Beamer gets mayonnaise bath as South Carolina wins Mayo Bowl

JESSICA GALLAGHER/ Staff / USA TODAY NETWORK
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CHARLOTTE, N.C.- South Carolina coach Shane Beamer had a bucket of mayonnaise dumped over his head Thursday, putting a memorable and messy finish on the Gamecocks’ 38-21 victory over North Carolina in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.

Jaheim Bell had five catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns for South Carolina (7-6), which rebounded nicely after it lost 30-0 to Clemson in its regular-season finale on Nov. 27. Kevin Harris added 169 yards rushing and a score, helping secure the mayo bath for Beamer.

Beamer joked that the mayo dump was “more awful than I thought it would be.”

“I got hammered in the back of the head from the cooler – and then came the mayo,” Beamer said. “I may have an concussion. It was awful. … I have mayo in my pockets, I think.”

Bell came into the game with 338 yards receiving and three TDs during the regular season, but figured prominently into the game plan early on.

The sophomore tight end got free for a 69-yard touchdown reception from converted wide receiver Dakereon Joyner and hauled in a 66-yard TD catch from former graduate assistant coach Zeb Noland on South Carolina’s first two possessions.

Juju McDowell added a 35-yard TD run in the second quarter as South Carolina averaged 11.6 yards per play while opening a 25-13 lead in the first half.

Sam Howell threw for 205 yards and a touchdown for the Tar Heels (6-7), and reserve running back British Brooks had a bowl record 63-yard touchdown run for the Tar Heels.

South Carolina rotated Joyner and Noland under center, and both were effective.

Joyner came into the game having attempted only one pass this season and 31 in his college career.

But the element of surprise proved effective on the Gamecocks’ first possession, when Joyner hit the 6-foot-3, 232-pound Bell in stride down the middle of the field.

Joyner, who was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, finished 9-of-9 passing for 160 yards and also ran for 64 yards. Noland was 3-of-6 passing for 82 yards as the Gamecocks went nearly three quarters before their first incomplete pass.

Beamer said in hindsight he should have used Joyner more at quarterback earlier in the season.

“The element of making them defend the quarterback run was big,” Beamer said. “And he’s a talented thrower, too. … We just wanted to give them something else to defend.”

South Carolina rushed for 301 yards, despite Tar Heels coach Mack Brown saying North Carolina’s game plan was to stop the run.

“You’re not going to win football games like that,” Brown said. “They ran it, we didn’t.”

Beamer said South Carolina had a 50-play live scrimmage leading up the game.

Said Beamer: “We had a plan for how we are going to win the game, but even I didn’t anticipate it going that well.”

Howell, a projected first-round pick in the NFL draft, made several impressive throws with his strong, accurate arm. But the junior quarterback spent most of the game under heavy duress playing behind an offensive line that struggled most of the season.

The Tar Heels cut the lead to 11 midway through the third quarter on a double-reverse flea flicker, with Howell finding a wide-open Garrett Walston for a 37-yard touchdown.

But South’s Carolina’s offense proved too much for a porous North Carolina defense as the Gamecocks racked up 543 yards on offense.

THE TAKEAWAY

South Carolina: The Gamecocks posted wins over Florida and Auburn this season in what was expected to be down season and now added a bowl win to the resume. Winning seven games was an encouraging sign that Beamer may finally have this once-proud program headed in the right direction. This is the first time since 2018 the Gamecocks have finished the season with a winning record.

“This is a great statement about where we are,” Beamer said. “But I understand we have to be more consistent. But to go into the offseason with so much momentum is huge.”

North Carolina: The Tar Heels started the season ranked 10th in the country and finished the year with a losing record, so it’s hard to describe this season as anything but a major disappointment. The defense needs major improvements and offensive line is in need of upgrades as well. “This was disappointing,” Brown said.

UP NEXT

South Carolina: There is plenty of excitement about the program moving forward. A lot of that has to do with former Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler‘s decision to transfer to South Carolina.

North Carolina: With Howell expected to move on to the NFL, the Tar Heels will look to either Jacolby Criswell or Drake Maye to inherit the quarterback spot. Maye is a native of nearby Huntersville, North Carolina, and the younger brother of former UNC basketball star Luke Maye.

No. 2 Michigan beats Purdue 43-22 for Big Ten crown

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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INDIANAPOLIS – Donovan Edwards ran for 185 yards and a score, J.J. McCarthy threw three touchdown passes and No. 2 Michigan beat Purdue 43-22 on Saturday night for its second straight Big Ten title and a likely No. 2 playoff seed.

College football’s winningest program has the first 13-win season in school history. Two more victories would give the Wolverines (13-0, No. 2 CFP) their first national championship since 1997.

And with injured star Blake Corum sidelined by a season-ending left knee injury, Edwards stole the show for the second straight week.

After shredding rival Ohio State for 216 yards and two scores last week, Edwards broke open this game with a 60-yard on the first play of the second half to set up one score. He added a 27-yard TD sprint on Michigan’s next series to make it 28-13.

Purdue (8-5) never recovered from Michigan’s quick, seven-play onslaught after it trailed 14-13 at halftime.

But quarterback Aidan O'Connell and receiver Charlie Jones helped the Boilermakers make it interesting for a while.

O’Connell was 32 of 47 with 366 yards and two interceptions after missing some practice time early this week to mourn the death of his oldest brother. Jones, who lost to Michigan in last year’s game while playing for Iowa, had 13 receptions for 162 yards.

It just wasn’t enough.

