Tigers destroy Gamecocks in lopsided Palmetto Bowl

clemfoot-9Behind the strong passing of Deshaun Watson, No. 4 Clemson (11-1) claimed a 56-7 victory over South Carolina (6-6) on Saturday evening at Memorial Stadium.

Clemson held a 21-0 lead after the first quarter, all coming from the arm of Deshaun Watson. He hit Mike Williams for the first two scores, with Williams bringing down 19- and 34-yard receptions. Jordan Leggett made it 21-0 with an 11-yard scoring catch.

South Carolina’s defense had highlights in the first half, starting with Ulric Jones’ block of a possible Clemson field goal on the Tigers’ first drive of the game. The Gamecocks also stopped another Clemson drive with an interception, with junior linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams catching the twice-tipped ball on the Gamecock 11-yard line.

The Tigers improved their lead late in the second quarter, first on Wayne Gallman’s nine-yard run ahead of Williams’ third touchdown reception, this one for 16 yards, with eight seconds remaining in the half to make it 35-0.

Clemson’s first drive of the second half produced its sixth touchdown. The sixth play ended it, with C.J. Fuller pulling down the 18-yard toss by Watson, pushing the lead to 42-0.

South Carolina turned to freshman quarterback Brandon McIlwain to start the third quarter, and he helped lead the Gamecocks to their first points of the night. Sophomore Deebo Samuel, however, tossed the score, hitting freshman Bryan Edwards with a 33-yard pass to put the Garnet and Black on the board.

Watson’s sixth touchdown pass came with 4:38 left in the third quarter, as he found Artavis Scott for a three-yard score. Kelly Bryant ran one in from a yard out late in the fourth quarter to provide the final margin.

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