Clemson held its first scrimmage of the preseason in Death Valley on Tuesday morning and Head Coach Dabo Swinney was pleased with what he saw. The Tigers are preparing for the season opener against North Texas on September 4. The Tigers ran approximately 100 snaps in the practice that ran for just over two hours.
Kyle Parker ran the first team offense and completed 9-18 passes for 114 yards. He did not throw and interception and ran for a score on a 14-yard run. Tajh Boyd completed 7-18 passes for 71 yards. He had a 13-yard run for a score that culminated a 75-yard drive early in the scrimmage.
Rod McDowell was the top rusher with 76 yards on 12 carries. He had a 22-yard run and a 34-yard run on the same drive. Andre Ellington gained 45 yards in 11 carries, while Jamie Harper had 7-35 to lead the Clemson ground game. Ellington had the only rushing touchdown among the running backs with a 15-yard score.
The reception production was balance as five different players had two catches apiece. Dwayne Allen had 2-49, including a 36-yard completion from Parker. Drew Traylor had 2-29, Terrance Ashe had 2-28 and Marquan Jones had 2-11. Jaron Brown had 2-14 and also had an 18-yard run.
Continue for Dabo Swinney post scrimmage audio
Defensively, Andre Branch had the highlight of the day when he intercepted a tipped pass and raced 25 yards for a score. Tig Willard was the top tackler with seven, while Brandon Maye, Coty Sensabaugh and Scotty Cooper all had five apiece. Jonathan Meeks had two tackles for loss. Freshman Tra Thomas had the only fumble recovery.
The plackickers also had a good day during the scrimmage. Richard Jackson was 4-4 n field goals, including a pair from 42 yards. Spencer Benton was 3-4 and Chandler Catanzaro made 2-3 with his only miss from 56 yards.
“It was a better scrimmage than I expected for the first scrimmage,” said Swinney. “We had a lot of new guys in action in Death Valley for the first time and we did a lot of mix and matching during the scrimmage. We need to perform better in the red-zone on both sides of the ball.
“I thought both quarterbacks did well. The tight ends played well. Dwayne Allen made a couple of plays, as did Drew Traylor and Darrell Smith. Hot Rod (McDowell) has really competed and had an outstanding day. He is a much tougher and more focused football player who finishes plays.
“Defensively, Andre Branch had the big play of the day with an interception return for a touchdown I thought he was a consistent player last year. But, he has become a physical player who is a team leader. Opposing teams will talk about 93 (Da’Quan Bowres), but they better pay attention to number 40 (Branch).
The only injury during the scrimmage was suffered by All-American safety DeAndre McDaniel, who suffered an injury near his tailbone. He walked off the field under his own power. Freshman running backs D.J. Howard and Demont Buice both missed the scrimmage as they recover from a concussion suffered this past Saturday. Da’Quan Bowers missed the scrimmage as he is home with his family after the sudden death of his father last Sunday.
Dabo Swinney audio