We were hoping to play our best game of the year and we probably did. Defense was sensational all night; great effort. Offensively we did enough good things here and there to run for over 200 yards and pass for the exact (same) amount. That's sort of our formula for winning. About 20 passes is what we threw, and fortunately we hit 14 with no picks. It's a good win for us. We scored in the red zone, mostly touchdowns. Jay (Wooten) made both his field goals. Unfortunately we dropped a few potential touchdown passes. It worked out well for us. Kenny (Miles) had a super game. I'm really proud of Kenny. Brandon (Wilds) just got off to a slow start. We felt like lets give Kenny a shot in there. He had some tough runs as well as Connor (Shaw). It was a wonderful win for us. Glad to get win number 10. It's been a very good year for us. Now we realize we have a chance to win 11, so we'll shoot for 11 (against) whoever we play in the bowl game.
On Brandon Wilds and Kenny Miles
(Brandon) just seemed like he was running into guys. He wasn't quite as elusive as we thought he could be. And Kenny deserves a shot. None of us are afraid to put the next guy in if one of them seems to struggle a little bit. Brandon did OK, but let's see what Kenny can do.
On the significance of getting the game ball
The ref was walking off with it. I said I might as well grab it. Nobody else seemed to want it. I like to fix them up. The 10 wins (was the reason). It's neat to beat Clemson because historically they've owned South Carolina, but they don't own us right now, that's for sure. Mainly the 10 wins (is why it's important). We talked about winning 10 more than we talked about beating Clemson. I hope our fans have come to the conclusion that to beat your rival, hating them is not the answer. Hating them and trying to kick their tails is not the answer. The answer is how our guys played tonight.
On the Carolina-Clemson rivalry
It's interesting; in pregame warmups I talked to Dabo (Swinney) and one of the referees. Some of these rivals, I saw Georgia and Georgia Tech guys mouth off at midfield. I said you don't have to worry about our guys. We get along well with those guys, and Dabo said the same thing. There's no fighting. Just play football. That shows our rivalry is a good one when both opponents respect each other nicely.
On Bruce Ellington
He was smiling in the locker room. I think Bruce enjoys playing both sports. I really think he can play both. I know it may take a toll on him a bit, but I told him after the game you're free to go (to the basketball team) tomorrow. He told me they play Thursday night, so he'll be ready to go Thursday night. I know he hasn't practiced basketball. It will take a while to get his hands used to that ball, but after a week or two I think he'll be back in basketball form. The touchdown was a heckuva play by him and Connor (Shaw). We had a drag route with the tight end and another guy over the middle, and just in case they didn't have anyone deep, Bruce was going deep. Connor stepped up, let it go and hit him on the dead run. That might have been one of our prettiest plays all year. That was a huge play right there.
On the offense
The results are good. We have a good defense. Certainly running more than throwing is what you should do. That's what we've been trying to do. We like to throw it a little better than we have been, but there's nothing wrong with the way we're playing. What we've been doing is best for our team. Maybe next year's team will be a better passing team. I don't know. We'll just have to wait and see.
On Rory Anderson and Connor Shaw connecting for two big plays
Buster (Rory Anderson) quietly makes big play after big play. We got him wide open on that drag route. Probably should have tried it a few more times. He shook the tackle and got it down there. On third down, we've been practicing that all year. The guy came clean, Connor (Shaw) threw a pump fake, ducked him and hit a touchdown. That's something you can't coach. That's just Connor being a good ball player.
On Connor Shaw
Connor can take care of the ball and run with it. Every now and then he pulls it down when it's not there. He played with no turnovers, no interceptions. That was huge. He doesn't have very many stupid plays. He's gained confidence. He was a heckuva high school quarterback. He took his team I think to the semifinals or finals in the state in Georgia, so he's played well before.
On the defensive performance
I think it's one of the best. We had excellent games against Vandy and Kentucky. They didn't go anywhere, those two teams against us. A team with as high potent an offense as Clemson has or used to have - they struggled the last two games, but they were very impressive early in the season - it was very good to see our guys have another excellent defensive game. I just realized we were out there 37 minutes to their 22.
