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November 26, 2011

Carolina game balls



NO. 14 SOUTH CAROLINA 34, NO. 18 CLEMSON 13

GAME BALLS

Connor Shaw
Leading rusher, leading passer, joining the pantheon of USC quarterbacks who have done what is often the only thing that needs to be done - beat Clemson. Shaw burned the Tigers with his legs and did it with his arm, and kept up his transition of becoming a good, no, a great, quarterback. The most important thing? The specter of Stephen Garcia hanging over Shaw is now officially gone, never to return.

Kenny Miles
Wow. Just, wow. Miles, knowing it's probably his last home game (he has graduated and may transfer to play his remaining year), gets the call when Brandon Wilds isn't running as well as usual. Miles responds, ripping a 15-yard run after he got facemasked and then bolting for 71 total yards for the game. Bench strength.

Alshon Jeffery
Only two for 29 yards, but man, another touchdown that he snagged just before he went out of bounds in the back of the end zone. Going to miss that one.

Bruce Ellington
He may have to re-think only playing one sport next year, although he was never adamant about swearing off one or the other (he only said he was thinking about playing one, and never clarified one). He caught a beautiful touchdown throw on a simple streak route and was USC's leading receiver with 71 yards. The kid's got something special, but we'll see how it goes over the offseason.

Rory Anderson
As Steve Spurrier said, Anderson always makes a big play. He caught two passes for 57 yards, the first a 55-yard gallop where he stiff-armed and slipped tackles for more yardage. The second was simply going to the end zone and waiting for an easy touchdown. A great freshman talent, Anderson slipped in under the radar and has played very well all year.

Jay Wooten
Big night for the senior kicker, who drilled two field goals (47 and 37 yards) and blasted seven kickoffs for an average of 61 yards. While Sammy Watkins didn't return kicks, Wooten made sure whoever did was limited with two touchbacks.

DeVonte Holloman
Just as he did two years ago, Holloman stepped in front of a Clemson pass and raced it into Tiger territory. Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time situations.

Defense
Beaten, bruised and bloodied from a long season, Ellis Johnson's boys again stood tall. USC held Clemson to a mere 153 yards (benefiting from a few dropped passes) but shut down the Tigers' collection of talent. The line dominated, and the pressure on Tahj Boyd was relentless.

Steve Spurrier
Hasn't lost one step. He held the Gamecocks together through a team rocked with injuries and tied the single-season win mark, with one more game to play. Easily a Coach of the Year season.

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