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(Saturday, November 28th)
Final Score: South Carolina 34, (15) Clemson 17
Columbia, SC (Sports Network) - Kenny Miles ran for 114 yards and it was the ground game of South Carolina and a strong defensive effort against Clemson's C.J. Spiller that lifted the Gamecocks to a 34-17 victory over the 15th-ranked Tigers at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Stephen Garcia threw for just 126 yards in the victory and completed only 10- of-21 passes, but three of those completions went for touchdowns for the Gamecocks (7-5), who snapped a three-game losing streak and enhanced their bowl prospects.
Spiller returned the opening kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown, but Clemson didn't score again until the fourth quarter. The Heisman Trophy candidate finished with just 18 yards rushing on nine carries for the Tigers (8-4), who had a six-game winning streak stopped.
Clemson hadn't lost since a 24-21 setback at Maryland on October 3, but will play again next week in the ACC Championship Game against Georgia Tech.
The Gamecocks ran for 223 yards and held Clemson to just 48 on the ground.
"We ran the ball and that's obviously what we need to do to win," Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier said. "A lot of people advised us to do that and we took heed to that."
Spiller had a short return on the opening kickoff, but South Carolina was offside and had to try it again. This time, Spiller found a seam along the left side and raced untouched to the end zone for a 7-0 Clemson lead.
That was it for the Clemson offense for awhile.
Garcia was intercepted on South Carolina's first drive, but the Gamecocks got the ball back after a Clemson fumble and Brian Maddox tied the game with a one-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter.
Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker was picked off on the next series and South Carolina needed just two plays to score again, as Garcia threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to Weslye Saunders.
Spencer Lanning drilled a 47-yard field goal early in the second quarter to extend the lead to 17-7.
Spiller fumbled after a reception on Clemson's first series of the third quarter, but the Gamecocks could not take advantage and had a Lanning field goal attempt blocked.
South Carolina got the ball right back after a Tiger punt and Garcia found Tori Gurley with a 14-yard touchdown pass to make it 24-7 midway through the third period.
Clemson finally answered early in the fourth on a 45-yard field goal from Richard Jackson, but Lanning followed with a 38-yard kick. The Tigers then went 64 yards for their only offensive touchdown, as Parker hit Michael Palmer with a 22-yard scoring pass to make it 27-17 with 3:46 to play.
South Carolina recovered the ensuing onsides kick, as Alshon Jeffery was able to return it 35 yards to the four-yard line. Garcia found Saunders with a one- yard scoring toss moments later for the final margin.
"We have to realize what our mistakes were and get them corrected and get ready for the (ACC) Championship Game," Spiller said after the game.
Spiller set an NCAA record with his seventh career kickoff return for a touchdown, breaking the old mark of six that was shared by USC's Anthony Davis and Tulsa's Ashlan Davis...South Carolina outgained Clemson, 388-260...The Gamecocks also held the ball for more than 36 minutes, while the Tigers had it for just over 23...Clemson had won nine of the last 10 meetings in Columbia.
11/28 20:55:54 ET