Assistant Head Coach Ellis Johnson
On the defensive effort
I'm really proud. I think it was obvious they played with great effort. You cannot believe the distractions and difficulties we had in preparation with some of these kids playing with injuries and missing practice. With some of them, we were really concerned if we'd even have them for the game and some of those same guys played 35 or 40 plays and did a heck of a job. We're fortunate. Obviously our medical staff and (athletic) training staff did a great job. These guys played with a lot of heart. We had some guys that in some situations we would have not played them.
On the importance of getting pressure on Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd
That was huge. We mixed. We brought four, and we did pressure a little bit. We had success with four. He was escaping the pocket a little bit, but we brought some pressure to try to keep him (Boyd) hemmed up. Most of it was done by our front four. I thought the coverage, at times, was certainly good enough to give them time to get there. There were some other times that they got there quick enough on just some one-on-one moves and so forth. It made a lot of difference. The only problem I really had over the course of the game was we had a couple of missed assignments on one of the drives. And we weren't hitting up that little counter run inside. Other than that, I was really proud of the way they played.
On beating Clemson for the third year in a row
I'm not into a lot of that stuff. I'm happy for our players they have worked so hard and everything. We've got some guys who are very deserving for all they get. I'm not at all into streaks and all that stuff. Hopefully it's a sign of our program going in the right direction. Clemson is a great football program, and to beat them three times in a row is a great accomplishment for our players.
On how the offensive success helps the defense
That's huge, especially when you're playing one of those high tempo teams who want to snap the ball for 90 plays. One of the reasons they had 60 plays was because we got off the field. Another reason was our offense stayed on the field. I thought the time that we stepped up the most was when we had a hard time getting first downs in a stretch in the second half, and we were still able to hold on. Early in the game, it was obviously that the drives we were having offensively can make it better for you. Not only can you get off the field and catch your breath, you can make adjustments. When you're three-and-out and you automatically have to send them back out there and you haven't gotten things fixed. We've had to a lot of the things we've had to do because of injuries, but I think our offense has done an absolutely fantastic job, especially the running game, in making first downs. That frustrates a high-tempo team because they can't get enough snaps.
Sophomore Quarterback Connor Shaw
On his knowledge and experience with the South Carolina - Clemson rivalry
Before, not much. I've been here two years now. I've learned the hatred between the two teams. It was a pretty special influence tonight.
On winning 10 games
It's very special. I'm very happy for the senior class. It's a heck of an achievement. I'm proud for our guys.
On the 49-yard touchdown pass to Bruce Ellington
I was looking to our intermediate routes. I had to step up in the pocket, and I saw the safety come up. We had a deep post by Bruce, and he had a great route and a great catch.
On his increasing confidence
I feel like my confidence is boosting the more I play game by game. I think I have a better feel for the game, and I'm starting to see the bigger picture.
Junior Running Back Kenny Miles
On the outcome of the game on senior day
I'm just glad we beat Clemson. Our offensive line played well, and I was excited. I really played hard for my folks, and it was exciting. It was a big game.
On getting to play more against Clemson
I just felt like today I got a little more opportunities than I usually get, and I tried to take advantage of it the best I could. My dad always used to tell me to always be ready so that you don't have to get ready. I was prepared to come out. I studied film as if I were the starter."
Freshman Defensive End Jadeveon Clowney
On getting a sack
I was working hard out there to get a sack. I told the line that I have to get a sack, but they were double-teaming ... me.
On the pressure put on Boyd
I think it affected him a lot. He always felt that we were back there. When he was setting up to throw the ball, he was really looking to see where we were.
Sophomore Wide Receiver Bruce Ellington
On Shaw's play and the touchdown catch
Connor came into the game with a lot of confidence, and he played really well. He threw a great ball on that pass.
On playing next season
This game doesn't affect my decision. I don't know what the future holds, but I'm just going to pray and see what God has for me.
Freshman Tight End Rory Anderson
On Shaw's play and the touchdown catch
He came in really focused and played well. The offensive line did a great job blocking, and Connor hit his targets. He played like he had been practicing all year. On the touchdown, I honestly didn't know I was still in bounds after the stiff arm, and I saw Ace still blocking. On the touchdown, it was a play we had been working on all year and the coaches called it.
