CLEMSON, S.C. -- Artavis Scott had two long touchdown catches, Wayne Gallman ran for 191 yards and Clemson (No. 21 CFP, No. 23 AP) ended a five-game losing streak to rival South Carolina with a 35-17 victory Saturday.
The Tigers (9-3) hadn't beaten the Gamecocks (6-6) since 2008, a unprecedented run of failure that overshadowed their 32-8 record the past three seasons. This time, Clemson showed off a perked up offense bolstered by the return of freshman starter Deshaun Watson at quarterback.
Watson threw two inside flip passes that Scott turned into touchdowns of 53 and 70 yards. The second one gave the Tigers a 28-10 lead that South Carolina couldn't overcome.
Watson finished 14 of 19 for 269 yards and two rushing TDs in first significant action since defeating North Carolina State on Oct. 4.
Scott had seven catches for 185 yards.
Watson, Gallman and Scott accounted for 626 yards and five touchdowns -- and they're all freshman.
Clemson players doused coach Dabo Swinney and celebrated like they'd won a championship -- and why not after the five straight defeats.
Watson had taken over the starting job early on in the Florida State game, yet he missed four full games and most of two others because of a broken hand and a sprained knee ligament.
Watson twice hobbled off the field, but returned each time to lead the victory.
Clemson's No. 1 ranked defense also helped out, twice stopping the Gamecocks on fourth down in the second half. Defensive end Vic Beasley had two sacks and forced a fumble.
South Carolina could not keep Steve Spurrier's mastery over the Tigers going in his 400th all-time game as coach in the pros and college. The Gamecocks hadn't ever won more than four straight in a Palmetto Bowl series Clemson leads 66-42-4.
Quarterback Dylan Thompson 21 of 39 for 249 yards -- enough to push him past former passer Todd Ellis as the school's all-time single-season yardage leader at 3,254 yards.
Clemson's been counting down to this one for a while, so much so that the Tigers put in a clock last spring that ticked away the moments until kickoff against their rivals.
Yet, things started in that same, old South Carolina way with the Gamecocks getting a 20-yard burst from Cooper out of the wildcat formation for a 7-0 lead. South Carolina gained 98 yards the first 11 minutes on a Clemson defense that allows just 252 a game.
But with Watson in control, the Tigers' offense soon got moving.
He had a 25-yard pass to Mike Williams before Scott's first TD to tie things at 7-all.
Beasley's 10th sack of the season forced a fumble by Thompson -- the seventh time in Beasley's 31 career sacks he's forced a fumble -- at the South Carolina 36.
Gallman gave Clemson the lead for good with runs of 31 and 5 yards for a touchdown.
The Tigers moved in front 21-7 on their next series, Watson sneaking in from a yard out to finish the 61-yard drive.
The Gamecocks had their lowest point total this season.