Boyd, Davis Outshine Clemson Backfield Duo

A pair of dynamic running backs stole the show in Saturday's clash between arch-rivals South Carolina and Clemson, but it was not the duo that many would have expected entering into the game. Read inside for full story.



South Carolina tailbacks Cory Boyd and Mike Davis made a statement with their play on Saturday afternoon. It was a message that over 80,000 onlookers witnessed first hand in the Gamecocks come-from-behind 31-28 victory over the Tigers in Death Valley, and it's one that fans of neither side will soon forget. Despite going head to head against Clemson's highly touted backfield tandem of James Davis and C.J. Spiller, Boyd and Davis out-dueled the Tigers 1-2 punch with a punishing, workmanlike performance.

When Boyd was not side-stepping the over pursuing Clemson linebackers, Davis was plowing through them, and vice versa. On the day, Boyd totaled 16 carries for 106 yards and 1 touchdown, while Davis racked up 69 yards and 2 touchdowns on 12 carries, all coming against one of the nation's top 20 run defenses. In comparison, James Davis, who has rushed for over 1,100 yards on the season, was held to only 19 yards on 11 carries. The lightning-quick Spiller picked up the slack for Davis and broke a pair of long touchdown runs to breathe temporary life into the stagnant Clemson offense, but there was no denying which backfield tandem controlled the game on this day.

Mike Davis commented on his and Boyd's performance after the game, as he said, "We just wanted to come out and show our best and try to lead the team." That they did, as the Gamecocks rushing attack played an instrumental role in USC scoring seventeen unanswered points to overcome a 28-14 third quarter deficit and ultimately win the game on Ryan Succop's 35 yard field goal with seven minutes left to play. When asked after the game if he took going head to head against the Clemson backfield as a challenge, Davis stated that he and Boyd viewed this game as an opportunity to showcase their own talents. "Davis, Spiller, and (Reggie) Meriwether are real good backs, but we just wanted to come out and show our talents."


Mike Davis and James Davis greet each other after the Gamecocks 31-28 win over the Tigers on Saturday.


An emotional Boyd spoke after the game, and he stated that Saturday's win over Clemson, the first in five years, was dedicated to all of the loyal Gamecock fans. "This game was for the Carolina fans. They can finally say that they have something over Clemson this year, and hopefully we can keep the streak going."

Boyd continued by sharing his feelings on the bitter rivalry between South Carolina and Clemson, which was as heated as ever on Saturday afternoon. "This is one of the greatest rivalries I've ever known. Even though I'm not from here, you still get wrapped up in the hype of the game," said Boyd. "(Clemson) felt as though they could come out here and win to keep the streak going, but we have some hungry young guys in our locker room that wanted to see what this rivalry was about and start a new legacy."

Saturday certainly featured a performance to remember for the two Gamecock backfield mates, but while Clemson's Davis and Spiller are being dubbed with nicknames like "Superman" and "Flash," Boyd and Davis are content to continue playing their blue collar style, and filling their role in an offense that is currently hitting on all cylinders. "We know that we've got a lot of weapons on the offensive side, and we know that we can go out there and play with anybody in the nation as long as we play hard," said Boyd.

The Gamecocks will now enjoy some well deserved time off as they wait for the pending announcement of which bowl they will be attending this holiday season.


NOTES:

- Saturday marked Boyd's third time topping the century mark this season. His other two 100+ yard performances also came on the road in wins against Kentucky and Vanderbilt. He now has 729 yards rushing and 6 touchdowns on the year. Boyd is also the team's third leading receiver with 31 receptions for 361 yards and 2 touchdowns.

- Davis sat out last weekend's game against Middle Tennessee State due to a boil on his thigh, but he has now scored 4 touchdowns in his last two performances. Davis found the end zone twice against Florida, and he did the same on Saturday afternoon against Clemson. He now has 6 rushing touchdowns on the year, which tie him with Boyd for the team lead. He is second on the team with 402 rushing yards.

- Davis, who chose to attend South Carolina over Clemson during the recruiting process, has now made his presence felt in both of his career games against the Tigers. Davis led the Gamecocks with 111 yards rushing in last season's 13-9 loss to the Tigers.

- South Carolina's 492 yards of total offense on Saturday nearly doubled the 249.9 yards that Clemson's defense was averaging giving up entering into this weekend.

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