The Daily Gamecock

Analysis: South Carolina's offense struggles in shutout loss to archrival Clemson

<p>South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver E.J. Jenkins goes in to catch the ball against the Clemson Tigers on Nov. 28, 2021. Clemson won 30-0.&nbsp;</p>

South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver E.J. Jenkins goes in to catch the ball against the Clemson Tigers on Nov. 28, 2021. Clemson won 30-0. 

The South Carolina Gamecocks fell 30-0 to archrival Clemson, capping off head coach Shane Beamer's first regular season with a 6-6 record. It was the Gamecocks' seventh consecutive loss to the Tigers. 

The main issue for South Carolina was its offense, especially in the first quarter. The Gamecocks put up 12 total yards, going three-and-out on three of its four drives with the only other one resulting in the first of two interceptions thrown by redshirt senior quarterback Jason Brown. 

Brown struggled to hit his receivers, only completing two passes for five yards in the first quarter. That was added on by six rushes for seven yards. This is nothing new for the strong Tigers defense though, ranking 9th in the country in total defense.

“There’s a reason they held Georgia to three points in the very first game, other than a punt return for a touchdown,” Beamer said of the Clemson defense. 

To add to that, Brown threw the first interception of the game towards the end of the quarter. Clemson started with the ball at the South Carolina 13 yard line, capitalizing off the interception and taking a 10-0 lead at the end of the quarter. 

“Just miscommunication on my part,” Brown said postgame.

The second quarter didn't get much better for the Gamecocks, as the team tallied only 63 yards and three first downs and the Clemson lead grew. 

South Carolina would only rush for 15 yards on five carries in this quarter, continuing a tough day on the ground for the usually well rounded Gamecock rush offense. The Gamecocks would finish the evening with 43 yards on 20 carries. Clemson on the other hand scored its second of three touchdowns on the ground, taking a 17-0 lead at the half. The Tigers ran all over the South Carolina defense, resulting in 265 yards on 43 carries.

Beamer switched Brown out for graduate student Zeb Noland in the second half. Although the team didn’t score any points, there was a clear difference in South Carolina's offense. 

Noland completed 11 passes for 96 yards. Brown finished the night with eight completions for 67 yards. 

“It’s just good to be back out there. I love this group of seniors,” Noland said postgame.

South Carolina's defense finished strong in the second half, only allowing 106 yards in that frame. A lot of the Clemson work was on the ground during this frame, but the Gamecocks kept the Tigers to only 32 yards on 10 carries. 

However, the Gamecocks have struggled with staying consistent all season and that was shown in the disparity of yardage throughout the game. 

“We just got to be more consistent,” Beamer said.

South Carolina looks to put together more performances like the Auburn and Florida wins, as the team plans to play in its first bowl game since 2018 and pick up its first victory in one since 2017.

Brown said he's looking forward to sending the seniors on the team out with a bowl victory. 

“Just being able to have one more opportunity with these guys, another month with them, just try to send these guys out with a win,” Brown said.

South Carolina will find out who its bowl game and matchup is on Sunday, Dec. 5.