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Clemson runs over Auburn in 26-19 win


  by - Senior Writer - Sunday, September 2, 2012 12:23 AM
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ATLANTA, GA. – Saturday’s season opener against Auburn was a game that featured both the elegance and gritty running of Andre EllingtonAndre Ellington
RS Sr. Running Back
#23 5-10, 195
Moncks Corner, SC

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, the light feet of Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Jr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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, a career-night from Nuk Hopkins and the physical play of an offensive line that has been lacking in recent seasons.

It was never pretty – even sometimes painful to watch as Clemson survived costly penalties, blown assignments, dropped passes and defensive lapses – but it was effective as Clemson laid to rest the ghosts of both the Orange Bowl and the Georgia Dome in a 26-19 win over Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff in Atlanta.

Ellington rushed for a career-high 231 yards and Boyd rushed for 58 effective yards – many times on third down – and each player had critical runs on the fourth quarter drive that sealed the win for Clemson in the rubber match of the three-game set. Hopkins wound up with 13 catches for 119 yards, the receptions breaking the old record of 12 receptions in a game.

“We were a better team than Auburn tonight,” Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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said postgame. “That’s all we know. Our season starts again tomorrow. Now that we have some video we can learn from, I look forward to the next two weeks in the Valley. I want to thank our fans – we brought an incredible crowd.”

Clemson led 23-19 with just 5:59 remaining in the contest, and took over at its own 20-yard line needing to not only run off clock, but add points to a slim lead. Boyd converted the first third down with a seven-yard rush to the Clemson 32-yard line, and two plays later Ellington converted a tough 3rd-and-1 with a six-yard run.

With Auburn’s defense gasping for air on a night that saw Clemson run 87 offensive plays, Ellington then burst through the left side for a 45-yard run to the Auburn eight-yard line, forcing Auburn to start taking timeouts.

Swinney said Boyd’s running was a critical part of the game.

“He was phenomenal. He had some critical mistakes – some procedural penalties,” Swinney said. “We’ve talked to him about not taking sacks and making plays with his legs. We know that was the difference tonight. He had a career-high rushing.”

Chandler CatanzaroChandler Catanzaro
RS Jr. Punter / Kicker
#39 6-2, 195
Greenville, SC

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then kicked his fourth field goal of the night – this one an 18-yarder – with 1:24 remaining, leaving Auburn needing a touchdown to tie the game. However, Auburn quarterback Kiehl Frazier’s last gasp heave with time running out floated out of bounds, giving Clemson a 1-0 start on the season.

Auburn had taken the lead at 19-16 on Cody Parkey’s fourth field goal of the game with 12:50 remaining in the contest, Auburn’s first lead since leading 7-3 at the end of the first quarter. Clemson answered that with a determined and physical 75-yard drive that included a Boyd 27-yard run and ended on a 4-yard pass from Boyd to Nuk Hopkins in the corner of the end zone for the 23-19 lead.

The teams traded opening possession punts, but Clemson finally found a rhythm on the second drive of the game. Boyd connected with Hopkins four times for 60 yards on the drive as Clemson advanced to the Auburn one-yard line. It looked like Clemson would go for it on 4th-and-1, but a false start penalty moved Clemson back five yards and Swinney settled for Chandler Catanzaro 24-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.

It didn’t take Auburn long to respond however, as a bust in the Clemson secondary allowed Emory Blake to run uncontested down the middle of the field as he hauled in a 54-yard touchdown pass from Kiehl Frazier and a 7-3 lead.

Clemson then added a 40-yard field from Catanzaro to make it 7-6, and took the lead on a three-play drive that covered 85 yards in just a minute and 17 seconds. Rod McDowell started the drive with a two-yard rush, and then Ellington pulled off a run that will make the highlight shows all season. He took the handoff from Boyd, went left, spun out of one tackler’s reach, almost went to the ground, spun back forward and then weaved his way 68 yards to the Auburn seven. One play later, McDowell punched it in for a 13-7 lead.

Clemson led 13-10 at the half, and teams then settled into a war of field goals until the final fourth quarter flurry.

Swinney said the difference in his mind was the dominance that Clemson’s inexperienced line showed, especially late in the game.

“Our credit goes to the guys up front,” he said. “When you rush for 320 yards and win the turnover margin, you’re going to win a ton of ballgames. Our guys could have played all night. They were strong, The credit for that goes to Joey Batson and our strength staff. I can’t say enough about how proud I am of them for how they prepared.”

Auburn head coach Gene Chizik gave the credit to Clemson.

