GRADES: Marks from Clemson-USC

CLEMSON – Following each game, each phase of the Clemson team will be given a letter grade. Here are this week's grades following the Tigers' 23-21 victory at South Carolina at Williams-Brice Stadium.

OFFENSE: C- This game shouldn't have come down to a last-second field goal. The Tigers should have had this game well in hand well before that. Four times Clemson got to the South Carolina 35 or closer and came away with no points. The Tigers are fortunate the offense didn't perform the way it had all game in the final two minutes. That's the only thing that prevented this from being a D or lower.

DEFENSE: A Sure, there was plenty of yardage gained by South Carolina, but the defense harassed the Gamecocks all night. Clemson held its opponent under 100 yards rushing again and forced three turnovers. As usual, the defense saved the lack of production from the offense.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B- For every great play, the two blocked punts and game-winning field goal, it seemed there was an equal amount of failure like the two missed field goals and poor kickoffs and returns. Mark Buchholz avoided going down in infamy with Jad Dean by making his field goal at the end.

COACHING: B+ David Blackwell is the one that designed the punt block formation and Vic Koenning matched Spurrier blow for blow. But the offensive play calling was suspect and even had tailback James Davis scratching is head on confusion after the game. Rob Spence was fortunate that the offense did just enough to pull out the win in the end or otherwise it would have been a very long offseason for the Mad Scientist.

OVERALL: B There were plenty of good things and couple of bad ones. It wasn't a well played game, but the Tigers overcame all their shortcomings to pull out the win in the end. It was a win that will put Clemson in either Atlanta or Jacksonville over the holiday season.

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