Page last updated on Sun Nov 29 12:42:27 EST 2015
12/01/2013 12:08 PM EST
Shaw leads No. 10 South Carolina to 31-17 victory
SOUTH CAROLINA 31, CLEMSON 17
By PETE IACOBELLI
AP Sports Writer
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw was
thrilled with his accomplishments Saturday, even if they didn't
lead the 10th-ranked Gamecocks to the Southeastern Conference
Shaw threw for one touchdown and rushed for another to lead
South Carolina to its record fifth straight over No. 6 Clemson
with 31-17 victory Saturday night.
"Connor Shaw, ah man, the best quarterback in school history,"
Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said. "He's probably the
difference maker completely for us."
Gamecock players rushed to the student section in celebration of
the unprecedented win. They'd hoped to have more to celebrate as
SEC Eastern Division champs, but No. 5 Missouri defeated No. 19
Texas A&M 28-21 about 45 minutes after South Carolina's win to
eliminate the Gamecocks (10-2).
Shaw moved to 26-5 all-time as a starter and ended his career a
perfect 17-0 at home in the sweetest way possible.
"This is why we came to South Carolina," Shaw said.
The Tigers (10-2) had never lost five consecutive games to their
rival in a series that began in 1896 - which they still lead
65-42-4. The loss also left record-setting quarterback Tajh Boyd
0-for-4 against the Gamecocks.
"We've been achieving things no one at South Carolina's done
before," cornerback Victor Hampton said. "I told the boys,
`Don't stop at five.' Keep going."
There's no reason to think they won't - and using the same
formula of ball control and timely turnovers.
South Carolina forced six turnovers, four of them in the final
quarter as Clemson (10-2) tried to rally back after Mike Davis'
2-yard TD run broke a 17-all time with 11:47 to go.
"Just give them credit. We never had six turnovers before,"
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "That wasn't part of the
The Gamecocks have a chance at a third straight 11-win season in
their bowl. They had just one 10-win season in their history
before Spurrier arrived after the 2004 season.
South Carolina put things away with two touchdowns in the fourth
quarter to break away from 17-all tie. After Davis' TD, Pharoh
Cooper threw a 26-yard TD pass to Brandon Wilds that put things
out of reach.
Clemson left the field defeated again and wondering why an
offense that sets records in every other game struggles at the
hands of its rivals.
"They're a good team that continues not playing very well
against us," Spurrier said.
The most crushing miscues came in fourth quarter when defensive
end Chaz Sutton ripped the ball from Boyd's arms with the Tigers
driving for the tying score deep in South Carolina territory
When the Clemson forced a punt moments later, Adam Humphries
fumbled the punt back to South Carolina. That's when Cooper pass
to Wilds put the game out of reach.
Boyd, always a step behind in the rivalry, gave the sold-out
crowd at Williams-Brice two final mistakes to cheer about with a
pair of interceptions in the final four minutes.
Boyd finishes his career throwing five interceptions and getting
sacked 19 times in four games with South Carolina.
"We hurt ourselves for the most part every time we play these
guys," he said.
Shaw completed 14 of 26 for 152 yards and a 9-yard TD throw to
Shaq Roland. Shaw also ran for 94 yards and a 3-yard touchdown.
Clemson was desperately trying to escape the 365-day-a-year yoke
of its long, long series losing streak coming in. Boyd, the
one-time Heisman Trophy contender, has chalked up 57 school and
Atlantic Coast Conference records in his career, yet had always
come up short in the season-ending game.
Boyd even took a sack by Jadeveon Clowney, who taunted the
quarterback this summer by saying he was scared of South
Carolina's defensive front. Clowney hadn't had a sack since
Sept. 14 against Vanderbilt in game three, but put Boyd down to
stop a second-quarter drive.
Boyd ended 19 of 27 for 225 yards with two interceptions. He was
sacked five times.
Boyd came out firing on Clemson's first drive, going 5 for 5 and
leading the Tigers to the South Carolina 30. That's when Watkins
underthrew Humphries on a half-back pass and Brison Williams
moved in for an easy interception.
Shaw led a steady, 17-play march down the field that ended with
the senior's lunging, 3-yard TD. The 17 plays marked the longest
Gamecocks scoring drive of the year.
It didn't take long for Clemson to answer back, Boyd finding
Watkins for a 57-yard catch and run. Two plays later, Boyd tied
things on his 8-yard run.
The Tigers looked like they might gain back the momentum after
forcing a South Carolina punt. But Humphries and Martavis Bryant
collided and Gamecocks linebacker Skai Moore recovered.
Shaw had a 16-yard pass to Connor McLaurin to get to Clemson's
8, then followed that with a TD pass to Shaq Roland.
Clemson cut the lead to 17-10 at the end of the half on Chandler
Catanzaro's 38-yard field goal. The Tigers had averaged 30
points in the first half of their past four games. They had not
been held to this few since trailing Florida State 27-7 after
two quarters on Oct. 19.
Clowney, Hampton and defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles are all
juniors who took a bow on Senior Day. The trio is expected to
head to the NFL after this season.
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