Rivalries of any kind always come with a certain amount of animosity attached, but an in-state feud where the combatants are within one tank of gas apart totally takes the disdain to a different level. Such is the case for the Clemson Tigers and South Carolina Gamecocks whose yearly reckoning always comes with its fair share of ill will. 2013’s installment had plenty of build up coming into the game, but unfortunately for the Tigers turnovers ultimately cost them any opportunity to get a victory.
The calamity of errors for Clemson began in the first quarter with an interception thrown by wide receiver Sammy Watkins when the Tigers were on brink of end zone. It didn’t stop there as Adam Humphries muffed a punt which would be recovered by South Carolina setting them up on a short field. Another fumble by quarterback Tajh Boyd, a second muffed punt by Humphries, and an interception by Boyd would seal the deal for the Gamecocks with the turnover battle going in their favor by a count of five to none.
Turnovers themselves are bad enough, but it’s what the team forcing them does with the ensuing possession that really counts the most. That’s where South Carolina really made their money on the evening as the Gamecocks turned those five giveaways by Clemson into 21 points. I’m not mathematician, but in a game where the final score was 31 to 17 it seems fairly obvious that turnovers were the difference.
What this win does is it really puts a stamp on the SEC’s dominance of late over pretty much every conference in question and especially the ACC in this case. This was the fifth consecutive win in this rivalry for the Gamecocks which is somewhat unbelievable given the fact that South Carolina had only won this yearly event five times in a 20 year span from 1988 up until 2008.
Perhaps the biggest side plot from this narrative is the fact that Tajh Boyd officially ends his Clemson career without a win against the team’s fiercest rival. That really has to sting for a signal caller who accomplished so much during his time on campus. Many are wondering about Boyd’s pro prospects heading into the NFL Draft in the coming spring, and this stain on his resume can’t do him any favors.
It’s hard to win any game when you turn the ball over five times, but it’s even more impossible when your defense fails to force a single giveaway from the other side. Ultimately that’s what made the difference in this fight for the state of South Carolina on Saturday night.