“We have to give Clemson a lot of credit,” Chizik said. “They played a very good football game tonight – hard fought on both sides. They are an extremely talented team, and they did a great job coaching. I’m proud of our guys. We had our chances to win and didn’t get it done. You could point to several factors. Defensively, we didn’t get off the field. They had a very quick offense and explosive tempo. At critical times in the game, they made plays defensively and we didn’t.”

Clemson returns to action next week with a 12:30 p.m. kickoff against Ball St. in Death Valley. Counting the opener in the Dome, Clemson has played five consecutive games away from home.

Date: Sep 01, 2012  Site: Atlanta, Georgia      Stadium: Georgia Dome
Attendance: 75211

Score by Quarters     1  2  3  4   Score
-----------------    -- -- -- --   -----
Clemson Tigers......  3 10  3 10  - 26
Auburn Tigers.......  7  3  6  3  - 19



Scoring Summary:
1st 05:22 CU - Chandler Catanzaro 24 yd field goal
                                                   13 plays, 83 yards, TOP 5:03, CU 3 - AU 0
    03:38 AU - Emory Blake 54 yd pass from Kiehl Frazier (Cody Parkey kick)
                                                    4 plays, 75 yards, TOP 1:44, CU 3 - AU 7
2nd 10:06 CU - Chandler Catanzaro 40 yd field goal
                                                    9 plays, 29 yards, TOP 3:01, CU 6 - AU 7
    07:26 CU - Roderick McDowell 7 yd run (Chandler Catanzaro kick)
                                                   3 plays, 85 yards, TOP 1:17, CU 13 - AU 7
    01:24 AU - Cody Parkey 37 yd field goal
                                                 12 plays, 55 yards, TOP 6:02, CU 13 - AU 10
3rd 08:38 AU - Cody Parkey 46 yd field goal
                                                  7 plays, 32 yards, TOP 3:04, CU 13 - AU 13
    04:39 CU - Chandler Catanzaro 37 yd field goal
                                                 13 plays, 66 yards, TOP 3:54, CU 16 - AU 13
    00:55 AU - Cody Parkey 27 yd field goal
                                                 10 plays, 65 yards, TOP 3:44, CU 16 - AU 16
4th 12:50 AU - Cody Parkey 36 yd field goal
                                                  6 plays, 16 yards, TOP 2:03, CU 16 - AU 19
    09:17 CU - DeAndre Hopkins 4 yd pass from Tajh Boyd (Chandler Catanzaro kick)
                                                 10 plays, 75 yards, TOP 3:33, CU 23 - AU 19
    01:24 CU - Chandler Catanzaro 18 yd field goal
                                                 11 plays, 79 yards, TOP 4:35, CU 26 - AU 19



Kickoff time: 7:05      End of Game: 10:28     Total elapsed time: 3:23
Officials: Referee: Jeff Flanagan; Umpire: Danny Worrell; Linesman: Matt Fitzgerald;
Line judge: Hugh Campbell; Back judge: Bill Dolbow; Field judge: Wayne Rundell;
Side judge: Watts Key;
Temperature:           Wind:           Weather: Indoor




Team Statistics

                                     CU       AU

FIRST DOWNS...................       28       17
  Rushing.....................       17        9
  Passing.....................       10        8
  Penalty.....................        1        0
NET YARDS RUSHING.............      320      180
  Rushing Attempts............       52       37
  Average Per Rush............      6.2      4.9
  Rushing Touchdowns..........        1        0
  Yards Gained Rushing........      351      204
  Yards Lost Rushing..........       31       24
NET YARDS PASSING.............      208      194
  Completions-Attempts-Int....  24-35-1  11-27-1
  Average Per Attempt.........      5.9      7.2
  Average Per Completion......      8.7     17.6
  Passing Touchdowns..........        1        1
TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS...........      528      374
  Total offense plays.........       87       64
  Average Gain Per Play.......      6.1      5.8
Fumbles: Number-Lost..........      1-0      3-1
Penalties: Number-Yards.......     6-30     6-38
PUNTS-YARDS...................    3-115    3-118
  Average Yards Per Punt......     38.3     39.3
  Net Yards Per Punt..........     36.7     39.3
  Inside 20...................        1        2
  50+ Yards...................        0        0
  Touchbacks..................        0        0
  Fair catch..................        1        3
KICKOFFS-YARDS................    7-491    6-430
  Average Yards Per Kickoff...     70.1     71.7
  Net Yards Per Kickoff.......     45.7     50.0
  Touchbacks..................        6        4
Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD.    0-0-0    1-5-0
  Average Per Return..........      0.0      5.0
Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD   2-30-0   1-21-0
  Average Per Return..........     15.0     21.0
Interceptions: Number-Yds-TD..    1-0-0   1-12-0
Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD.    0-0-0    0-0-0
Miscellaneous Yards...........        0        0
Possession Time...............    31:45    28:15
  1st Quarter.................    11:43     3:17
  2nd Quarter.................     5:44     9:16
  3rd Quarter.................     6:03     8:57
  4th Quarter.................     8:15     6:45
Third-Down Conversions........  8 of 17  4 of 13
Fourth-Down Conversions.......   1 of 1   0 of 1
Red-Zone Scores-Chances.......      5-5      3-3
Sacks By: Number-Yards........     2-16     4-21
PAT Kicks.....................      2-2      1-1
Field Goals...................      4-5      4-4

