Grades: Tigers Fall to South Carolina

CLEMSON – Following each game, each phase of the Clemson team will be given a letter grade. Here are this week's grades following the South Carolina's 31-28 win over the Tigers:

Actually, this grade could have been a D+, but considering the Tigers scored 21 offensive points, C- is the grade they get. The offense was lackluster minus two monster plays, which accounted for 42 percent of the total yardage. Clemson only scored seven points after the first quarter. Moreover, eight of the Tigers' last nine drives resulted in five punts, an interception, a fumble and a missed field goal. Six of those non-scoring drives lasted five plays or less. Not very good.

For one of the few times ever in his stint as defensive coordinator, Vic Koenning had no answers for Spurrier's offense. But what is surprising most of all are the 208 rushing yards by the Gamecocks. It was so bad that Clemson managed four turnovers, and a fifth if you include the turnover on downs early in the third quarter, and it still gave up 31 points. Had it not been for the turnovers, South Carolina might have won the game by three touchdowns. In the end, the Gamecocks had 492 yards on offense. Ouch.

For the most part, the only downer for this unit was Jad Dean's missed field goal at the end of the game. Granted, it's a big miss, but the rest of the special teams played fairly well, including punter Cole Chason's average of 44.4 yards per punt. He also pinned South Carolina inside its own 15 twice, including one at the 4.

Clemson's refusal to call at least one timeout in the final minute seemed to be inexcusable. This marks the second time this year that the Tigers appeared to have settled for a field goal rather than going for a touchdown. They also did last year with Boston College. Not surprisingly enough, they lost all those games. That's what happens when you play not to lose rather than playing to win. Whatever adjustments were made at halftime on offense and defense didn't work. It was bad all the way around.

Even with all the problems offensively and defensively, the game still came down to the final seconds. But what is concerning is South Carolina did everything possible to hand the win to the Tigers and Clemson didn't take advantage of it. They have lost three of their last four and have looked mediocre at best. Top Stories