Football ticket buyers to Clemson games right now are being short changed. The games are practically over by the end of the first quarter.
For the second game in a row the quick striking Tiger offense removed all doubt with three first quarter scores and cruised on to a 42-14 win in the first ACC game for Syracuse in front of 48,961 in the Carrier Dome, the largest home crowd for Syracuse since 2000. The loss snapped a six game home winning streak for the Orange.
It was a festive atmosphere for Orange (that’s Syracuse) fans leading up to kickoff with a number of dignitaries, including ACC commissioner John Swofford and former Orange great Don McPherson, in the house. But their cheerfulness turned to dread in a hurry. Tajh Boyd hit Adam Humphries for a 60 yard touchdown pass on the third play of the game and the Tigers were off to the races.
The pair would hook up later in the quarter on a 42 yard scoring play. In between Zac Brooks scored on a 1 yard run and the Tigers led 21-0 at the end of the first quarter. They led 35-7 at halftime.
Boyd would go on to throw 3 more touchdown passes, including a 91 yarder to Sammy Watkins late in the third quarter, the second longest play from scrimmage in Clemson history. Boyd retired after three quarters with a Clemson single game record 455 yards, and he tied his own school record with 5 scoring passes. He also crossed 10,000 career total yards of offense.
On the negative side. Boyd did throw two interceptions ending his streak of passes without an interception at 187. And he was sacked 4 times.
But none of that mattered as the Clemson defense, except for a few lapses against the run, kept the Orange at bay. They gave up touchdown runs of 66 and 28 yards but came up with a big stop in the third quarter when Syracuse was trying to mount a comeback.
The Orange pulled off a fake punt and had a first down at the Clemson 19. But they were stopped on downs at the 13 as Vic Beasley had a tackle for loss and a sack on the final two plays of the drive. Beasley now has 8 sacks in 5 games. Boyd hit Watkins two plays later with the long touchdown pass and the issue was totally settled.
The Tigers finished with a season high 624 yards, 466 thru the air. Watkins had 4 catches for 126 yards and Humphries 3 for 118 yards, his first career 100 yard game. 10 different Tigers caught passes and 4 different receivers had touchdown receptions. Brooks led the running game with 46 yards.
Clemson improves to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the ACC and will play host to Boston College next week. That game will kickoff at 3:30 with the TV outlet to be announced Sunday. Syracuse drops to 2-3 and will play at NC State next week.
Freshman reserve linebacker Ben Boulware hyperextended his left knee covering a punt and safety Travis blanks injured suffered a slight knee ligament injury. Blanks is not expected to miss any game time. And Boyd took a hit on the thumb of his left hand but is fine.