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Clemson Football

Rivalry Weak: Clemson blasts South Carolina 30-0, wins 7th consecutive Palmetto Bowl

November 28, 2021
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Amid optimistic Gamecock fans, Clemson (9-3, 6-2) waltzed into Williams-Brice Stadium, and pitched a shutout, the first in the series since 1989, dominating South Carolina 30-0, en route to the Tigers’ seventh consecutive win what has become a lopsided rivalry.

Back in September many fans believed the in-state rivalry would deliver another Clemson blowout, especially given that the Tigers were a preseason Top 5 team and South Carolina (6-6, 3-5) was just hoping first-year head coach Shane Beamer could get things headed in the right direction.

Instead, as we closed in on the late November matchup, rivalry week was filled with the feeling that the Tigers and Gamecocks might be in for a battle, as Clemson’s season has underwhelmed and the Gamecocks exceeded expectations, becoming bowl eligible last weekend with a 21-17 win over Auburn.

But once foot met ball on Saturday night in Columbia, the storyline in the Palmetto State remained the same-- Clemson by a mile-- as Dabo Swinney’s squad dealt Beamer his first career shutout and another 365 gut-wrenching days for South Carolina fans.

Swinney, now the first coach to win seven straight in the series, relished in his defense pitching a shutout.

“We’ve had a bunch of great defenses,” Swinney said after the game. “But we haven’t had one shut these guys (South Carolina) out."

“We’ve had a bunch of great defenses,” Swinney said after the game. “But we haven’t had one shut these guys (South Carolina) out."

The Gamecocks' hopes were dampened quickly as the Tigers took the opening kickoff and raced 73 yards on seven plays, capped by a 29-yard touchdown from freshman running back Will Shipley, to take an early 7-0 lead.

That blow certainly wasn’t a knockout, but it was a reminder that while the Tigers might not have the resume of the previous Clemson teams that beat the Garnet and Black, they weren’t intimidated by the 79,897 fans in attendance.

Clemson’s offense featured a new two-back look and the Tigers pounded the football on the ground, following up last weekend’s 333-yard performance against Wake Forest, with another great day rushing for 265 yards against the Gamecocks. 

"There’s nothing more demoralizing to a team than to have the ball run on you,” Offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said after the game.

The Tigers showcased a three-headed monster in Will Shipley, Kobe Pace, and Phil Mafah, as the trio combined for 229 yards on 37 attempts with each running back adding a touchdown in the contest. 

Elliott noted that he’s enjoyed watching the running back room develop this year after early attrition and other issues slowed the groups’ progress.

“It’s fun. Just to watch what C.J. (Spiller) has been able to do in that room,” Elliott said. “To be able to bring the best out of them— the type of young men that they are.” 

David Grooms
Clemson’s Kobe Pace breaks into the open field against South Carolina on Saturday night. 

Elliott said the Tigers utilized the new two-back set so that they could get their best players on the field.

​​“We’ve done a little bit of that,” Elliott said of the formation. “It was just ‘let’s get the best personnel on the field.’” 

Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei finished the game 9-of-19 for 99 yards with an interception, but even lackluster numbers through the air were more than enough against South Carolina as the Tigers defense was stifling all night long, keeping the Gamecocks scoreless for the first time since a 28-0 loss to Virginia in the Belk Bowl in 2018.

The Tiger defense was simply relentless, including stellar play at defensive back from Andrew Booth Jr., who intercepted Gamecock starting quarterback Jason Brown twice.

“Aw, he was awesome,” Swinney said of Booth. “Really proud of him. It’s great to see him play like that down here.” 

The Tigers were also led by Baylon Spector and James Skalski as the ‘Bruise Brothers’ picked up six tackles each.

Kicker B.T. Potter finished a perfect 3-for-3 on field goals, helping extend Clemson’s lead throughout the game.

Clemson will now await their bowl destination finishing the regular season in style.

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Rivalry Weak: Clemson blasts South Carolina 30-0, wins 7th consecutive Palmetto Bowl

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