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Clemson defense, run game shuts down USC 30-0

The Tigers collected their seventh straight win against South Carolina.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Clemson used a suffocating defense and a revived running game to beat South Carolina 30-0 Saturday night, the Tigers' seventh straight win in the Palmetto Bowl rivalry.

Heralded Clemson freshman running back Will Shipley led the way with 128 yards on 19 carries and one touchdown. USC (6-6, 3-5 SEC) was outgained 364 to 206 in total yards. 

Clemson (9-3, 6-2 ACC) started the game with a scoring drive, going 7 plays and 73 yards for a touchdown that ended with a 29-yard run by Shipley.

Clemson would tack on a field goal before the end of the second half to make it 10-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Clemson's second touchdown drive came to start the second quarter, as Kobe Pace ran it for 34 yards for a touchdown to make it 17-0.

Turnovers marred the first half for both teams, as Clemson's D.J. Uiagalelei threw one interception and USC's Jason Brown tossed two himself, including one that ended a drive for the Gamecocks three minutes before halftime. 

The Tigers would add a a field goal with 9:05 in the 3rd quarter to give themselves a 20 point advantage.

Faced with a three score deficit but with their best field position of the game so far, Beamer put in Zeb Noland at quarterback with 3:30 left in the third quarter. But that drive stalled as Noland's 4th down passed couldn't be hauled in by tight end Nick Muse. 

The Gamecocks remaining scoring attempts didn't fare any better. Noland would finish with 96 passing yards going 11-21 on attempts. 

Clemson would add one more touchdown in the waning minutes to give them their second straight win of 30 or more points. It was the first time USC had been shut out in the Palmetto Bowl since 1989. 

The game was the renewal of the annual series that was interrupted last season by the COVID-19 pandemic. That marked the first time since 1908 that the two teams didn't meet for their contest for state bragging rights. 

Both teams now wait to see where they'll go bowling as they're each eligible for post-season games. For USC, it will be the first bowl since the 2018 Belk (now known as Duke's Mayo) Bowl. The Tigers were eliminated from ACC title game contention after NC State's win Friday, the first time they won't play for the ACC's top prize after in six straight years of winning claiming the trophy.  

The Tigers now lead the all-time series 72-42-4 and have a 53-32-3 advantage in games played in Columbia. The first contest in the series was played back in 1896.