Clemson fans honored their 1981 national championship team Saturday 30 years after that team took the program to heights never before, or since, reached. And the Clemson team of 2011 honored the old guys by turning in a performance they would have been proud of.
Displaying their quick strike attack on offense and just enough defense to make a difference, the Tigers cruised to a 59-38 win over North Carolina in a game that was not as close as the final score indicates. The Tigers, like their brethren of 30 years ago, are 8-0. And as that team did against Wake Forest, the Tigers broke open this game with a 35 point quarter tieing the school record for most points in a quarter.
It’s the second straight game against North Carolina in Death Valley the Tigers have scored at least 52 points. And its the first time since 2006 that Clemson has scored at least 50 points in consecutive games.
Dabo Swinney joins Frank Howard, Danny Ford and Tommy Bowden as the only Clemson coaches to start a season 8-0.
Clemson is 5-0 in the ACC and remains a a half game up on Wake Forest in the Atlantic Division race. The Tigers, 7th in the BCS rankings this week, will play at Georgia Tech next Saturday. That game will kickoff at 8:00 PM and be televised by either ABC or ESPN. The TV designation will be announced Sunday.
Post game notes:
* After scoring in the third quarter of today’s game, Clemson has now scored in 22 consecutive quarters, a Clemson record for consecutive quarters scored. Clemson did not score in the fourth quarter so the streak ended at 22. The previous record came in 1983 when Clemson scored in 20 consecutive quarters. That streak was also ended by North Carolina. In fact now four of the top five streaks for consecutive quarters scored have been ended by the Tar Heels.
* Clemson scored 35 points in the third quarter of today’s game. That is most points scored in any quarter since Halloween in 1981 when Clemson scored 35 points in the second quarter against Wake Forest. It is also tied for the most points scored in any quarter in Clemson history. Ironically, the 1981 Clemson team was honored at halftime of today’s game.
* Clemson’s 59 points today tied for the second-most in Clemson history for an ACC game. In 2001, Clemson also scored 59 points against Duke. The Clemson record for points in an ACC game is 82 against Wake Forest in 1981.
* Clemson is now 35-19-1 all-time against North Carolina, including an 18-7 record at Clemson. The Tigers have won six of the last eight in the series, including three straight wins at home against the Tar Heels.
* Clemson has now scored at least 50 points in back-to-back games for the first time since 2006. That season, Clemson scored 52 points against North Carolina and then scored 51 points against Louisiana Tech the following week.
* Clemson has now scored at least 50 points against two ACC teams this season. It is the first time since 2000 that the Tigers have scored at least 50 points against two ACC teams in the same season. That year, Clemson scored 55 points against Wake Forest and then scored 52 points two weeks later against Duke. This is the first time Clemson has scored at least 50 points in consecutive ACC games.
* Clemson forced six turnovers in today’s game. That is most turnovers forced by the Tigers in a single game since 2004 when they forced six turnovers against N.C. State.
* Five different Clemson players caught a touchdown pass in today’s game. That ties a Clemson single game record with five different players catching a touchdown pass. The Tigers also accomplished that feat in 2007 when five different players caught a touchdown pass against Louisiana Monroe.
* Clemson held North Carolina to just two for 12 on third-down conversions in today’s game. That is the fewest third-down conversions by a Clemson opponent since 2009 when Boston College went one of 12 on third-down conversions.
* Clemson has now scored at least 35 points in seven of the eight games this season. The Tigers have already established a Clemson season mark for games scoring at least 35 points. Clemson did it six times in 2000, 2007 and 2009.
*Clemson has now scored 115 points over the last two games, the most points Clemson has scored in consecutive games since 2000 when the Tigers scored 62 against Missouri and 55 against Wake Forest for 117 total in consecutive games.
Clemson Player Notes:
* Kourtnei Brown recorded the first interception of his career in the second quarter and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown. He is the first Clemson defensive lineman since 2006 to score a touchdown. That year, Jock McKissic intercepted a pass against South Carolina and returned it 82 yards for a touchdown.
* Brown then recovered a fumble in the third quarter and returned it 26 yards for his second touchdown of the game. Brown is the first Clemson defensive player to score two touchdowns in a game since 1954 when Walt Laraway scored on a blocked punt and an interception return against the Citadel. Players went both ways in those days, so Brown is the first to do it in the two-platoon era (1964).
* Tajh Boyd tied a Clemson record with a career-high five touchdown passes in today’s game. Cullen Harper threw for five touchdowns twice in 2007 against Louisiana Monroe and Central Michigan.
* Boyd also scored his third rushing touchdown of the season and the fifth of his career in the third quarter. With that touchdown, Boyd was responsible for six touchdowns in today’s game. That ties Woody Dantzler’s record for touchdown responsibility when he was responsible for six touchdowns against N.C. State in 2001.
* Boyd finished today’s game 27 for 46 with 367 yards passing and five touchdowns. Boyd also rushed 11 times for 8 yards and one touchdown. Boyd has now thrown for at least 200 yards in every game this season and has thrown for at least 300 yards three times this season. Boyd has also thrown for at least three touchdown passes in six of the eight games this season.
* Boyd has now thrown at least one touchdown pass in every game this season, giving him a touchdown pass in nine straight games dating to last year. He already had the school record in that area entering today.
*Boyd threw for 367 yards today, the fourth highest total in Clemson history. He now has two of the top four games in Clemson history. He had 386 in the win over Auburn earlier this season. The record is 420 by Charlie Whitehurst in 2002 against Duke.
*Boyd now has 24 touchdown passes, the second highest total in school history. The record is 27 by Cullen Harper in 2007.
* DeAndre Hopkins had nine receptions for 157 yards and a touchdown today. It was a career high in reception yards and the sixth most reception yards in a game in school history. This Clemson team now has two different players with a 150-yard receiving game, a first in school history. Sammy Watkins is the other.
* Dwayne Allen added six catches for 51 yards and a touchdown. Allen had seven receptions for 55 yards against North Carolina last season giving him 13 receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown in two career games against the Tar Heels.
* Brandon Ford caught his first touchdown reception of the season and the third of his career in the third quarter. It was fitting that a Clemson player named Ford scored a touchdown on the day Clemson honored its 1981 National Championship team and head coach Danny Ford.
* Sammy Watkins scored the ninth touchdown of the season in the third quarter of today’s game. His nine touchdowns moves him into sole possession of third place in Clemson history for touchdown receptions in a season, regardless of class.
* Watkins’s touchdown catch was his eighth reception of the game and gave him 54 catches on the season, which is a Clemson record for receptions by a freshman. The previous record was 53 by Derrick Hamilton in 2001.
*Entering next Saturday’s game with Georgia Tech, Watkins needs 35 receiving yards, five receptions and one touchdown reception to establish ACC freshman records in all three categories.
* Watkins nine touchdown receptions this season is tied for an ACC record for touchdowns receptions in a season by a freshman. Greg Carr of Florida State (2005) and Heath Miller of Virginia (2002) also had nine receptions as a freshman.