One of the oldest cliches in sports is, “Throw the record book out the window.” For the Clemson offense Saturday night at Duke, it was more like, “Throw our offensive records out of Wallace Wade Stadium.”
The Tigers lit up the night with a 42 point first half explosion and went on to a 56-20 victory over the out manned Blue Devils. The Tigers scored touchdowns on their first four possessions needing a total of just 25 plays to produce those 28 points.
The 56 points are the most Clemson has ever scored at Wallace Wade. And the Tigers’ 718 total yards are the second most in school history behind the 756 posted against Wake Forest in 1981. The Tigers passed for 379 yards and ran for 339. Tiger offensive coordinator Chad Morris says the credit belongs to his guys up front.
“I thought we executed. That was the big challenge this week. Tuesday or Wednesday, I thought we were a little lethargic in our offensive line. We really tried to challenge those guys. I told them, we are going to put it on them. We are going to run the football. I was glad to see that they stepped up.”
AUDIO: Morris liked the offensive production against Duke [2:20]
One of those offensive lineman reach a career high point tonight. During the game center Dalton Freeman participated in his 3000th play with the Tigers.
Clemson SID Tim Bourret couldn’t shout out the records fast enough in the first half as Tajh Boyd passed the Blue Devils crazy. He fired five scoring passes, three to Nuk Hopkins. Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant also got in on the fun. Boyd had 388 yards in total offense in the half and Clemson had 487.
The Tiger’s offense set several team and individual records in the first thirty minutes:
*Clemson had 487 yards of total offense in the first half, a school record for a half. The previous high was 393 in the second half against Wake Forest in 1981.
*Boyd tied the Clemson single game record for touchdown responsibility in the first half with his five touchdown passes and one rushing touchdown. He also had six last year against North Carolina, and Woody Dantzler had six against NC State in 2001.
*Boyd’s 388 yards of total offense is a record for a half in Clemson history. The previous record was 288 by Dantzler in the second half at NC State in 2001. He had a record 517 yards for the game.
*Boyd broke the Clemson career record for touchdown responsibility when he threw a 58 yard scoring pass to Hopkins in the first period.
*Hopkins had three touchdown receptions in the first half. It tied a Clemson record for a game and he tied his own record for a quarter. He had three touchdown receptions in the second period against Ball State earlier this year. He did that in just 8:11. Against Duke, he scored three touchdowns in 7:47.
*Hopkins became Clemson’s career leader and single season leader in touchdown receptions in the first half. He now has 22 TD catches for his career, two more than Aaron Kelly (2005-08) and one more on a season basis than Sammy Watkins had last year.
Things slowed down considerably in the second half as Dabo Swinney and Morris called off the dogs, eh, Tigers. After a DJ Howard touchdown run midway thru the third quarter, Boyd retired for the night and was replaced by Cole Stoudt.
Boyd finished 16 of 23 passing for 344 yards, 5 touchdowns and three interceptions. He also rushed for 74 yards. Hopkins had 4 catches for 128 yards and three scores while Watkins was 6 for 97 with 1 touchdown. Rod McDowell led the ground game with 81 yards and DJ Howard contributed 65 yards.
The Tigers’ leading rusher, Andre Ellington, gained 26 yards on his only carry of the game. He suffered a hamstring injury and did not return.
Swinney couldn’t have been more pleased with how his team took care of its business.
“I’m proud of them for finishing tonight. This is kind of the end of our road season. It’s only the second time in 15 years that we’ve had four road wins and I’m really proud of our guys for that. You win games on the road and you have a chance to be a real good team. It’s not easy to win on the road, in this league or any league for that matter. I’m proud of them.”
AUDIO: Swinney was proud of the Tigers strong effort at Duke [5:10]
The Tigers improved to 8-1 overall and 5-1 in the ACC with their ninth win in their last ten meetings with the Blue Devils. They will host Maryland next Saturday with the game time and TV assignment to be announced Sunday. Duke falls to 6-4 and 3-3 and with its second straight loss. The Blue Devils will be off next week and will play next at Georgia Tech November 17th.