s second tackle for loss of the game, a goal-line stop by cornerback Nate Wiggins, made Clemson the first program to reach 1,250 TFLs since 2012 (1,259).
- Clemson tied its season high with 11 tackles for loss, matching its 11 at Boston College in October.
- Defensive tackle Ruke Orhorhoro forced Spencer Rattler into an intentional grounding in the end zone in the second quarter, resulting in a sack for Clemson’s second safety in as many weeks.
- The sack was Orhorhoro’s career-high third of the season.
- Clemson has now recorded multiple safeties in a season for the first time since 2014. It marked Clemson’s first time recording a safety in back-to-back games since 1992 against North Carolina and Maryland.
- Safety R.J. Mickens recorded his career-high third interception of the season late in the second quarter, ending a South Carolina drive that had reached the Clemson one-yard line.
- Clemson’s second takeaway of the game gave the Tigers multiple takeaways in three consecutive games for the first time since the final three regular season games of 2021.
- Defensive end K.J. Henry and linebacker Wade Woodaz shared Clemson’s second sack of the game.
- Placekicker B.T. Potter made his 52nd career start at placekicker to tie the Clemson record at the position set by Chandler Catanzaro (52 from 2010-13).
- Potter scored in his 52nd consecutive game. Potter has scored in every game since earning the starting placekicking job prior to the 2019 season after serving as the team's kickoff specialist in 2018. The Clemson record is 53 games, set by Chandler Catanzaro from 2010-13.
- Punter Aidan Swanson recorded a 52-yard second-quarter punt that went out of bounds at the South Carolina two-yard line. He finished the game with three punts of 50-plus yards and four downed inside the 20, both single-game career h ighs.
- Antonio Williams recorded a career-long 23-yard punt return in the third quarter, surpassing his 20-yard return at Boston College.
- Clemson and South Carolina continued a rivalry that had been contested for 111 consecutive years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and the series’ resumption in 2021. Before the series’ interruption, it was the nation’s second-longest uninterrupted series.
- The game was the 1,300th in Clemson history.
- The defeat concluded Clemson’s ACC-record 40-game home winning streak. Clemson’s streak tied the 1907-18 Notre Dame Fighting Irish for the eighth-longest streak in FBS history and is one of only nine streaks of 40 or more consecutive home wins.
- Each of the nation’s two longest active home winning streaks ended this weekend, as Clemson’s 40-game home win streak and Cincinnati’s 32-game home winning streak both concluded on Thanksgiving weekend.
- Clemson’s winning streak in the series concluded at seven games (2014-21), tied for the longest streak by either team in series history.
- Clemson’s seniors concluded their four-year tenures with a 25-1 home record. The group’s 96.2 percent four-year home winning percentage is the seventh-highest in school history and its 25 home wins are the ninth-most in school history.
- The game represented Clemson’s first loss in a game in which it led at halftime since 2016. Clemson entered the game as the only Power Five team in the country not to have lost a game in which it led at halftime since 2017.
- Clemson dropped to 126-3 since 2011 when leading after three quarters. Clemson had won its last 67 games in which it carried a lead into the fourth quarter.
- The defeat was Clemson’s first at home against a non-conference opponent since 2012. Clemson had won 26 consecutive non-conference home games before Saturday. Clemson is 34-4 in non-conference play at Death Valley under Dabo Swinney.
- Clemson dropped to 11-2 in its last 13 regular season games against SEC opponents.
- Captains for the contest were defensive end K.J. Henry, offensive tackle Jordan McFadden, placekicker B.T. Potter and tight end Luke Price.
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