Notebook: Shaw silences doubters; Quarles, Hampton look NFL-bound

dcloninger@thestate.comDecember 1, 2013 

Clemson Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd (10) is sacked by South Carolina Gamecocks defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles (99) in the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, SC, Saturday, November 30, 2013.

GERRY MELENDEZ — gmelendez@thestate.com

Connor Shaw always had his detractors.

He couldn’t beat a ranked opponent on the road. He only beat two ranked opponents among his 16-game undefeated home winning streak.

They were silenced Saturday.

Shaw beat No. 6 Clemson — and it was nearly a one-man show — as he left Williams-Brice Stadium unblemished as a starter. It was his third win over a ranked team at home, but two have been over the archrival Tigers.

“It’s just special, man,” Shaw said. “This is why we came to South Carolina. The seniors not losing to them, is huge.”

Shaw also beat No. 5 Georgia in 2012.

Remember me?

Former quarterback Steve Taneyhill was on hand to lead the crowd in the “Game-Cocks” cheer before the team’s entrance. Alum Darius Rucker performed the national anthem, and former USC baseball star Jackie Bradley Jr. was honored during a second-quarter timeout.

Seniors and juniors

On Senior Day, USC recognized seniors Shaw, Ronald Patrick, Chaz Sutton, Jimmy Legree and David Wilkins before the game, and also honored juniors Kelcy Quarles, Jadeveon Clowney and Victor Hampton.

Clowney is considered a lock to go to the NFL after this season, and Quarles’ father told The State that his son also was leaving. Hampton confirmed that he has “pretty much” decided to go pro after this season.

A national game

The game was the first in the rivalry’s history where each team was ranked in the Top 10 of The Associated Press Top 25. It also was part of a streak that left USC-Clemson as the only season-ending rivalry in the country that has featured three straight matchups where each team was in the top 20.

Other top 20 matchups over the past three years were series between LSU and Alabama, LSU and Florida and Oregon and Stanford.

Going bowling

Representatives from the Outback, Gator, Capital One and Sugar bowls were at Williams-Brice Stadium to scout USC, while reps from the Orange and Belk bowls were there for Clemson. A rep from the Chick-fil-A Bowl was there for each team.

Injury report

As expected, Quarles, Clowney and running back Mike Davis all started the game after missing last week’s win over Coastal Carolina. Safety Brison Williams (forearm) also started the game.

For Clemson, safety Travis Blanks (torn ACL) and linebacker B.J. Goodson (groin) missed the USC game after being injured against The Citadel last week.

Chaz Elder sustained a concussion in the third quarter and did not return.

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