Nov. 20, 1999
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Behind outstanding individual performances by receiver Rod Gardner and linebacker Keith Adams, Clemson outlasted arch-rival South Carolina 31-21 before 83,523 fans in Columbia, sending the Gamecocks (0-11) to their 21st consecutive defeat. The victory was Clemson’s sixth in a row in Columbia and third in a row overall over the Gamecocks, and clinched a bowl berth.
Adams recorded a Tiger-record 27 tackles, including four-for-loss and three sacks. The sophomore First-Team All-American also had two quarterback pressures and a caused fumble. Gardner had six catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns, including a 29-yard scoring grab on fourth down in the fourth quarter to seal the win. That play put Gardner over the 1,000-yard mark in receiving, the first Tiger to do so.
Travis Zachery had his third 100-yard rushing game with 105 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns. Bernard Rambert added 54 yards on six carries. Woodrow Dantzler was 14-26 for 249 yards and two touchdowns as the Tigers outgained South Carolina 425-252 in total offense. After Phil Petty completed seven of 10 passes for 112 yards in the first quarter, Clemson’s defense limited him to 8-22 for 55 yards over the final three quarters. He was also sacked six times for minus 54 yards.
South Carolina held the Tiger offense scoreless for the first 18 minutes. Meanwhile, the South Carolina offense was clicking. After Tony Lazzara missed a 22-yard field goal, South Carolina marched 70 yards in 10 plays, but had to settle for a 20-yard field goal by Steve Florio. South Carolina had to settle for field goals three times after driving into the “red zone”.
After sacking Dantzler on back-to-back plays and stopping him on a keeper, the Gamecocks drove 51 yards in nine plays capped by a 24-yard field goal by Florio with 14:41 left in the second quarter. Clemson finally got rolling on the ensuing drive, which featured a new formation (the “pod”) where the tackles lined up 25 yards from the center. Dantzler connected with Matt Bailey for 20 yards while in the formation, and after Zachery rushed 18 yards to the Gamecock two, he scored on the next play.
Clemson upped its lead to 14-6 on its next possession when Dantzler hit Gardner on a slant-in. Gardner raced 24 yards untouched for six. Dantzler was 3-4 for 59 yards on the drive. But the Gamecocks came right back and cut the Tiger lead to 14-12 with 1:21 left before halftime, as they marched 71 yards in 13 plays capped by Andrew Pinnock’s four-yard run. Petty’s two-point pass was unsuccessful.
Clemson struck first in the second half when Zachery scored from four yards, capping an eight-play, 63-yard drive. Zachery and Rambert combined for 51 yards on seven carries on the drive. Clemson looked to be in control of the game when the Tiger defense sacked Petty on four consecutive plays (over two possessions) at the end of the third quarter, but South Carolina did not die.
After Ryan Brewer returned a punt to the Tiger 31, South Carolina cut Clemson’s lead to 24-18 when Pinnock, who had 18 carries for 76 yards, scored from 14 yards. The two-point play was unsuccessful. Kenny Harney then picked off a pass deep in Tiger territory, but South Carolina could not punch it into the endzone and had to settle for a 29-yard field goal by Florio, making the score 24-21.
Clemson then drove 66 yards in five plays for the clinching score. Facing fourth-and-10 at the 29, Clemson went for the jugular. Dantzler lobbed a pass into the endzone and Gardner snared the ball for six with 6:41 left in the game. South Carolina could not muster a comeback and the 97th meeting went the Tigers’ way.
Clemson 0 17 7 7 - 31South Carolina 3 9 0 9 - 21
USC-Florio 20 FG, 1st, 4:53, 10-70 USC-Florio 24 FG, 2nd, 14:41, 9-51 CU-Zachery 2 run (Lazzara kick), 2nd, 11:25, 9-79 CU-Gardner 24 pass from Dantzler (Lazzara kick), 2nd, 7:16, 5-60 USC-Pinnock 4 run (pass failed), 2nd, 1:21, 13-71 CU-Lazzara 24 FG, 2nd, 0:00, 10-70 CU-Zachery 4 run (Lazzara kick), 3rd, 6:33, 8-63 USC-Pinnock 14 run (pass failed), 4th, 11:29, 4-31 USC-Florio 29 FG, 4th, 8:44, 6-11 CU-Gardner 29 pass from Dantzler (Lazzara kick), 4th, 6:41, 5-66 Attendance: 83,523 Time: 3:28 (SEC-TV) Weather: cloudy, mild, and 72 degrees
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