Plagued by injuries and facing a dominating defense, South Carolina fell to No.2 Clemson for the fifth consecutive year. The 56-35 loss for the Gamecocks marks just the third time a team has won five straight games in the rivalry.
Even with Clemson’s aggressiveness on the defensive side of the ball, South Carolina’s offense had a total of 510 passing yards and scored more than any of Clemson's other regular season opponents on the year.
Wide receiver Deebo Samuel got South Carolina the lead early, scoring the first touchdown of the game off a nine-yard pass from quarterback Jake Bentley.
Ultimately, the Tigers tied up the game halfway through the first quarter. Clemson held its own on defense as Bentley struggled to find his rhythm, overthrowing several passes.
South Carolina's Kiel Pollard scored a 67-yard touchdown to make it a one-score game, but the Gamecocks trailed 28-21 at the half.
South Carolina tried to fight through injuries on defense, but the team came up short when it came to giving up points in the second half.
On offense, Bentley had the best game in his career, throwing for 510 yards and five touchdowns to one pick. This is the best record by a South Carolina quarterback against Clemson, and head coach Will Muschamp said he was impressed with his performance and toughness.
“I think he's playing at a high level, and we've got to continue to play well around him, and I think that's part of why he is playing well … We've continued to do a nice job in the run game for the most part," Muschamp said.
Muschamp acknowledged that the team needed to do a better job of creating opportunities after taking a loss to their arch-rival.
“We needed to get a turnover or two. We needed to get off the field on some critical third-downs ... We’ve got to get off the field on critical third-downs and got to create a turnover or two on field position momentum for our team,” Muschamp said.
This win preserved Clemson's perfect 12-0 regular season record on the season.
South Carolina will continue to be without some key players, including D.J. Wonnum and Aaron Sterling, next week as the Gamecocks face Akron on Dec. 1 starting at noon.