Moving right along

It's not uncommon for offensive game plans to include a script of plays for the first drive. Clemson's "opening plan" against South Carolina was right on schedule after six plays.

With the series starting on the Tigers' 24-yardline, the game's first drive began with Tajh Boyd throwing a pair of screen passes to Sammy Watkins. On third-and-5, Boyd converted the first-down with an 8-yard completion to Adam Humphries.

A 15-yard Roderick McDowell run and catches for five and 13 yards by Humphries moved the ball to the Gamecock 30.

On first-down, Watkins caught another screen-type pass, one that had a similar look to the first two. But this one was thrown backwards by Boyd. Watkins then threw a pass to Humphries that was intercepted by Brison Williams in the South Carolina end zone.

Instead of play seven ending with six points for Clemson, it was a Carolina first-down.

"We definitely felt like it was going to be open, and it was," Swinney said on Sunday, when asked if they felt the play was set-up by the previous two throws to Watkins.

"Sammy did not see the guy coming from backside, and Adam didn't seem him either. I think [Watkins] saw him wide-open and just kind of floated the ball out there, and their guy made a great play. He made a great play."

It was the first of five turnovers for Clemson. Swinney discussed the next three.

"The [punt] where the ball hit Martavis [Bryant], that's a tough break. Tajh, he's fighting for yards, the ball gets out of there. Same thing with Adam, he's just trying to make a play. Just, for whatever reason, those things come in spurts," he said. "It's very disappointing, because those things change games. That's a fact.

"That's one of the key things we talked about, we win the turnover margin, [and] we really felt like we'd win the game. We didn't give ourselves a chance in that regard. Give South Carolina credit. They didn't turn it over. They took care of the ball, and took it advantage of our mistakes."

Ever the optimist, Swinney pointed the things he saw as positives during Saturday night's loss to South Carolina.

"The offensive line probably played our best game, very physical. I thought Brandon Thomas did a tremendous job. [Tyler] Shatley, [Isaiah] Battle, performed very well," Swinney said. "Hot Rod, great to see us run the football the way we did. Tajh played very well up until that turnover, the fumble."

He added, "Defensively, I thought Vic Beasley was very active, did some good things. Grady Jarrett played a tremendous game, the best game he's played all year…I thought [Spencer] Shuey and Stephone [Anthony] played pretty good games, both solid"

As a team, Swinney was pleased with the way they responded in the face of adversity.

"It was great to see our team respond on the road, handle the adversity in the game and get momentum going into the half and then to come out, win the third quarter, tie the game up, tie ball game in the fourth quarter," he said. "So I was glad to see us fight back and almost give ourselves a chance there."

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