Nov. 24, 2012
CLEMSON, S.C. -- Head coach Steve Spurrier became the winningest coach in South Carolina history with 65 wins as the Gamecocks (10-2) defeated Clemson (10-2) 27-17 on Saturday evening for Carolina's fourth straight victory in the series vs. the Tigers. Sophomore quarterback Dylan Thompson went 23-for-41 for 310 yards in the air with three touchdown passes and sophomore defensive end Jadeveon Clowney tallied 4.5 sacks to set the single-season record at Carolina with 13 on the year.
The Gamecocks had a complete performance in all three phases. The Carolina offense totaled 444 yards on the day. Thompson connected six times to Ace Sanders for 119 yards, the most receiving yards by a Gamecock player this year as well as a touchdown. Bruce Ellington also had seven catches for 72 yards with two touchdowns. Carolina's defense limited the Tigers to just three points and 91 total yards in the second half. Adam Yates went 2-for-2 for field goals with Sanders tallying a 30-yard punt return to set the school's single-season record at 363 punt return yards.
With a 20-17 lead in the fourth quarter, the Gamecocks put together a 13-play 65-yard drive that was capped by a 6-yard touchdown pass from Ellington to Thompson that gave Carolina a commanding 10-point lead. That was enough for the defense as they stopped Clemson two more times with Clowney tallying a pair of sacks in the Tigers' final two possessions.
The Tigers struck first on their second possession of the game with a 16-play, 85-yard scoring drive that ate up more than six minutes of clock. Quarterback Tajh Boyd capped the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run on an option keeper to give Clemson a 7-0 lead with 5:27 left in the first quarter.
South Carolina responded on the ensuing possession to tie the game. Dylan Thompson completed passes of 9, 19, and 15 yards, and Kenny Miles added runs of 1 and 11 yards to set the Gamecocks up at the Clemson 13-yard line. Thompson then connected with Ellington for a 13-yard scoring strike to cap the seven-play, 63-yard scoring drive and knot the game at 7-7.
Clemson fired back with a quick scoring drive to regain the lead. Roderick McDowell broke free for a 32-yard run down the sideline. On the next play, Boyd lofted the ball to DeAndre Hopkins for a 43-yard touchdown pass, giving the Tigers a 14-7 advantage at the 1:22 mark of the first quarter.
The Gamecocks cut Clemson's lead to 14-10 late in the second quarter, as Yates drilled a 27-yard field goal to cap a 12-play, 79-yard drive at the 2:40 mark. On the drive, Thompson was 5-for-6 for 53 yards and had 27 yards on the ground.
Thompson took control on the opening possession of the second half and guided South Carolina on a 10-play, 85-yard scoring drive. On third and 16 from the Clemson 34, Thompson found Sanders across the middle, and Sanders shed a tackle and raced to the end zone for a 34-yard touchdown reception to give the Gamecocks a 17-14 lead with 11:48 remaining in the third stanza. Thompson completed four passes for 79 yards on the drive.
The teams then exchanged field goals. Yates extended South Carolina's lead on its next possession with a 43-yard field goal to give the Gamecocks a 20-14 lead at the 6:56 mark of the third quarter. Clemson's Chandler Catanzaro answered on the ensuing possession with a 37-yard field goal to trim South Carolina's lead to 20-17 with 5:07 left in the quarter.
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