South Carolina eliminates No. 8 Clemson from college football playoff race

CLEMSON, SC — Some teams would settle for a season-defining win over top-10 Tennessee. Not South Carolina and certainly not Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler.

South Carolina followed up its stunning 63-38 on the Vols last week with a 31-30 win over No. 8 Clemson on Saturday, ending another college football playoff contender’s title chances for a second. consecutive week.

Clemson’s loss also gives some hope to Ohio State, which entered Week No. 2 but suffered a 45-23 loss to No. 3 Michigan on Saturday.

“We wanted more. We knew it was the biggest game of the season for us,” said Rattler, who passed for 360 yards and two touchdowns. “These last two games will change the narrative of program history.”

Saturday’s game certainly turned a one-sided rivalry on his ear. South Carolina has played in the shadow of two-time national champion Clemson for the past nine years, losing the last seven to the Tigers (10-2, 8-0 ACC), who had gone on a 40-game winning streak at residence.

But the Gamecocks (8-4, 4-4 SEC) rallied from 14-0 after 10 minutes to beat Clemson for the first time since 2013.

“Where is my trophy? Where is my trophy? cornerback Cam Smith shouted about the silver “Palmetto Bowl” honor finally going to Columbia.

South Carolina and Rattler, who threw for 438 yards and six touchdowns against Tennessee, ended any chance Clemson had of making the playoffs.

“We were the good story in college football last week, but nobody thought we were good enough to win this game,” Gamecocks coach Shane Beamer said.

Antwane Wells Jr. had nine catches for 131 yards, including touchdowns for 4 and 72 yards.

Clemson was looking to set a series record with their eighth straight against South Carolina. And the Tigers led 30-21 midway through the third period after Will Shipley drilled from 11 yards into the end zone.

That’s when James Madison transfer Wells broke behind the defense for a 72-yard catch two plays later.

After Clemson’s three-and-out, Rattler moved the Gamecocks to the Tigers’ 10 before Jeter connected for a 35-yard kick to go 10-for-10 on the season.

Clemson had no response after South Carolina took the lead. The Tigers passed just 15 yards in three series as DJ Uiagalelei had a combined 0-of-6 pass with an interception.

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Clemson got the ball one last time with 2:09 to go, but Antonio Williams fumbled on a punt return and South Carolina’s Nick Emmanwori recovered.

“It’s a game here or there. It’s a one-point game,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “There’s a lot of things that get demoralized when you don’t win. In the end, South Carolina played better.”

The Gamecocks went wild in celebration, rushing to fans and the team’s group in Death Valley’s West Zone.

Wells finished with his last catch for a first down with 1:04 to go. Rattler took the last snap and tossed the ball high in the air with glee.

Rattler completed 25 of 39 passes with two interceptions, including linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. returning for a 35-yard touchdown.

Uiagalelei completed 8 of 29 passes for 99 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Shipley gained 132 yards with a scoring run.

Associated Press report.

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