South Carolina soon will turn its attention to whatever its next game might be and leave the reveling in an unprecedented five-game winning streak against Clemson to the Gamecocks fan base.
We dont talk about them all year, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said late Saturday night after his team finished off the Tigers 31-17 in Williams-Brice Stadium to finish the regular season 10-2.
I think that is something they used to do here. We will enjoy tonight. I know our fans enjoy it year round, but really as a team, we dont talk about it that much.
It wont be nearly as easy for the Tigers to forget after committing six turnovers and being outscored 14-0 in the fourth quarter. Clemson still owns the longest-winning streak in the rivalry (seven games from 1934-1940) and the overall advantage of 65-41-4, but two consecutive USC senior classes now have left school without a loss to the Tigers.
It means a lot, especially to end it like this, proud of the guys, junior South Carolina cornerback Victor Hampton said. We earned this win tonight. It wasnt given to us. I am happy for the things we have done this year. I am at a loss for words man. Its just a great achievement. It has never been done before. Thats what we have been doing ever since I have been here, achieving things South Carolina has never done before.
The win moved the Gamecocks up two spots to No. 8 in The Associated Press poll and the BCS, and put South Carolina in prime position for a spot in the Capital One Bowl, the SECs most prestigious non-BCS bowl game.
However, bowl bids will not be released until Sunday, which means time off for the Gamecocks and a week of mostly recruiting for the coaches. The Cotton Bowl and Outback Bowl also remain possibilities, while an at-large BCS bid seems an extreme long shot with two-time defending national champion Alabama now available to take that spot.
Hampton and junior defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles confirmed their intentions to enter the NFL draft following the game, while junior defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who said before the season that it would be his last, reminisced briefly about his All-America career.
This is a great team, Clowney said. I could have went anywhere in the country. I am glad I chose to come to South Carolina, best decision of my life probably.
Clowney indicated he plans to be with the team for its bowl game, but the junior did not say when, or if, he plans to have surgery on bone spurs in his foot.
I am not even focusing on that right now, he said. I am just waiting to see where we fall in the bowl lineup and get ready for that.
One player who will certainly be there for the bowl game is quarterback Connor Shaw, who improved to 17-0 in Williams-Brice Stadium and 26-5 overall as the Gamecocks starting quarterback.
Its been a (heck) of a ride, Shaw said.
- ESPN's Mark Schlabach and Brad Edwards: Both predict Capital One Bowl, vs. Wisconsin
- Phil Steele: Capital One, vs. Wisconsin
- ESPN SEC blog: Outback Bowl (no opponent given)
- CBS/Jerry Palm: Outback Bowl, vs. Iowa
- Orlando Sentinel: Outback Bowl, vs. Iowa
- SB Nation: Outback Bowl, vs. Iowa