CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — There were no Dabo dance parties or excited shouts of success from Clemson's coach. Just the realization that the Tigers are still no match for South Carolina.
The 12th-ranked Tigers (10-2) lost their fourth straight to No. 13 South Carolina 27-17 on Saturday night, their first home loss in two years — when they fell to the Gamecocks to close the 2010 regular season.
"It's a hurt locker room," Swinney said. "It's been quite a while since we lost one here at home and there's certainly no fun in that locker room tonight."
Usually, Clemson's locker room is the place for trophy celebrations, like the ACC Atlantic Division hardware the Tigers collected a week ago for sharing that title with Florida State, and Swinney's crazy dances following big wins.
Instead, it was the place where Swinney had to apologize to Tigers fans and Clemson's seniors, who left campus 0-4 against their rivals for just the second time in school history.
Gamecocks backup quarterback Dylan Thompson threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns and star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney had 4 1-2 sacks to set the school single-season record. All of it kept Clemson's usually high-flying offense grounded.
"We'll learn some lessons from this," Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd said. "We'll learn some life lessons from this, too. We just have to come back and get ready for this bowl."
It was the first time since 1951-54 Clemson had lost four straight in the series. The victory also gave Steve Spurrier the school wins record at South Carolina, joining the Paul "Bear" Bryant as the only coaches with that distinction at two Southeastern Conference schools (Alabama and Kentucky).
Thompson kept the ball out of Clemson's hands in the second half in replacing injured starter Connor Shaw. But Spurrier understood that Clowney's one-of-a-kind pressure on Clemson's high-flying offense gave his team its chance at history.
"You can't block Jadeveon one-on-one," Spurrier said. "We've got him one more year. Then we are going to shake his hand and thank him for what he has done." And send him off to terrorize NFL quarterbacks.
Thompson got the call for the Gamecocks (10-2) because Shaw sprained his left foot last week against Wofford. And the Gamecocks sophomore made the most of it with TD passes of 13 and 6 yards to Bruce Ellington and 34 yards to Ace Sanders.
Spurrier's won 65 games in eight seasons, surpassing Rex Enright for most victories by a South Carolina coach. The Gamecocks finished with 10 victories for a second consecutive season, a first in program history.
"When we play Clemson, they don't seem to play very well," Spurrier said.
That was true again in this one as Clemson's offense and Boyd never got on track. The Tigers came leading the Atlantic Coast Conference and were sixth in the country with 535 yards a game. They finished with 328 yards against South Carolina, 165 over the final three quarters.