Michigan showed no signs of a hangover after last week’s rout over the Buckeyes, taking a 7-0 lead on its opening possession with a 25-yard TD pass from J.J. McCarthy to Colston Loveland.

Purdue answered with Devin Mockobee’s 1-yard scoring run to tie the score then took the lead on Mitchell Fineran’s 33-yard field goal.

Michigan answered by taking advantage of an offside call on fourth-and-6 by going for the first down, picking it up and eventually converting the drive into a 7-yard TD pass from McCarthy to Luke Schoonmaker. They never trailed again.

Edwards big run set up Kalel Mullings‘ 1-yard TD plunge before Edwards celebrated his own scoring run.

All Purdue could muster was three more field goals.

McCarthy was 11 of 17 with 161 yards and one interception.

Corum posted a message on Twitter on Saturday morning to say his knee surgery went well.

THE TAKEAWAY

Purdue: The Boilermakers’ magical season ended with a solid showing in the championship game where they played better than most expected. Still, they won the Big Ten’s wild, wild West, both trophy games and should be bound for a warm-weather bowl game.

Michigan: Yes, the Wolverines may have already locked up a top-two seed thanks to losses by Southern Cal and TCU. Michigan now has back-to-back conference crowns for the first time since 2003-04 though the hard part remains – ending its national title drought.

DIALING UP TRICKERY

Brohm played one season in the now defunct XFL and has acknowledged that experience helped him understand how to inject personality and creativity into play calling. It was on full display Saturday.

A surprise end around set up Purdue’s first score, a fake punt helped keep its second scoring drive alive and then Mockobee sprinted 25 yards on a fake flea-flicker in the third quarter.

UP NEXT

Purdue: Will find out its bowl game, destination and opponent Sunday.

Michigan: Waiting to see where its headed and who it will face in the national semifinals.

Klubnik, No. 10 Clemson rout No. 24 UNC 39-10 for ACC title

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Backup quarterback Cade Klubnik completed 20 of 24 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score and No. 10 Clemson reclaimed the Atlantic Coast Conference championship with a 39-10 victory over No. 24 North Carolina on Saturday night.

Cornerback Nate Wiggins broke up two passes in the end zone, blocked a field goal and returned an interception 98 yards for a touchdown to help the Tigers win their seventh ACC title in eight seasons.

Clemson (11-2, No. 9 CFP) won six straight ACC championships from 2015 to 2020 before failing to reach the title game last season. But coach Dabo Swinney‘s Tigers rebounded in a big way, going 9-0 against ACC foes this season to reach the Orange Bowl.

They have Klubnik to thank for that.

With Clemson down 7-0, Swinney benched two-year starter D.J. Uiagalelei after the Tigers failed to pick up a first down on their first two possessions, Swinney turned to Klubnik, a 5-star recruit from Austin, Texas. He responded by leading the Tigers to four straight scores and a 24-10 lead at halftime.

Clemson stretched it to 39-10 heading into the fourth quarter.

It wasn’t the first time Swinney has turned to Klubnik.

He benched Uiagalelei in the second half against Syracuse and Klubnik responded by leading the Tigers to a come-from-behind 27-21 victory. Swinney also turned to Klubnik against Notre Dame, although the results were the opposite with the freshman throwing a Pick 6 in a 35-14 loss.

Swinney has never been shy about replacing veteran QBs with less experienced players. He did it in 2014, sitting Cole Stoudt for Deshaun Watson, and again in 2018 replacing Kelly Bryant with Trevor Lawrence.

ACC player of the year Drake Maye was limited to 268 yards passing and turned the ball over three times for North Carolina (9-4, No. 23 CFP), which was seeking its first ACC championship since 1980 when Lawrence Taylor was wreaking havoc on quarterbacks.

Maye got things started on the right foot for the Tar Heels, capping an 11-play, 78-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead on UNC’s first possession.

But the Tar Heels repeatedly sputtered on offense inside the red zone after that, the biggest blow coming when Maye misfired near the goal line and Wiggins – who had struggled in Clemson’s 51-45 win over Wake Forest – returned his pass for a touchdown to give Clemson a 32-10 lead with 5:05 left in the third quarter.

Klubnik provided an immediate spark for Clemson.

He led the Tigers on a nine-play, 71-yard drive, culminating in a 1-yard TD pass to Davis Allen. After Maye’s fumble, Klubnik caught a 19-yard pass from Phil Mafah to set up Mafah’s 4-yard touchdown run – Clemson’s second TD in a span of 40 seconds.

Klubnik then showed off his arm strength with a 68-yard pass to fellow freshman Cole Turner to set up his own 1-yard TD run for a 21-7 lead.

END OF AN ERA

This is the final year the ACC will feature its two division winners playing for a championship. In future years, all ACC teams will be lumped together and the two teams with the best records will advance to the title game.

THE TAKEAWAY

North Carolina: Maye garnered plenty of Heisman Trophy talk during the season, but the Tar Heels offense has stalled resulting in a three-game losing streak. But as long as Maye doesn’t transfer – and there are no indications he will given his family history at North Carolina – the Tar Heels have a good chance to get back to the ACC title game next season.

Clemson: The Tigers have set a high bar by winning national championships, so as much as they will enjoy getting back atop the ACC mountain there will be plenty of talk over whether Swinney cost his team a chance at a spot in the College Football Playoff by not turning to Klubnik at quarterback earlier in the season. It seems Uiagalelei might be a logical transfer portal candidate.

UP NEXT

Clemson will play in the Orange Bowl, while North Carolina awaits a bowl bid.