COLUMBIA, S.C. – Clemson used a complete performance in closing out the 2021 regular season with a 30-0 win on the road against in-state rival South Carolina, the Tigers’ seventh consecutive win in the series. The Tigers shut out the Gamecocks (6-6) for the first time since 1989 and finished the regular season with a 9-3 record.
It was the fifth time Clemson’s defense held an opponent without a touchdown this season, as the Tigers held South Carolina to just 206 yards of offense and only 43 yards rushing on 20 carries. Clemson finished with five tackles for loss, two interceptions, a forced fumble, allowed just 3.3 yards per play, and held the Gamecocks to just four 3rd-down conversions in 16 attempts.
Offensively, Clemson rushed for 265 yards on 43 carries and scored all three touchdowns on the ground. Freshman Will Shipley led the way with 128 yards on 19 carries, his second straight game with more than 100 yards rushing. Kobe Pace added 58 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown, and Phil Mafah ran for 43 yards and a score. DJ Uiagalelei threw for 99 yards and ran for 33 more to improve to 1-0 as the starting quarterback against South Carolina.
The Tigers set the tone early, taking the opening possession seven plays and 73 yards for a score, as Shipley went 29 yards through the right side for his tenth touchdown of the season. Uiagalelei had a key 22-yard run on 3rd-and-11 that helped set up the score.
Two drives later, Andrew Booth Jr. gave Clemson the short field following an interception that would end with three points on a 29-yard field goal by B.T. Potter to extend the Tigers lead.
After another defensive three-and-out, Pace would pick up where he left off a week ago with a 34-yard run up the middle past several Gamecock defenders for his first touchdown of the game to make the score 17-0 Clemson with 12:10 to play in the second quarter.
Booth picked off his second pass with 3:17 to play in the quarter as he dove and caught the ball at the Clemson one-yard line.
Clemson outgained South Carolina 258-75, held the Gamecocks to just three first downs, and piled up 193 rushing yards in the first half.
The Tigers added to the lead on the first possession, with Potter connecting from 47 yards that hooked just inside the right upright, giving Clemson a 20-0 lead. The kick moved Potter into third on Clemson’s all-time scoring list with 332 points. Potter added a 49-yarder with 12:24 to play to extend the Clemson lead to 23-0.
Mafah ran up the middle from six yards out with 2:30 to play to become the third Clemson rusher to score on the day.
Clemson’s defense held one last time, keeping the Gamecocks out of the endzone on a final scramble as time expired.
At 9-3, Clemson will now await its bowl destination. This year marks Clemson’s 17th consecutive season playing in a bowl game and its 23rd consecutive season of bowl eligibility.
WITH THE WIN…
- Clemson improved to 72-42-4 all-time against South Carolina. Clemson’s 72 all-time wins against South Carolina are the program’s most against any opponent.
- Clemson has now recorded seven consecutive wins against South Carolina for the first time since a seven-game streak from 1934-40, matching the longest winning streak in the series by either team all-time.
- Clemson moved its all-time road record against South Carolina to 53-32-3. Clemson’s 53 road wins at South Carolina are more than double its most all-time road wins against any other opponent. Clemson’s second-most road wins against an opponent is 26 at Wake Forest.
- Clemson earned a fourth straight road win against South Carolina for the first time since defeating the Gamecocks on the road six straight times across the 1989-99 seasons.
- Clemson improved to 13-5 against SEC opponents in the College Football Playoff era. Clemson is now 7-2 against SEC East foes since 2014 and 6-2 against the SEC West since the start of the 2016 season.
- Clemson improved to 11-1 in its last 12 regular season games against SEC opponents, dating to 2014.
- Clemson finished its 2021 road slate 3-2 in true road games.
- Clemson improved to 30-4 in true road games since 2015.
- Clemson won its sixth consecutive non-conference road game, dating to 2015. All of Clemson’s non-conference road wins in that span have come against SEC opponents, including South Carolina (2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021), Auburn (2016) and Texas A&M (2018). The sixth straight non-conference win in a true road game is Clemson’s longest streak since becoming a charter member of the ACC in 1953.
- Clemson improved to 116-13 against AP-unranked teams under Dabo Swinney. The win made Clemson 93-3 against unranked teams since the start of the 2012 season.
- Clemson moved to 4-1 in night games this season and 21-4 in night games since the start of the 2018 season. Clemson is now 40-7 at night since 2015.
- Clemson finished its fifth perfect November under Dabo Swinney. Swinney’s 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019 teams also posted 4-0 marks in November. Clemson has now won 19 of its last 20 November games.
- Clemson improved to 76-6 in regular season play since the start of the 2015 season. All six of Clemson’s regular season losses in that span have been decided by a final margin of 10 or fewer points.
