Wat­son throws 6 TD passes, leads No 4 Clem­son to win

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

De­shaun Wat­son tied his ca­reer high with six touch­down passes, three to Mike Wil­liams, and No. 4 Clem­son took an­other, strong step to the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off with a 567 vic­tory over ri­val South Carolina on Satur­day night.

If the Tigers (11-1, No. 4 CFP) don’t stum­ble against Vir­ginia Tech next week in the At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship, they’ll be off to col­lege foot­ball’s fi­nal four for a sec­ond straight sea­son.

The Game­cocks (6-6) were lit­tle more than speed bump on that road that Clem­son got past quickly, jump­ing out to a 21-0 lead in the open­ing quar­ter and cruis­ing to a third straight win in the Pal­metto State’s big­gest sport­ing event.

“We wanted to jump on these boys real quick,” Wat­son said. “That’s the motto ev­ery game, put pres­sure on them and have them back on their heels.” Wat­son fin­ished with 347 yards and matched the six TDs he threw in his first col­lege start against North Carolina in 2014. He also likely crept a bit closer in the Heis­man Tro­phy race to Louisville quar­ter­back La­mar Jack­son, whose team lost for a sec­ond straight week.

Wat­son and the Tigers also wiped out mem­o­ries of their last Death Val­ley game, a stun­ning, 43-42 loss to un­der­dog Pitt - Clem­son’s first home loss in more than three years.

“We started the ball rolling last week and we’re keep­ing the ball rolling,” cen­ter Jay Guillermo said. “We’re hit­ting our stride at a good time.” Wat­son and Wil­liams got things go­ing with a 34-yard TD catch. Then Wil­liams’ dragged South Carolina’s Ja­mar­cus King on his for sev­eral yards dur­ing a 19-yard scor­ing catch. By the time Jor­dan Leggett scored on a wide open 11-yard grab, Clem­son was in front to stay and Game­cocks de­fend­ers were yelling at each other.

Wayne Gall­man rushed for 112 yards and a touch­down. Wil­liams caught six passes for 100 yards. Clem­son’s de­fense held the Game­cocks to 62 yards in the first half and posted its big­gest mar­gin of vic­tory in the se­ries since a 51-0 win in 1900.

South Carolina avoided the shutout in the third quar­ter on a 33yard half­back pass from Deebo Sa­muel to Bryan Ed­wards “There’s not a lot to say,” Game­cocks coach Will Muschamp said. “On the road re­cruit­ing to­mor­row, that’s the way we’ll change our pro­gram.”


South Carolina cer­tainly made strides over the sec­ond half with young play­ers on of­fense like quar­ter­back Jake Bentley and tail­back Rico Dow­dle. The Game­cocks will need to add a lot more tal­ent on both sides of the ball be­fore it can match up with the Tigers. An­other month of prac­tice and a fa­vor­able bowl op­po­nent would still leave South Carolina feel­ing good about its progress this sea­son.

Clem­son found its dom­i­nat­ing form in its fi­nal home game of the sea­son af­ter its stun­ning, 43-42 fall to Pitt the last time here two weeks ago. More im­por­tantly, the Tigers showed a re­solved it will need for a sec­ond straight trip to the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off. If Clem­son shows the same drive against Vir­ginia Tech, there’s no doubt it will play once again for a na­tional ti­tle. —AP

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