COLUMBIA, S.C. – Deshaun Watson isn't giving up on Clemson's step-by-step approach, not when it has worked so well.
Watson had another big day, running for three touchdowns and passing for a fourth as the No. 1 Tigers capped a perfect regular season and held off rival South Carolina 37-32 on Saturday.
The prizes for Clemson are huge. Watson will take them one at a time.
"We weren't worried about the national championship," Watson said. "We were just worrying about this game, achieve one of our goals and be state champs and that's what we did. The national championship will take care of itself."
Especially if Watson keeps performing at this level. He passed for 279 yards and ran for 114 to keep the Tigers on track for a spot in the College Football Playoff. Clemson is 12-0 for the first time since winning the 1981 national championship.
"He's just a great leader and he's very comfortable on that stage," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said of Watson. "It's what he was born to do."
Watson said the Tigers will enjoy this win, then regroup Sunday to focus on the Tar Heels. "I'm just looking to be 13-0 next week," he said.
Clemson extended its winning streak to 15 games. But if it was looking for style points to impress the CFP committee, this was not the way to do it.
The Tigers fumbled three times as their 18-point lead was cut to 28-25 with 12:19 left, on Shon Carson's 1-yard touchdown run and Lorenzo Nunez's two-point conversion. Watson, though, followed thatseries with a 60-yard scoring drive that he ended with a 3-yard burst around the left side.