USC Gamecocks Football

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: USC-Clemson

Gamecocks wide receiver Bruce Ellington leaps for a catch over Tigers cornerback Darius Robinson  in the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday.
Gamecocks wide receiver Bruce Ellington leaps for a catch over Tigers cornerback Darius Robinson in the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday. gmelendez@thestate.com

THUMBS UP

Brison Williams

The junior safety picked off a Sammy Watkins option pass in the end zone to stop Clemson’s first possession.

Opening drive

The Gamecocks went 80 yards on a season-high 17 plays behind the running and passing of Connor Shaw, who covered the final three yards for the first touchdown.

Shaq Roland

The sophomore wide receiver made a spectacular catch in the end zone on the first play of the second quarter for a 9-yard touchdown and 14-7 lead.

Bruce Ellington

The junior wide receiver made a pair of third-down conversions with catches of 29 and 13 yards in the second quarter.

Connor Shaw

In his final game at Williams-Brice Stadium, he led the 11-play, 75-yard drive that ended with the go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter. His string of tough runs kept the chains moving.

Kaiwan Lewis

The sophomore linebacker forced a fumble on Clemson punt returner Adam Humphries late in the fourth quarter that kept the Tigers from being able to mount a tying drive.

Pharoh Cooper

The freshman came in as the Wildcat quarterback and lofted a short pass to tailback Brandon Wilds that resulted in a clinching 26-yard touchdown with 3:44 to play.

THUMBS DOWN

No spell-check

Before the game, former USC quarterback Steve Taneyhill led the “Game” and “Cocks” cheer or the crowd, but his old school misspelled his name as “Tanneyhill” on the video board.

Big-play breakdown

After USC took a 7-0 lead, the defense quickly gave up a four-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that included a 57-yard pass from Tajh Boyd to Sammy Watkins.

Fourth-down call

USC coach Steve Spurrier eschewed what would have been a 36-yard field goal on the opening drive of the second half, and the Tigers stuffed Connor Shaw on fourth-and-1 at the Clemson 19.

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