Quarterback Kyle Parker threw three touchdowns passes, two to running back Andre Ellington, in Clemson’s two-hour scrimmage in Death Valley on Saturday morning. It was the second major scrimmage for the Tigers, who open against North Texas on September 4.
Parker, who was also a first-round draft choice of the Colorado Rockies this past June, complete 10-14 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns. He led the first-team offense to four touchdowns overall. Backup quarterback Tajh Boyd also had a solid day. The red-shirt freshman completed 9-17 passes for 63 yards and two scores. Senior Mike Wade was 2-3 for 85 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown to freshman wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
Roderick McDowell led the rushers with 12-127 on the ground, including a 12-yard touchdown run and a 53-yard run early in the scrimmage. Freshman Demont Buice had 10-36 on the ground, while Ellington had 5-24 rushing and 2-46 receiving. Both if Ellington’s receptions were touchdown passes. Jamie Harper had 8-24 rushing and 1-8 receiving. He also scored on a one-yard touchdown run.
Terrance Ashe led the receivers with five catches for 76 yards, including a 44-yard completion from Parker. Hopkins finished with 4-52 receiving and Marquan Jones added three catches for 52 yards and a touchdown from Parker. Freshman Joe Craig had one catch, but it went for 40 yards. Tight end Drew Traylor had two receptions for 15 yards, including a touchdown pass from Boyd.
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Overall, it was a good day for the offense. The five quarterbacks who took snaps on Saturday were a combined 22 of 36 for 323 yards and six touchdowns.
The defense was led by Brandon Maye, who had six tackles, including a tackle for loss and a diving backwards interception from his linebacker position. Jonathan Meeks, Marcus Gilchrist, Quandon Christian, Tig Willard and Daniel Andrews all had three tackles apiece. Kourtnei Brown and Miguel Chavis had the only two sacks, while Mallicah Goodman had two pass deflections at the line of scrimmage.
“The offense really played well today,” said Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney. “Kyle Parker was very sharp and Tajh Boyd made some nice throws also. We had a couple of quarterback/center exchange problems, but that was really the only problem I had with the offense. The offensive line really looked like they had a good day.
“The defense gave up some big plays. It looked like there were some busts on defense, but good offenses will make you do that and I think we have a good offense. The defense got much better when we were in the redzone part of the scrimmage and they defended the two-minute drill well. They also stopped the offense on a fourth-and-inches situation.”
The defense played without starting cornerback Byron Maxwell, who was in Bamberg, SC to attend the funeral of Dennis Bowers, the father of Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers. Maxwell is Bowers roommate at Clemson. Bowers is expected to return to Clemson on Monday. The defense was also without the services of linebacker Scotty Cooper, who has a shoulder injury.
Bryce McNeal, who had suffered a sprained ankle in Friday’s practice, played in the scrimmage on Saturday. Coty Sensabaugh was also back after missing Friday’s practice with a sprained foot.
There were no new injuries reported Saturday after the scrimmage.
After the scrimmage former Clemson football lettermen joined the team for a barbeque luncheon in the West Endzone of Memorial Stadium. Among the over 100 former Tigers in attendance were former Vanderbilt Coach Bobby Johnson, Jeff Bryant, the former All-American defensive tackle from the 1981 National Championship team, and former All-American defensive lineman Michael Dean Perry.
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