Nov. 25, 2017
Clemson 34, South Carolina 10
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Kelly Bryant threw two touchdowns to Hunter Renfrow and No. 4 Clemson kept on track for a third straight trip to the College Football Playoff with a 34-10 victory over rival South Carolina on Saturday night.
The Tigers (11-1, No. 3 College Football Playoff) won their fourth straight game in the Palmetto State's most cared-about sporting event, tying their second-longest run of dominance in the series.
The win was the 100th in Clemson coach Dabo Swinney's career. And combined with the CFP's top teams - Alabama and Miami - losing this weekend, the Tigers solidified their position among the top four heading into the Atlantic Coast Conference title game next week.
The Tigers entered wary of a rejuvenated South Carolina (8-4, No. 24 CFP), which finished second in the Southeastern Conference East and had its most victories in a season in four years. But Clemson's defense bottled up the Gamecocks and quarterback Jake Bentley for a second consecutive season.
Fittingly, cornerback Ryan Carter opened Clemson's scoring with a 12-yard pick-six on quarterback Jake Bentley's bad throw near his goal line.
South Carolina managed just 99 yards in the first half and 207 for the game, its lowest total this season.
Renfrow, whose 2-yard TD catch with a second left gave Clemson a 35-31 win over Alabama in the national title game in January, scored on passes of 4 and 61 yards to put things out of reach. Renfrow had his third career two-TD game, the other two coming in Clemson's national championship appearances against Alabama the previous two years.
Bryant completed 23 of 34 passes for 272 yards, his most since throwing for 316 yards against Louisville on Sept. 16.
Bentley finished 16 of 29 for 126 yards, two interceptions and a 38-yard TD pass to Bryan Edwards late in the fourth quarter. Bentley passed for just 41 yards against the Tigers in a 56-7 loss in 2016.
QUOTING COACH MUSCHAMP
"I'm extremely disappointed. We started the game with a miscommunication of receiver and quarterback and throw a pick for a touchdown. Third down killed us on their first offensive touchdown. We don't get off the field for an 80-yard drive. There were opportunities there. (We) start the second half and miss four or five tackles on a simple bubble screen. There were some simple things that we need to do well in this game, and we did not. Offensively, it was hard to get anything going until late, so I'm disappointed with that. Their front four affected us in the run and pass game. We give them credit for that. We just got beat. You can't beat yourself against a good football team, and we had too many self-inflicted issues tonight that caused issues for us. We had nine penalties for the first time. We haven't had nine penalties in the last four or five games combined. I'm disappointed with the showing tonight."
Clemson scored its first touchdown on a 12-yard interception return from Ryan Carter with 6:50 left in the first quarter. That occurred after the South Carolina defense held the Tigers' offense on their first possession. Clemson never trailed while putting up 469 yards of offense.
35:26 — Clemson's ground game combined with its defense held the ball for 35:26 on the night. Clemson converted on seven of its 16 third-down conversions and were 3-for-3 scored in the red zone.
The Gamecocks will wait to find out their bowl destination and opponent, which will be announced on Sunday, December 3.
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