- Head Coach Dabo Swinney earned his 149th career win in his 14th season (including an interim stint in 2008) to tie Barry Switzer (149) for the third-most wins through the first 15 seasons of a coaching career in FBS history.
- Swinney improved to 8-5 all-time against South Carolina. He became the first Clemson coach with seven straight wins against South Carolina, surpassing the six straight wins secured by Jess Neely from 1934-39.
- Swinney joined Frank Howard (13) as the only Clemson coaches to defeat South Carolina eight times.
- Clemson is now 65-4 when scoring first since 2015.
- Clemson led 17-0 at halftime. Clemson has now won 95 of its last 97 games, including each of its last 58, when leading at halftime.
- Clemson improved to 117-2 since 2011 when leading after three quarters.
- Clemson now has a 115-2 record when totaling more first downs than its opponent since 2011.
- Clemson and South Carolina resumed a rivalry that had been contested for 111 consecutive years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Before its interruption, it was the nation’s second-longest uninterrupted series.
- By virtue of the 2020 interruption, Clemson played consecutive games at South Carolina in the series for the first time since 1959. Clemson played the first 57 games in the now-118-game series on the road on “Big Thursday” during the annual State Fair until the series transitioned to the home-and-home format in 1960.
- The game was Clemson’s 23rd shutout of South Carolina all-time and its first since Danny Ford’s Tigers shut out South Carolina, 45-0, in 1989. All 23 of Clemson’s shutouts in the series have come in Columbia.
- The game was Clemson’s 228th shutout in 1,287 all-time games (17.7 percent).
- The shutout was Clemson’s eighth under Dabo Swinney and its first since a 49-0 shutout of The Citadel in 2020. It was Clemson’s second road shutout under Swinney, joining a 58-0 win at Miami (Fla.) in 2015.
- Clemson recorded its fifth game without allowing an offensive touchdown this season to tie the 1981 and 1989 Tigers for the third-most in a season since 1954.
- Clemson did not allow a first down until 18 minutes into the game. Clemson led 17-0 prior to surrendering a first down.
- Clemson held South Carolina to 43 rushing yards and has now held three straight opponents below 100 rushing yards for the first time since 2018 against Florida State, Louisville and Boston College.
- Clemson has also now held three straight opponents to 50 or fewer rushing yards for the first time since 1991 against Maryland, South Carolina and Duke.
- Clemson’s three points allowed over its last two meetings with South Carolina are its fewest allowed in a two-game span against South Carolina since allowing only two points against the Gamecocks across the 1959 (27-0) and 1960 (12-2) games.
- Including a 38-3 win in the teams’ last meeting in 2019, Clemson has now outscored South Carolina 68-3 in the teams’ last two meetings.
- Clemson entered the contest having won its last four games in the series against South Carolina by at least 21 points (49 points in 2016, 24 points in 2017, 21 points in 2018 and 35 points in 2019). Clemson’s fifth consecutive win of 21-plus points added to the longest streak of 21-point victories in the series by either team.
- Clemson has now scored at least 30 points in five consecutive games for the first time since the first 11 games of the 2020 season.
- Clemson rushed for 265 yards and improved to 72-1 when rushing for 200+ yards under Dabo Swinney.
- Clemson has now reached 250 rushing yards in consecutive games for the first time since a four-game streak against Florida State, Louisville, Boston College and Wofford in 2019.
- With a 6.2-yards-per-carry average in the game, Clemson has now averaged 6.0 or more yards per carry in consecutive games for the first time this season.
- Clemson has now rushed for at least three touchdowns in three consecutive games for the first time since last season against Miami (Fla.), Georgia Tech and Syracuse.
- Clemson allowed zero sacks. Clemson has now allowed zero sacks in consecutive games for the first time since the second and third game of the season against South Carolina State and Georgia Tech.
- Running back Will Shipley rushed 19 times for a career-high-tying 128 yards with a touchdown. He had previously rushed for 128 yards against Florida State on 25 carries earlier this season.
- With his 10th rushing touchdown of the season, Shipley tied his position coach C.J. Spiller (10 in 2006) for second on the leaderboard for rushing touchdowns by a Clemson true freshman since 1972. He now trails only Travis Etienne (13 in 2017) in that category.
- Shipley has now recorded back-to-back 100-yard rushing games for the first time in his career.
- Shipley became the first Clemson true freshman with three 100-yard rushing games in a true freshman season since 2006, when C.J. Spiller had a freshman-school-record five 100-yard games.
- Shipley became the first Clemson freshman with back-to-back 100-yard rushing games since redshirt freshman Wayne Gallman against Syracuse and Wake Forest in 2014. He became the first true freshman to accomplish the feat since C.J. Spiller against NC State and South Carolina in 2006.
- With Shipley’s performance, Clemson has produced a 100-yard rusher five times this season. Clemson is now 56-2 when having a 100-yard rusher since 2011.
