On its way to its first national championship in three decades, Clemson laid waste to South Carolina, routing their in-state rivals in a 56-7 woodshedding that included a 35-0 halftime lead. The Tigers outgained the Gamecocks 622-218, while they had a 41-14 advantage in first downs as well.
The 49-point difference served as the largest margin of victory in a rivalry that was first played in 1896 and has been played more than 110 times since. Not only that, it was the largest margin of defeat for an SEC team at the hands of an ACC school.
By any measure, it was an utter and complete beatdown. Unless you’re Jake Bentley.
In that game, Bentley, a true freshman quarterback, completed 7-of-17 passes for 41 yards, zero touchdowns and an interception. That translates into a not-so-robust pass efficiency rating of 49.7.
During an interview with FOX Carolina Wednesday, however, Bentley indicated it was more of what USC didn’t do than what their rivals did that cost them the game.
“We just didn’t play well that week,” Bentley said, by way of TigerNet.com. “That’s our big quote going into this year. We felt we got outworked so never again. So our big thing is never again we will be outworked. Never again will be outcompeted in a game like that.
“It all stems from that game because at the end of the game everyone knew that they were not that much better than us or better than us at all. It really just lit a fire in everybody since that week. Everyone has worked harder and wanted it more.”
Again, 56-7 screams that the team with 56 points is significantly better than the one with 49 fewer, but your mileage may vary. Regardless, it’s safe to assume the bolded, italicized portion of that quote will find its way onto some Death Valley bulletin boards ahead of this year’s edition of the rivalry game.