Pardon Clemson fans if they appeared a bit bored at their recent games. Including Saturday’s 45-10 win over Maryland at Death Valley, the Tigers have won their last six games by an average of 25 points per game. And the the last four have been devoid of any second half drama.
Clemson has now won 5 straight games by 14 points or more, all against ACC teams, and that’s the longest streak of its kind in Clemson history. And they have scored at least 37 points in 9 straight games and that’s an ACC record.
This game was over by the end of the first quarter. The Tigers jumped out to a 21-0 lead and never were challenged. How could Maryland mount a challenge? They were playing with their 5th different starting quarterback, a converted tight end. They also were missing their leading receiver and rusher. It was a recipe for defensive domination by Clemson, and dominate they did.
The Tigers held the Terps to 180 total yards with most of that coming from running back Brandon Bass who rushed for 100 yards. Quarterback Shawn Petty was limited to 6-12 passing for 41 yards. The Tigers had 9 tackles for loss and two sacks.
The Clemson offense had no such worries. Though Maryland came into the game with a defense high up in the national rankings, the Terps were no match for Clemson’s weapons. The Tigers built a 28-0 lead early in the second quarter as Tajh Boyd threw touchdown passes to Adam Humphries, Nuk Hopkins and Brandon Ford. The Clemson defense added to the outburst as Corey Crawford returned a Petty fumble 16 yards for a touchdown. From that point, it was just a matter of how big the margin of victory would be.
Boyd was lifted late in the third quarter. He finished the day 18-26 for 261 yards and 3 touchdowns. Rod McDowell led Clemson’s ground game with 57 yards while Andre Ellington added 55 yards. Adam Humphries led the receivers with 5 catches for 41 yards and a touchdown. Sammy Watkins and Hopkins had four catches each. Watkins reaggravated a calf bruise he suffered at Duke and sat out the second half. Clemson finished with 436 total yards with 301 coming thru the air.
The Tigers improved to 9-1 overall and 6-1 in the ACC while Maryland dropped to 4-6 and 2-4 in the league with its fourth straight loss.
“Proud of our team. They came ready to play,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “They have done a tremendous job of getting themselves ready to play. Today from the opening snap, they left no doubt. Great energy. They were excited to be back at home. Our crowd was just awesome once again. To be a part of the record they set today was pretty special. As I look back to four years ago to where we are now, and these guys buying in to if you’re going to change Clemson you’ve got to change it from the inside out, and it starts with winning at home, to be able to set that record, that’s special. And the players deserve all the credit.”
AUDIO: Swinney praises team for its record setting effort [9:28]
Clemson postgame notes
* Clemson established the school record for consecutive wins at Memorial Stadium (71st season this year). The Tigers have now won 12 in a row at home. Previous mark was 11 in a row from 1989-91. The victory also tied the school record for consecutive home wins regardless of home site. Clemson won 12 in a row from 1927-30 at Riggs Field.
* Clemson has nine wins in an even numbered year for the first time since 1990 (10-2). This is the first time Clemson has had at least nine wins in consecutive seasons since the 1990-91 era.
* Clemson has a 9-1 record to start the season for the second consecutive season.
* Next week Clemson will have a chance to reach 10 wins in the regular season for the first time since the 1981 season. In each of Clemson’s last four 10-win seasons the 10th win came in a bowl game.
*Clemson’s senior class has 34 wins (34-17), the most for a four-year class since 1992.
* Clemson received the opening kickoff for the ninth time in 10 games this season. The only game the Tigers didn’t receive the opening kickoff was against Furman.
* Clemson scored 35 points in the first half for third straight game. First time in school history that Clemson has done that.
* When Clemson scored 12 seconds apart in the first quarter, it was the fewest seconds between touchdowns in school history. The previous record was 14 seconds against Duke in 2003, both on touchdowns by Derrick Hamilton.
* Tigers had not allowed the opposing team to score nine straight times following a turnover by Clemson before Maryland scored off a muffed punt in the second quarter. The Tigers have allowed just 24 points of turnovers this season.
* Clemson’s defense held Maryland to just 180 yards of total offense in tonight’s game.
That is the fewest yards of total offense allowed by Clemson since October 31, 2009 when the Tigers held Coastal Carolina to 170 yards. It is also the fewest yards by an ACC team since 2009 when Clemson held Wake Forest to 178 yards of total offense.
* Clemson had three lost fumbles in the first half of today’s game. Entering today, Clemson had lost just two fumbles all season and was second in the nation in that category.
* Clemson held Maryland to just 1-for-13 on third-down conversions in today’s game. That is the fewest third-down conversions for an opponent since September 19, 2009 when Clemson held Boston College to 1-for-12 on third-down conversions.
* Tajh Boyd completed 18 of 26 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns. Boyd has now thrown for 13 touchdowns and 1,033 yards over the last three games. All 13 of those touchdown passes have come in the first half.
* DeAndre Hopkins tallied four receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown, the 23rd touchdown reception of his career. He has now scored a touchdown in seven straight games. He broke the Clemson record for consecutive games with a touchdown reception last week against Duke.
* Hopkins also moved into second place in Clemson history in career reception yards with 2711. He needs to just 22 receiving yards to pass Aaron Kelly and become Clemson’s career leader in receiving yards. He moved ahead of his uncle (Terry Smith) today. Smith finished his career in 1993 with 2681.
*Hopkins now has 14 touchdown receptions this year, already the season record. Only seven other players in Clemson history have had as many as 14 touchdown receptions in a career.
* Adam Humphries recorded his first career touchdown reception in the first quarter. He finished the game with a game-high five receptions for 41 receiving yards.
* Corey Crawford recovered a fumble and returned it 16 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. It is the first fumble return for a touchdown by a Tiger since last season when Kourtnei Brown returned a fumble for a touchdown against North Carolina.
* Stanton Seckinger recorded the first career touchdown reception of his career in the fourth quarter.
* Cortez Davis recorded a career-high five tackles in today’s game.
*Sammy Watkins had four catches for 60 yards today, all in the first half. He did not play in the second half after suffering a bruised calf muscle in the first half. Coach Swinney said after the game, he could have played in the second half. He and Andre Ellington were both held out as a precaution.