From all of us at Clemson Junkies, Happy Thanksgiving to each of you. We hope it will be be a special day spent with family and friends. Then, on Saturday, turn the Tigers loose and let them eat their favorite meal, fried chicken!
Today is the last in this retrospective of some of the best games within this rivalry. These next games from the mid 2000’s through the the last meeting in 2019 are memorable. These are among the most heated and passion filled in the entire rivalry. Who could ever forget the brawl?
2003: Most Points Scored by Clemson
In 2003, Clemson defeated Carolina 63–17 to set the record for the most points scored by either team in the series. Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst became a legend in his own time. He and his fellow seniors never lost to the Gamecocks. He earned his nickname as “The Coot Killa,” a well deserved moniker.
On this night, in Columbia, one had to wonder, will this slaughter ever end? Even the Tiger fans were exhausted just looking at one touchdown after another. Remember that 1975 Gamecock slaughter, 52-20? It took a while, but revenge, sweet revenge was exacted on the hapless Gamecocks that glorious Saturday night. I can still hear Gamecock Play-by-play announcer Todd Ellis saying, “Touchdown, Clemson.”
2004: The Brawl
This game in the South Carolina-Clemson rivalry, during the is the most recent eruption of hostilities in this rivalry. It is also the last time Hall of Fame Coach, Lou Holtz coached a game, choosing to retire shortly thereafter. Clemson won 29–7 and each team won a total of six games that year, making them technically bowl eligible.
However, both schools withdrew from bowl consideration because of the unsportsmanlike nature of the fight. The funniest memory from this game is when TV announcer, Doc Walker, while watching the on field temper tantrum, kept calling out the South Carolina players on the sidelines, running on the field to join in the fracas.
He repeated over and over, “Just look at them, they haven’t even so much as busted a grape and now their fighting like somebody that actually did something!” Busted a grape. Thanks Doc for the perfect soundtrack for the ridiculous on-field display.
2006: Kickers Make the Difference
Clemson was leading 28–14 in the third quarter, with Carolina quarterback Blake Mitchell, throwing three interceptions. The Gamecocks then scored 17 unanswered points, including two Mike Davis touchdown runs and a 35-yard field goal from Ryan Succup, the only points in the fourth quarter, to give the Gamecocks a 31–28 lead. Clemson kicker Jad Dean missed a field goal attempt wide left as time expired to give Carolina the win. This game also marked the moving of the series to the Saturday following Thanksgiving Day.
2013: Highest Ranked Meeting
In the highest-ever ranked matchup between the two teams (Clemson #6, South Carolina #10), the Gamecocks secured their fifth straight victory over the Tigers 31–17. South Carolina took advantage of six turnovers by Clemson, including two during punt returns, to secure the victory. The win marked the Gamecocks’ longest streak versus Clemson in the rivalry’s history. With the win, South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw, finished his college career unbeaten at Williams-Brice Stadium versus the Tigers. That period, 2009-2013 were Clemson’s wilderness years. They’d painfully lose five in a row to “The Old Ball Coach,” Steve Spurrier.
2019: Latest Meeting
No. 3 Clemson rolled to its sixth straight win over the Gamecocks, racking up 527 yards to win 38–3. South Carolina only managed 174 yards in the contest. Sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw for 295 yards and 3 touchdowns to move the Tigers to 12–0 on the regular season. Lawrence also had 8 carries for 66 yards. The Gamecocks loss moved them to 4–8 for the season. The Tigers rushed for 211 yards compared to the Gamecocks’ 69.
I hope this journey into the past has been enjoyable. It makes one even more excited about this Saturday’s game. Like in many years, there’s way more that’s on the line than a victory in this rivalry. No, it’s about the yearlong “bragging rights” for the fans of the winner and the yearlong misery for those poor souls of the loser. Enjoy the game!
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