Maryland won the opening kick and deferred until the second half. The Tigers started their first drive on their own four yard line after Sammy Watkins mishandled the kickoff and stumbled out of the end zone falling inside the five. The mistake didn’t seem to bother the offense though. The Tigers had little trouble finding running room and went 95 yards over the next 14 plays. But they didn’t score a touchdown. Facing a fourth and one on the Terps one Dabo Swinney opted for the 18 yard field goal to go up 3-0 with 8:25 left in the quarter.
C.J. Brown ended up getting the start at quarterback for Maryland. The sophomore got the nod over Danny O’Brien and he looked pretty good early. He completed a couple of nice passes to move the ball to the Clemson 45 before the drive stalled and the Terps were forced to punt.
On that Maryland punt Sammy Watkins made his second special teams mistake. And this time it cost Clemson. Watkins muffed the punt and the Terps recovered on the Tigers nine yard line. Two plays later Davin Meggett scored an eight yard run to put Maryland up 7-3 with 4:58 left.
Watkins managed to field the ensuing kickoff cleanly and downed it in the end zone to set up the Tigers drive on its own 20. The Tigers were unable to put together a substantial drive and were forced to punt. Tajh Boyd was nearly intercepted twice on the drive and did not seem in rhythm on his passes.
Maryland took the ball on its own 24 and punted three plays later after picking up just two yards.
After the punt Clemson took over on its own 40 yard line. Following a short run by Andre Ellington Tajh Boyd made dropped back to pass and threw it right to Maryland corner back Cameron Chimsm. Unlike the previous drive, the Terps didn’t drop this one. Chism intercepted the pass and went t 46 yards for a touchdown to put the Terps up 14-3 with 2:23 left.
Sammy Watkins did his best to erase his early kick fielding mistakes, returning the Maryland kick 70 yards to the Terps 30. Four plays later Andre Ellington scored one a three yard run to pull the Tigers within four at 14-10 with 1:00 left in the quarter.
Maryland didn’t waste any time moving the ball deep into Clemson territory. The Terps marched all the way to the Tigers five yard line as the quarter ended.