- Shipley opened the scoring on a 29-yard touchdown run on Clemson’s opening drive.
- Shipley’s touchdown run culminated a seven-play, 73-yard opening drive for the Tigers. Clemson has now scored on its opening drive in four consecutive games.
- Running back Kobe Pace rushed seven times for 58 yards with one touchdown.
- Pace scored on a 34-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. It was his sixth rushing touchdown of the season and of his career.
- Shipley and Pace combined for 186 rushing yards. Since both were held out against UConn as a precaution on Nov. 13, the duo has combined for 489 yards on 69 carries (7.1 avg.) in its last two games against Wake Forest and South Carolina.
- With Shipley and Pace both reaching the end zone on the ground, Clemson has now had two different players both rush for a touchdown in consecutive games for the first time since Travis Etienne and Trevor Lawrence both scored via rush in the final two games of 2020 against Notre Dame and Ohio State.
- Running back Phil Mafah added his third rushing touchdown of the season and of his career on a six-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter.
- Wide receiver Dacari Collins recorded a career-long 37-yard reception in the second quarter.
- Wide receiver Will Brown caught a career-long 26-yard pass in the third quarter.
- Cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. recorded two interceptions and a pass breakup.
- Booth became the first Clemson player with multiple interceptions in a game since Mario Goodrich (two) against Pittsburgh on Nov. 28, 2020.
- Booth recorded Clemson’s first takeaway of the game, picking off a Jason Brown pass in the first quarter.
- Booth became the first Clemson player with an interception in consecutive games since last season when Nolan Turner accomplished the feat against Georgia Tech and Syracuse.
- Booth added his second interception in the second quarter, giving him his single-season career-high third of the season.
- Booth joined Willie Underwood (two in 1980) as the only Clemson players to record two interceptions in a game against South Carolina.
- Thanks to Booth’s two interceptions, Clemson won the turnover margin, 2-1, and now has a 67-4 record when winning the turnover margin since 2011.
- Defensive end K.J. Henry recorded a sack and forced fumble in the fourth quarter. On the play, he tied his single-season career high with 3.5 sacks on the year and recorded the first forced fumble of his career.
- Placekicker B.T. Potter finished 3-of-3 on field goals, converting field goal attempts of 29, 47 and 49 yards.
- On a 47-yard field goal in the third quarter, Potter (336 career points) passed Aaron Hunt (329 from 2000-03) for fourth on Clemson’s all-time leaderboard for career points. Potter also passed Hunt for third in career kicking points in school history.
- On that field goal, Potter (51) also became the eighth kicker in Clemson history to record 50 career field goals.
- With his third field goal, Potter (51) tied Jad Dean (51 field goals from 2003-06) for seventh-most career field goals in Clemson history.
- Potter, who was 3-for-3 on field goals against Louisville and UConn and 2-for-2 against Wake Forest, has now kicked multiple field goals in four consecutive games for the first time in his career.
- Potter’s second field goal of 40-plus yards was his 11th of the season, breaking Chris Gardocki’s single-season Clemson record of 10 in 1989. The same field goal also gave him the Clemson record of 25 field goals of 40 yards or more in his career, breaking Chandler Catanzaro’s mark of 24 from 2010-13.
- Potter is now 19-of-23 on field goal attempts this season, a single-season career high for field goals made and one field goal shy of entering the Top 10 in a single season in school history.
- Potter has now converted his last 11 field goal attempts, the longest streak of his career. His previous career-long streak prior to the current streak was eight.
- Punter Will Spiers started his 68th game to add to his school record for career starts. Wide receiver/holder Will Swinney’s career total as Clemson’s primary holder parallels Spiers’ run as starting punter.
- Spiers, Swinney and linebacker James Skalski each played in their 68th career games to extend their school record for most career games played.
- Clemson has now held the lead in its all-time series with South Carolina for 44,935 consecutive days (123 years and 10 days). South Carolina won the series opener in 1896 before Clemson evened the series in 1897. Clemson won the third game in the series on Nov. 17, 1898 to take a 2-1 series lead that Clemson hasn’t relinquished.
- Clemson and South Carolina faced one another at night for the 16th time in the rivalry’s history. The win improved Clemson to 11-5 in night games against South Carolina all-time and gives the Tigers a 7-3 mark in night games in Columbia.
- Including the season opener against Georgia, Clemson played its second SEC opponent of the year and has now played multiple SEC opponents in the regular season 10 times in the last 12 years. The only years in that span in which Clemson did not face two SEC opponents were in 2015 and 2020, years in which Clemson was scheduled to play Notre Dame in non-conference play (and the latter of which was altered by the COVID-19 pandemic).
- Captains for the contest were wide receiver Will Brown, offensive tackle Jordan McFadden, placekicker B.T. Potter, and safety Nolan Turner.