CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson had the perfect play called on the final play of the third quarter Saturday afternoon against South Carolina.
With the Tigers facing a 1st-and-20 at the USC 43, Clemson’s T.J. Chase broke free on a corner route and was wide open 15 yards down field. But South Carolina corner Israel Mukuamu, who was about 7 yards in front of Chase, made a leaping deflection to knock Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s pass away.
As the 6-foot-4 Mukuamu jogged in the direction of the Gamecocks sideline after the pass breakup, he had a brief exchange with Lawrence.
“He made a great play on that play,” Lawrence said Monday. “We had a wide open guy and I tried to put it right over (Mukuamu). He’s so long and got a piece of it. He made a great play and I was letting him know he did.”
This year marked the 15-year anniversary of the brawl between South Carolina and Clemson, and while there was plenty of pushing and shoving around the country during rivalry weekend, there was none in Columbia.
Lawrence believes that is because there is a good mutual respect between Clemson players and South Carolina players at the moment.
“I’ve had a chance to think about it the last week or so, two weeks maybe. I think this rivalry is now, it’s just so much more of the fans than it is necessarily the players,” Lawrence said. “Obviously we both care about this game and we wanna win the game, but I think all of the nasty stuff that you see is mostly fans, really. We respect each other and we respect the guys on the other team.”
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney also took a break from the competition on Saturday to acknowledge South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn. The sophomore recorded five tackles against the Tigers.
“I think they’ve got two great corners. I think those guys are great players,” Swinney said. “In fact, I told (Horn), I went over, we had a timeout. I was like, ‘Man, you’re as good a player as I’ve seen all year.’ He’s a really good football player and does a great job.”
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