(Saturday, November 27th)
Final Score: (18) South Carolina 29, Clemson 7
Clemson, SC (Sports Network) - Stephen Garcia passed for 227 yards and two touchdowns, leading No. 18 South Carolina to a 29-7 rout of rival Clemson in Death Valley.
Alshon Jeffery caught five passes for 141 yards and a touchdown for the Gamecocks (9-3), who closed their regular season with four consecutive wins and will face Auburn in the SEC championship game next Saturday.
"Next week is one of the biggest games that our team has ever played," said South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier. "We're looking forward to it. We've got a bunch of guys that like going on big stages. It was a big stage here tonight, and it was a big stage down in Florida. But the really big stage is down in Atlanta."
It has been a standout regular season for South Carolina, which had already captured the SEC East for the first time and won nine games for just the third time in school history.
Saturday's non-conference battle marked the Gamecocks' second-consecutive victory over Clemson. It was the first time South Carolina did that since winning three in a row from 1968-70.
Kyle Parker completed only 7-of-17 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown, and was intercepted once as the Tigers (6-6) lost for the third time in their last five games.
"This was a very disappointing game. We didn't play smart," said Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney. "South Carolina is a very good team and you can't give a good team easy points like we did with the interception and penalties. I am just very disappointed in how we played, I can't put it any other way."
Clemson scored on the game's opening possession, moving 73 yards in only four plays. Parker completed a 30-yard pass to DeAndre Hopkins to get across midfield, and two plays later found Hopkins for a 45-yard touchdown.
The Gamecocks countered with a 46-yard field goal by Spencer Lanning, and dominated after that.
Clemson was set to punt with about five minutes left in the first quarter when kicker Dawson Zimmerman lost control of the ball. Brian Maddox recovered and advanced the ball to the Tigers' five-yard line, and Garcia found Patrick DiMarco in the right side of the end zone on the next play from scrimmage. The extra point attempt was blocked, though, keeping South Carolina's lead at 9-7.
The Gamecocks reached the end zone again on their next possession, on Garcia's 37-yard strike to Jeffery. The receiver wrestled control from a defensive back to complete the 85-yard drive and give South Carolina a 16-7 advantage.
South Carolina was in total control from that point forward, mostly because of its defense. Every Clemson possession following its first ended in either a punt, fumble or interception.
Lanning connected on a 25-yarder with 8:22 left in the second quarter to give South Carolina a 19-7 lead at the break, and Antonio Allen returned an interception for a score about five minutes into the third. Lanning's 37-yard kick later in the quarter completed the scoring.
Garcia completed 14-of-30 passes...Clemson redshirt freshman quarterback Tajh Boyd came in to complete 10-of-18 passes for 73 yards...The Tigers still hold a 65-39-4 advantage all-time against South Carolina...The Gamecocks held the ball for 34:43.
11/28 01:47:28 ET