While securing its seventh-consecutive Palmetto Bowl trophy, No. 23 Clemson shutout South Carolina, 30-0, for the first time since 1989.
Throughout the entirety of the game, Clemson’s defense controlled the line of scrimmage and held its own in the secondary. The Tigers held South Carolina to 75 total yards in the first half alone and forced three-and-outs on the Gamecocks’ first four possessions.
“Anytime you get a shutout on the road, against anyone, it’s pretty special,” Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables said after the game.
The star of the show among Clemson’s defensive players was cornerback Andrew Booth Jr., who had two first-half interceptions.
“Aw, he was awesome,” said head coach Dabo Swinney after the game. “Really proud of him. It’s great to see him play like that down there.”
Although the Tigers’ defense only recorded one sack on the night, South Carolina quarterbacks Jason Brown and Zeb Noland were under constant pressure.
The two Gamecock quarterbacks combined for 163 yards and often had to scramble and throw the ball away to avoid a sack. To make matters worse for the quarterbacks, South Carolina averaged 2.2 yards per carry and finished with a mere 43 rushing yards.
“We knew we needed to stop the run and if we did, we felt like we could force some turnovers,” said Swinney.
Offensively, Clemson used a similar game plan to last week’s win over Wake Forest: run the ball.
Running backs Will Shipley and Kobe Pace paved the way for a successful ground game for the Tigers. Shipley finished with 128 yards on 19 carries, while Pace had an efficient 8.3 yards per carry and ran for 58 yards.
After he scampered down the field on a 29-yard touchdown run on Clemson’s opening drive, Shipley was the game's opening scorer.
Pace scored his lone touchdown with 12:10 remaining in the second quarter while third-string running back Phil Mafah scored his third touchdown of the season on a six-yard rush.
In total, Clemson ran for 265 yards on 43 carries. The 265 rushing yards marks the Tigers’ second-most rushing yards in a single game this season.
“We knew we were going to have to run the ball,” said Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliot.
“We wanted to establish the run, really challenge the guys to establish the line of scrimmage.”
Meanwhile, Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei went 9/19 for 99 yards and had a poor first-quarter interception. He did, however, have a critical 22-yard scamper that set up Shipley’s touchdown.
After Saturday night’s win over rival South Carolina, Clemson will now shift its focus to its bowl game, which has yet to be announced.