Originally written on BeyondUSports  |  Last updated 10/28/14
Analysis: Clemson vs South CarolinaFINAL in Clemson, SC: Gamecocks 27, Tigers 17 After Florida State squeaked by Virginia Tech this season, ESPN broadcaster Jesse Palmer said over air, “Clemson fans are sitting at home devastated.” National folks don’t always understand small town politics. Clemson’s season this year will be defined by two things. 1) How they fared against South Carolina 2) What opponent the Tigers face in postseason As much as playing for a conference championship is generally deemed the ultimate goal, it’s not for an offensive talent like Clemson in an underachieving ACC conference. Especially when your bowl opponent would be either Louisville or Rutgers. It was easy to pick Clemson in the rivalry game this weekend. The Tigers waned revenge. Boyd was a year better and a year more experienced. Clowney wasn’t healthy and Lattimore was out. It was a  night game at Death Valley. A Sugar bowl was on the line. photo credit: bleacherreport.com The quantity of arguments why Clemson would win Saturday may have outweighed those in favor of South Carolina. But don’t be fooled, the quality didn’t. South Carolina won because of two reasons. 1. South Carolina’s defensive line. Give me a Jadeveon Clwoney at 80 percent any day of the week. Especially against Clemson’s young offensive line. Boyd hasn’t proven he’s improved when facing that kind of pressure. 2. Clemson’s secondary. CBs Baushad Breeland and Darius Robinson were out with injury. Even with those two normal starters on the field, Clemson’s secondary is just not good. No two ways about it. Dual threat, pro-style QBs: Clemson’s defensive backs can’t stop them. Opponents are averaging over 400 yards of offense. If you’re a Clemson fan, you held your breath on 3rd and 15 — not necessarily 3rd and 3. Clemson led going into half 14-10. The Tigers were able to generate pressure on backup QB Dylan Thompson, and Boyd had time. If the second half, it was the exact opposite. Thompson tore up the Tigers with his feet and Boyd was hurried by Clowney on too many occasions. Another reason South Carolina won that hasn’t really been addressed by the national media: Spurrier’s staff made better adjustments at half than did Swinney’s guys. I’m surprised how Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris called plays. I expected him to use Watkins more in the backfield and to run the short passing game in order to open up room for big yardage plays like they have all season. Instead, in the second half Boyd dropped back and looked down field. Clemson’s offensive line gave way and Clowney took over. Clemson didn’t play well. That performance Saturday night is not all they’re capable of, especially the offense. But, when you only get so few opportunities to display what you’ve got playing against a formidable opponent, you can’t let them slip by. Clemson will head back to Atlanta and get a chance to salvage 2012 when they face a decent SEC team in the Chick-fil-A bowl. BeyondU Sports BeyondU Sports - Best College Sports Blog Site
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