Four things we learned in South Carolina’s upset of No. 8 Clemson

The streak stops at seven.

South Carolina snapped an almost decade-long losing streak to arch-rival Clemson on Saturday in a 31-30 victory at Memorial Stadium.

Here are five things we learned:

QB Spencer Rattler has found his form

Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler absolutely torched Tennessee a week ago. His encore? Almost as impressive.

Rattler finished the day 25 of 39 for 360 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. It was the picks — or more importantly his response to them — that was as awe-inspiring as last week’s demolition of the Volunteers.

The ex-Oklahoma quarterback would go 13 of 17 for 153 yards and a touchdown after tossing his second interception, a poorly read play in the left corner of the end zone from the 2-yard line.

South Carolina spent the bulk of this season winning in spite of its offense. The last two weeks — and the Top 10 wins they’ve included — directly correlate to Rattler’s play.

A bowl game is still to come, but even if he opts to turn pro, Rattler has done his part to cement a legacy that won’t soon be forgotten.

Gamecocks can come from behind

South Carolina has had plenty of moments to cherish of late, but Saturday was another feather in the cap for head coach Shane Beamer.

The win marked the third time USC has come back from double-digit deficits to win a game under their second-year head coach (2021 East Carolina, 2021 Auburn). This week, the Gamecocks overcame a 14-point first-half deficit.

Beamer has sold South Carolina as a program that will be scrappy and continue fighting. It hadn’t been able to do so against an opponent like Clemson, let alone on the road in the rivalry game.

Give this staff credit: Saturday was a gut-check performance.

USC defensive line continues to be a force

Clemson’s offense has had myriad issues, but South Carolina’s defensive line deserves plenty of credit for Saturday’s performance.n

The Gamecocks kept Tigers quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei off-kilter all afternoon. He was nearly picked off on the first drive of the game. The Gamecocks dropped a second chance at a turnover in the second half. Cornerback Marcellas Dial finally intercepted the Tigers’ signal-caller late in the fourth quarter.

Uiagalelei finished the night 8 of 29 (28%) for 99 yards one touchdown and an interception, as calls for five-star freshman Cade Klubnik will almost assuredly increase in the coming weeks.

South Carolina’s trio of Zacch Pickens, Jordan Burch and Alex “Boogie” Huntley each recorded at least three tackles, while Pickens notched the Gamecocks’ one sack on the night.

Clemson had its chances to win Saturday night’s game. The disruptive South Carolina pass rush washed away any late fears of that happening.

South Carolina defensive back Marcellas Dial (24) intercepts a pass in front of Clemson tight end Davis Allen (84) during fourth-quarter action in Clemson, S.C. on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022.
South Carolina defensive back Marcellas Dial (24) intercepts a pass in front of Clemson tight end Davis Allen (84) during fourth-quarter action in Clemson, S.C. on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022.

Beamer and USC seem Florida-bound for postseason

Two weeks ago, South Carolina seemed destined for a 6-6 finish and a bottom of the barrel Southeastern Conference bowl. How times have changed.

With the win, the Gamecocks are likely in line for a bid to either the Gator (SEC vs. ACC) or Citrus Bowls (SEC vs. Big Ten), which fall just outside the New Years Six designations.

“If you’re Cocky and you know it clap your hands,” the Citrus Bowl posted to Twitter on Saturday.

Most bowl prognosticators had South Carolina pegged for the Gator Bowl, which is held in Jacksonville, prior to Saturday’s win. Given the victory, the Gamecocks are likely to climb in the SEC’s pecking order once more.

Bowl game announcements will be made on Dec. 4.

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