Individual Statistics

Clemson Tigers



Rushing              No Gain Loss  Net TD Lg  Avg
-------------------------------------------------
Andre Ellington      26  231    0  231  0 68  8.9
Tajh Boyd            19   88   30   58  0 27  3.1
D.J. Howard           4   23    0   23  0 11  5.8
Roderick McDowell     3    9    1    8  1  7  2.7
Totals...            52  351   31  320  1 68  6.2

Passing              Cmp-Att-Int Yds TD Long Sack
-------------------------------------------------
Tajh Boyd              24-34-1   208  1   25    4
TEAM                    0-1-0      0  0    0    0
Totals...              24-35-1   208  1   25    4

Receiving             No.  Yds   TD Long
----------------------------------------
DeAndre Hopkins        13  119    1   25
Brandon Ford            5   51    0   22
Charone Peake           4   21    0    9
Adam Humphries          2   17    0   14
Totals...              24  208    1   25

Punting               No.  Yds   Avg Long In20   TB
---------------------------------------------------
Spencer Benton          3  115  38.3   41    1    0
Totals...               3  115  38.3   41    1    0

                       Punts   Kickoffs  Intercept
All Returns          No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg
--------------------------------------------------
Rashard Hall          0   0  0  0   0  0  1   0  0
Martavis Bryant       0   0  0  2  30 15  0   0  0
Totals...             0   0  0  2  30 15  1   0  0

Field goal attempts
----------------------------------------
Chandler Catanzaro   1st 05:22  24 yds - Good
Chandler Catanzaro   2nd 10:06  40 yds - Good
Spencer Benton       2nd 00:08  55 yds - Missed
Chandler Catanzaro   3rd 04:39  37 yds - Good
Chandler Catanzaro   4th 01:24  18 yds - Good

Kickoffs         No.  Yds  TB  OB   Avg
---------------------------------------
BENTON             7  491   6   0  70.1



Auburn Tigers

Rushing              No Gain Loss  Net TD Lg  Avg
-------------------------------------------------
Tre Mason            14  107    1  106  0 30  7.6
O. McCalebb          12   86    4   82  0 20  6.8
T'Sharvan Bell        1    2    0    2  0  2  2.0
Quan Bray             1    0    1   -1  0  0 -1.0
Kiehl Frazier         9    9   18   -9  0  5 -1.0
Totals...            37  204   24  180  0 30  4.9

Passing              Cmp-Att-Int Yds TD Long Sack
-------------------------------------------------
Kiehl Frazier          11-27-1   194  1   54    2
Totals...              11-27-1   194  1   54    2

Receiving             No.  Yds   TD Long
----------------------------------------
Emory Blake             4  109    1   54
Lutzenkirchen           4   71    0   38
O. McCalebb             2    6    0   11
Quan Bray               1    8    0    8
Totals...              11  194    1   54

Punting               No.  Yds   Avg Long In20   TB
---------------------------------------------------
Steven Clark            3  118  39.3   45    2    0
Totals...               3  118  39.3   45    2    0

                       Punts   Kickoffs  Intercept
All Returns          No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg
--------------------------------------------------
Quan Bray             1   5  5  1  21 21  0   0  0
Daren Bates           0   0  0  0   0  0  1  12 12
Totals...             1   5  5  1  21 21  1  12 12

Field goal attempts
----------------------------------------
Cody Parkey          2nd 01:24  37 yds - Good
Cody Parkey          3rd 08:38  46 yds - Good
Cody Parkey          3rd 00:55  27 yds - Good
Cody Parkey          4th 12:50  36 yds - Good

Kickoffs         No.  Yds  TB  OB   Avg
---------------------------------------
Cody Parkey        6  430   4   0  71.7



FUMBLES: Clemson Tigers-Tajh Boyd 1-0. Auburn Tigers-Tre Mason 1-1; TEAM 1-0; Kiehl Frazier
1-0.

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