Local Gamecocks celebrate, local Tigers defiant
Derik Vanderford Staff Writer
COLUMBIA — Carolina fans’ year-long warning to Clemson fans to “fear the thumb” came to fruition Saturday night as the Gamecocks defeated the Tigers for the fifth year in a row.
The University of South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the Clemson Tigers during Saturday’s rivalry game with a final score of 31-17. Not only does that extend the Gamecocks’ winning streak to 5-0 over the Tigers, but it also extended the team’s winning streak at home to 18-0, which is the longest home-game winning streak in the nation. The Gamecocks went undefeated at home for this year’s entire sold-out season at Williams-Brice Stadium.
The Gamecocks led 17-10 at halftime before Clemson running back Roderick McDowell tied the game late in the third quarter with a 4-yard touchdown run. Mike Davis rushed for a 2-yard touchdown early in the final period. With only 3:44 remaining in the game, Pharoh Cooper connected with a 26-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Wilds, giving the Gamecocks a 31-17 lead. Overall, Carolina was able to take advantage of six Clemson turnovers to pull off the win.
Following the game, HBC Steve Spurrier praised his QB Connor Shaw, calling him “the best quarterback in school history.” In three seasons, Shaw has had 17 home starts, 17 home victories, 5,610 passing yards, 52 passing touchdowns to just 16 interceptions and numerous South Carolina records.
The 80,000-plus fans in attendance at Saturday’s game also created an intense atmosphere. Union County Gamecock Club member Lee Littlejohn said he tailgates with other club members and their families at the State Fairgrounds before each home game, and they are known as “The Cocky Crew.”
“The atmosphere was electrifying,” Littlejohn said about Saturday’s game. “I’ve been in the Gamecock Club for three years now, and we have only lost one game to Auburn since that time, including two wins against Clemson. The in-state recruiting has been at an all-time high and I believe that has been a huge contributor to our success the past five years against Clemson. A vast majority of key players are from this state and realize the importance of this game.”
Union County Gamecock Club president Tyler Shugart also commented about Saturday’s rivalry game.
“Anytime you beat your arch rival it’s a good thing, but dominating Clemson the way we have the last five years has been really, really fun,” Shugart said. “I really wish Tajh Boyd didn’t have to leave, his impact on the rivalry has been great — for the Gamecocks!”
Dean “DJ BIG” Gregory — the voice of the Union County Yellow Jackets — said he woke up Sunday morning still a proud Clemson fan.
“I never thought the Gamecocks would beat us five straight years; I didn’t think it was possible,” said the lifelong Clemson fan. “All I can say now is what every Gamecock fan used to say. Wait til next year!”
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