Nov. 23, 2002
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By PETE IACOBELLIAP Sports Writer
CLEMSON, S.C. – Bernard Rambert ran for two touchdowns, including a 2-yard score with 9:38 left in the game, as Clemson rallied to win the 100th meeting over archrival South Carolina 27-20 Saturday night.
Rambert also had a 4-yard touchdown run in the first quarter for the Tigers (7-5), who beat the Gamecocks for the fifth time in the last six years. Charlie Whitehurst added 287 yards passing.
It was a bitter ending for coach Lou Holtz and South Carolina (5-7), which lost its final five games after looking like a lock for a third straight bowl game a few weeks ago.
Clemson awaits its holiday plans, most likely a trip to the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando against a Big 12 opponent on Dec. 23. The Tigers have played in a bowl game all four years under coach Tommy Bowden, who got his third win in four meeting against Holtz.
Clemson fans celebrated like they made the Fiesta Bowl. They swarmed the field at Death Valley, toppling the goal post that stands in front of Howard’s Rock near the stadium’s hill entrance.
Things didn’t look good at the end of the third quarter for Clemson as South Carolina, which had scored only 17 points in its last 14 quarters coming in, struck for two third-quarter TDs – the last a 2-yard run by Andrew Pinnock – to go in front 20-13.
Whitehurst, who has won three of four since taking the starting job, then got the Tigers going. He completed passes of 11 yards to Rambert, 17 yards to Derrick Hamilton, and 21 yards to Airese Currie deep into South Carolina territory.
Faced with third-and-10 from the Gamecocks 11, Whitehurst avoided the blitz by South Carolina’s quarterback-turned-safety Corey Jenkins, rolled left and held the ball high as he crossed the goal for the tying touchdown.
Whitehurst was at it again on the next drive. He hit Hamilton for 23 yards and Jackie Robinson for 30 yards down to South Carolina’s 1.
Two plays later, Rambert took a pitch from Whitehurst into the right corner of the end zone for the winning score.
Whitehurst finished 27-of-38 with no interceptions.
The Gamecocks’ final drive died on a bit of trickery. Backup kicker Josh Brown took a field goal snap on fourth-and-5 and tried to pass to reserve quarterback Erik Kimrey. But the ball was batted away by linebacker Eric Sampson with 6:25 left.
Clemson ran out the clock, and ended the Gamecocks’ season.
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