COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Win the state championship.
It’s one of Clemson’s five goals set every year before regular-season action starts. With Trevor Lawrence leading the way for the offense, accomplishing that goal was never in jeopardy on Saturday. The sophomore threw three first-half touchdowns as Clemson routed rival South Carolina 38-3.
The Gamecocks opened the contest with a big statement on defense. On fourth-and-goal from their 1-yard line, Carolina stuffed the Tigers running back to force a turnover on downs. However, Clemson snatched momentum back after Derion Kendrick picked off Ryan Hilinski.
On the ensuing drive, Lawrence connected with Tee Higgins on a 10-yard touchdown pass to cap a brief 3-play drive to make it 7-0 Tigers.
On the next Clemson drive, Higgins found the end zone again. This time, he scored on a 65-yard pass. That ended a 4-play drive extending the lead to 14-0.
After one quarter, Clemson outgained Carolina 177-17. Higgins had three catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns.
Carolina would get on the board with 7:33 to go in the half. Parker White punctuated a 15-play drive with a 49-yard field goal to give the Gamecocks their first three points of the day.
Lawrence continued to torch the Gamecocks through the air. With 3:04 left in the half, the sophomore connected with Justyn Ross on a 16-yard pass that was initially ruled incomplete. However, after a review, the call was overturned and the pass was good for a touchdown pushing the Tigers ahead 21-3.
Lawrence was 26-of-36 passing for 295 yards and three touchdowns on the day. He also rushed the ball eight times for 66 yards.
The Tigers ended the half with a 24-3 lead thanks to a 46-yard BT Potter field goal. Clemson put up 314 yards of offense in the first half while holding Carolina to 99 yards.
Dabo Swinney’s squad continued to roll in the third. A 9-play drive saw Travis Etienne get his first rushing touchdown of the day. It was a 2-yard carry that extended the Tiger lead to 31-3.
Etienne finished the day with 15 carries for 51 yards and two touchdowns. Clemson finished with 527 total yards.
Carolina simply didn’t have answers on offense. With Bryan Edwards and Dakereon Joyner not dressed to play, the Gamecocks put together just one scoring drive on the day. In total, the Gamecocks collected 174 yards on offense.
South Carolina ends the year with a 4-8 record while Clemson moves to 12-0. The win also gives Clemson six straight victories over the Gamecocks and 27th straight win dating back to last season.
The Tigers now turn their attention to the ACC Championship game in Charlotte against Virginia.