For the first time in seven seasons, Clemson won't be playing for the Atlantic Coast Conference championship. But the Tigers didn't show any letdown after learning that news Friday night, routing archrival South Carolina 30-0 on Saturday night for its seventh consecutive win in the series.
Clemson won this game using the same formula as it did its 48-27 win against Wake Forest a week earlier -- run, run, run and mix in a pass to keep the defense honest. That resulted in 333 yards rushing against the Deacons and 265 against the Gamecocks.
And again, the Clemson defense made that stand up. South Carolina finished with 206 yards, and more than one-third of it -- 72 yards -- came on its final possession against Tigers reserves.
Clemson (9-3) likely will follow the same formula against whomever it plays in a bowl game and tries to extend its 10-win season streak to 11.
10:39 p.m. | Clemson shuts out South Carolina
Clemson tackled South Carolina quarterback Zeb Noland at the 3-yard line on the final play of the game, securing the Tigers' first shutout win in the series since 1989.
FINAL: No. 23 Clemson 30, South Carolina 0
10:35 p.m. | Clemson scores another rushing touchdown
After South Carolina quarterback Zeb Noland went 0-for-4 on passes from the Gamecocks' 25 -- three passes were batted by the Tigers and the last almost intercepted by Malcolm Greene -- Clemson had a very short field.
And the Tigers ran it in. Phi Mafah took a handoff on fourth-and-three from the 6 and scored.
Clemson has rushed for 265 yards, and all three of its touchdowns have come on running plays.
No. 23 Clemson 30, South Carolina 0, 2:30, fourth quarter
10:19 p.m. | Clemson's defense preserves shutout
Quarterback Zeb Noland, the graduate transfer and former graduate assistant coach inserted into the lineup to replace an ineffective Jason Brown, led South Carolina on its best drive midway through the fourth quarter. But Clemson's defense maintained the shutout.
The Gamecocks moved the ball 48 yards in 11 plays before facing a fourth-and-five at the Clemson 33.
Noland was hit by K.J. Henry while trying to pass and fumbled. Noland recovered the ball, but Clemson took over possession.
No. 23 Clemson 23, South Carolina 0, 6:45, fourth quarter
10:02 p.m. | Potter adds long field goal to widen Clemson's lead
After Clemson's defense spoiled a great scoring opportunity for South Carolina, the Tigers put the Gamecocks in a deeper hole. And for the first time in the game, the passing game sparked the drive.
On the second play of the series, D.J. Uiagalelei lofted a pass that Will Brown caught for a 26-yard gain to the USC 33.
A holding penalty hampered the drive, but B.J. Potter salvaged points with a 49-yard field goal.
No. 23 Clemson 23, South Carolina 0, 12:24, fourth quarter.
9:53 p.m.| How Clemson's defense stonewalled South Carolina's best opportunity
Clemson's defense continues to give South Carolina's offense a pounding headache.
A USC punt pinned Clemson at its 1 and the Tigers went three-and-out. A short punt by Will Spiers gave the Gamecocks the ball at the Clemson 37.
Zeb Noland, in at quarterback, completed an 8-yard pass on first down, but the Gamecocks' drive went backward from there:
Second down: incomplete pass
Third down: Kevin Harris rushes for 9 yards but a holding penalty makes it third-and-12 instead of third-and-two.
Third down: Noland completes a pass to Harris, but he is tackled for a 2-yard loss.
Fourth down: Under heavy pressure, Noland throws incomplete.
No. 23 Clemson 20, South Carolina 0, end of third quarter.
9:35 p.m. | Clemson runs its way to another score against South Carolina
Clemson's first possession of the second half sent a message to South Carolina: We're going to force you to stop our running game.
After the Gamecocks went three-and-out to open the third quarter, the Tigers took possession at its 36. D.J. Uiagalelei handed off to Will Shipley four consecutive times for 29 yards.
Uiagalelei then threw a pass for 2 yards to Ajou Ajou and an 11-yard pass to Kobe Pace before handing off again to Shipley.
B.T. Potter then kicked a 47-yard field goal that curled just inside the right upright.
Clemson now has rushed for 224 yards and average 7.5 per carry. Shipley has rushed for 117 yards on 15 carries and became the first freshman since C.J. Spiller in 2006 to have three 100-yard games.
No. 23 Clemson 20, South Carolina 0, 9:05, third quarter
9:03 p.m. | Clemson getting no challenge from South Carolina through the first half
Clemson leads South Carolina 17-0 at the half, and that's far from the only evidence of the Tigers' domination.
The Tigers have 258 yards total offense, including 193 rushing. Clemson is gashing the Gamecocks for 7.7 yards per run. Will Shipley has 86 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown, and Kobe Pace has 54 yards on five carries and a touchdown.
Clemson's defense has limited South Carolina to 75 yards and three first downs, and that includes Jason Brown's 18-yard pass to Jaheim Bell on the final play of the half.
HALFTIME: No. 23 Clemson 17, South Carolina 0.
8:28 p.m. | Clemson football running over South Carolina
Clemson is averaging 10 yards per carry as it pulls away from South Carolina.
Kobe Pace broke loose for a 34-yard touchdown run on the Tigers' first possession of the second quarter, and Clemson has 141 yards rushing on 14 carries.
The Gamecocks entered the game ranked No. 95 in FBS in rushing defense, allowing an average of 171.1 yards per game.
No. 23 Clemson 17, South Carolina 0, 12:10, second quarter.
8:21 p.m.| Clemson football's defense flexing its muscle against South Carolina in first quarter
Clemson's defense isn't giving South Carolina a chance to gain any momentum while holding the home-field advantage.
The Gamecocks have netted 12 yards in 12 plays, rushing for 7 and passing for 5 and not getting any first downs. USC quarterback Jason Brown is 2-for-16 with an interception.
Clemson's offense has generated 103 yards total offense, led by Will Shipley's 55 yards on 5 carries, including a 29-yard touchdown. D.J. Uiagalelei is struggling, going 2-for-6 for 9 yards with an interception.
8:15 p.m. | Clemson settles for 3 after interception deep in USC territory
Clemson had a golden opportunity to take a two-touchdown lead but had to settle for silver.
After dropping a potential interception on first down, Tigers cornderback Andrew Booth Jr. intercepted a Jason Brown pass at the USC 13 on third down.
Clemson managed only one yard on three plays and settled for a 29-yard field goal by B.T. Potter.
No. 23 Clemson 10, South Carolina 0, 2:40, first quarter
7:49 p.m.: | Shipley leads Clemson on impressive opening drive
Clemson strikes first, revealing its likely strategy against South Carolina's defense -- running mixed with short passes.
Will Shipley rushed for a 29-yard touchdown, finishing a seven-play, 73-yard drive. Clemson rushed four times for 64 yards, 42 of them by Shipley.
No. 23 Clemson 7, South Carolina 0, 11:44, 1st quarter.
7:34 p.m. | Clemson has more health problems
Clemson will be without two key players against South Carolina:
This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Game blog: Observations from Clemson's domination of South Carolina