Senior Defensive End Melvin Ingram
On getting pressure on Boyd
We could tell he was being affected. We could tell that he was kind of looking for us every play.
On beating Clemson three years in a row
You know 10 years from now we'll be able to say that we beat Clemson three years in a row. It's one of those game you'll remember.
Junior Defensive End Devin Taylor
On getting pressure on Boyd
We saw from previous games that if you affect him, he'll start getting nervous and play poorly.
Head Coach Dabo Swinney
On motivating the second and third team guys who may have to play next week
This is obviously very disappointing. It is the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows and this is what you do for a living. We are just really disappointed in how we played. Dropped a touchdown early, (gave up) sacks, we can't protect our quarterback. It is really disappointing and obviously that affects your ability to score. Defensively, the quarterback beat us, and that is the most disappointing thing to me coming out of this game, that we let the quarterback beat us. We knew exactly what they were going to do, and we couldn't stop it. Really poor on third down, and then gave up some big plays at some tough times. Lost the turnover margin again, just not playing winning football, simple as that. I congratulate South Carolina. They played really well and did what they had to do and made the critical plays that we didn't. Really, really just disappointed but we have got to put this behind us. We are 9-3 and obviously the last few weeks we have not played our best ball of the season. We have got the ACC Championship this week. We did not achieve the goal of winning the state championship. We have got our next goal to try to win the ACC. As bad as we have played the last few weeks, I am proud of our team for earning the opportunity to play for our league's championship, and if we have a chance to win this league then we can go to the Orange Bowl. At this point, that is what we have got to focus on. We have got to come back in Monday. We had great practice all week. Right now we are not playing and executing the way I know we are capable of. Hats off to SC; congratulate them. We have got to live with it. We have got to live with this one for 365 days until we get another opportunity to play better. We will be ready in Charlotte on Saturday night to play Virginia Tech. It should be a very difficult challenge for us. We are about to get back to playing the kind of football that I know we are capable of playing in order to have a chance to win this game.
On stopping the run game
It can get better next week. It has got to get better. At times, we did some good things. In the second half, I thought we did a better job. (We had a) really, really poor first quarter defensively. Did a better job in the second half. It is just disappointing to let a quarterback beat you. That is what happened tonight defensively. Offensively, we don't make plays. We missed plays, we dropped balls and when we didn't protect the quarterback well, it was a sack. It was just a combination of bad football, simple as that.
Everything is coaching. It is on me, simple as that. It starts with me. I love my players, they practice hard, prepare hard. We are not doing a very good job of coaching right now, and that is on me. Certainly we have got a lot of improving to do. Everybody has accountability in this. You have got guys in position; you do have to make the play. You can't go play for them. You can't tackle them. We had guys in the right position several times and then we had some busts. You have got to take the good with the bad, and we have had a lot of bad these last couple of weeks.
Junior Tight End Dwyane Allen
On whether this game is the lowest of lows
I'm already past it. We didn't come out to play and do the things necessary to win. We have a very good Virginia Tech team coming up, and we need to get ready to play.
On whether the team neesd to set the reset button
We don't need to press the reset button. We just need to keep going and fix the little things and we will be much better.
Senior Defensive End Kourtnei Brown
It is what it is. That was a great team. I guess they just wanted it more than us.
On troubles stopping Connor Shaw
I have no idea. All of our guys, when we go out there and play we give it our all. And we just came up short.
Sophomore Quarterback Tajh Boyd
On his confidence level
Same place it has been. Not too much to be said, we just need to find a way to come out here and get wins. The thing is we have been having great practices. But when game time comes, everything changes. We have a big game coming up this week in the ACC Championship. Carolina played very well. They had a great game plan. Connor Shaw played very well and ran very well. The defense played well. They came out and were clicking on all cylinders. We had opportunities to put some points up, and we had good field position. We just couldn't capitalize.
On how he dealt with pressure from South Carolina's defensive line
That is where I have to become wiser and more composed. I just need to be more confident in my guys and not immediately run out of the pocket. We just need to work harder and get better.