South Carolina got off to a big start Thursday night.
Jadeveon Clowney didn't.
The North Carolina offensive gameplan was clearly geared to avoid the star junior. The Tar Heels used a variety of blocks, including some double-teaming and cut blocking, to try to keep Clowney from impacting the game. UNC's play calling worked around him for the most part as well, though the plan yielded little return in a 27-10 loss to the Gamecocks. Clowney finished with three solo tackles and three quarterback hurries, but his numbers in the big-play categories were zeroes across.
But it was also Clowney's conditioning that came into question during the game. Coach Steve Spurrier indicated at the half that Clowney was winded near the end of the first half, and he was held out of the game for several plays in the second half. Television analysts criticized Clowney for his conditioning and effort as well.
Clowney later said an illness was a contributing factor to his fatigue.
Clowney: "The night before I had a stomach virus. ... All night long until this morning."â Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) August 30, 2013
Finally, Clowney's forgettable performance ended with a cheap block to the back of his knees by Tar Heels offensive tackle Kiaro Holts. Clowney did return to the game after the hit, though.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.