The Clemson Tigers defeated the Maryland Terrapins 31-7 Saturday at Death Valley in front of 71,000 fans, including CJ Spiller, who’s #28 was retired during halftime.
Clemson won despite being out-gained by over 100 yards. The offense is still not clicking on all cylinders, but the defense/special teams filled in nicely, creating big play after big play. Andre Ellington did his best CJ Spiller impression by returning a kickoff 87 yards for TD in the second quarter. The defense forced 3 turnovers, including an INT returned for TD by Xavier Brewer in the 3rd quarter. Da’Quan Bowers added 3 sacks on the day, putting constant pressure on Maryland’s QB Danny O’Brien.
The Tigers took a step in the right direction today, ending their 3 game losing streak. The win gets them back to .500 on the season with a 3-3 record overall, with a 1-2 mark in the ACC. Maryland falls to 4-2 overall, with a 1-1 mark in the ACC.
Clemson will stay at home next weekend as they welcome Georgia Tech into Death Valley. Kickoff is set for 3:30 pm and will be broadcast on ABC/ESPN.
Continue for game recap and more post game audio
1st Quarter Recap:
Clemson began the game similar to how they have all season. Drive down the field, then missed opportunities. The Tigers drove to the MD 25 before stalling, with Kyle Parker missing a wide open Dwayne Allen in the end zone. Cat-man kicked a 42 yard FG to make the score 3-0. The rest of the first quarter was fairly boring.
2nd Quarter Recap:
Maryland had an 8 play, 81 yard drive to open the quarter capped off with some trickeration. RB Da’Rel Scott got the ball and then threw it back to the QB for a 4 yard TD pass, giving the Terps a 7-3 lead. Clemson immediately responded with a Spiller-esque kickoff return by Andre Ellington, taking it to the house for an 87 yard TD to make it 10-7.
Maryland marched back down to the Clemson 7 before Da’Quan Bowers sacked O’Brien for a loss of 9 on third down, followed by a missed chip-shot FG. The Tigers proceeded to take all the momentum, mounting their longest drive of the season, 13 plays, 80 yards, taking 6:52 off the clock. The drive was capped by a Jamie Harper rushing TD on 4th and goal from the 1. This was some of that hard-nosed football Dabo’s been preaching. The score at halftime was 17-7 in favor of his Clemson Tigers.
At halftime Maryland was out-gaining Clemson 212-126. Neither team had any turnovers, and time of possession was a deadlock. The big difference was defense and special teams.
3rd Quarter Recap:
Maryland opened the second half by going 3 and out, with Bowers recording his second sack of the game. The Clemson special teams stepped up again, with Jaron Brown returning the ensuing punt 46 yards to the MD 21. Andre Ellington punched it in a few plays later to make the score 24-7. The only threat by either team later in the quarter was by Maryland, but they were stopped on 4th and 3 at the Clemson 29.
4th Quarter Recap:
Maryland had a nice drive going to open the 4th as they drove to the Clemson 27, but was called for a holding penalty, and then immediately threw an interception to DeAndre McDaniel who returned it 33 yards to the MD 46. Clemson stalled, and Maryland responded by doing more of the same, with another drive being stopped when Da’Quan Bowers decided to throw their QB around like a rag-doll. On their next possession, QB Danny O’Brien threw his second INT of the game, this one to Xavier Brewer. He returned it 61 yards for a TD, making the score 31-7 Clemson. O’Brien decided to throw one more INT on the next Terrapin drive, this one to true freshman CB Darius Robinson, the first of his young career.
The game ended with a final score of 31-7 in favor of Clemson. They were out-gained on the day by 137 yards, 350-213, but the score appears to indicate otherwise. The game was won on defense and special teams for the Tigers, who together were constantly putting the offense in great field position, with multiple opportunities to score.