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Petty Shoulders Aside Clemson

November 18, 2001|From Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. — After all he's been through in four years at South Carolina, Phil Petty wasn't about to let a sore shoulder keep him from beating Clemson for the first time.

Petty, questionable before kickoff, took a few aspirin before completing 14 of 23 passes for 152 yards as his No. 22 Gamecocks beat Clemson, 20-15, on Saturday.

The win in Petty's final home game ended a four-game losing streak against the Tigers (5-5) and will likely boost South Carolina (8-3) into a high-tier bowl game for the second consecutive season.

"We said before we left the locker room we wouldn't consider this a successful season if we lost," Petty said.

Petty was so determined to beat his team's most bitter rival that he stayed in the game after he separated the injured shoulder in the second quarter.

On third and goal from South Carolina's eight with his team leading by four, Petty ran a naked bootleg. He led into the tackle with his injured shoulder, gaining an extra three yards.

Petty didn't score, but he got close enough to give Coach Lou Holtz the confidence to go for it on fourth and goal. Backup quarterback Corey Jenkins drove in off right tackle to give the Gamecocks a 20-9 lead.

"This is our biggest win since I've been here," said Petty, who suffered through the Gamecocks' 21-game losing streak that ended the first game of the 2000 season. "This is the happiest I've ever been."

The Tigers, who went 9-3 last year, have lost four of their last five games and must beat Duke on Dec. 1 to become bowl eligible.

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