Instant Analysis: Clemson 38, Virginia Tech 17

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Instant Analysis: Clemson 38, Virginia Tech 17

CLEMSON - Instant Analysis: Clemson 38, Virginia Tech 17

What went right: The Clemson defense held Virginia Tech on a 4th-and-1 at the Tiger 18-yard line in the first quarter, with Corico WrightCorico Wright
Sr. Linebacker
#42 5-11, 230
Milledgeville, GA

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and Corey CrawfordCorey Crawford
So. Defensive End
#93 6-5, 270
Columbus, GA

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combining on the stop. The stop ended a 15-play drive.

Jonathan MeeksJonathan Meeks
Sr. Safety
#5 6-1, 210
Rock Hill, SC

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intercepted a Logan Thomas pass early in the second quarter to thwart a Hokie drive. The interception was Meeks’ first of the season.

The Tigers had to punt following the turnover, and Spencer BentonSpencer Benton
RS Sr. Punter / Kicker
#13 6-1, 195
Myrtle Beach, SC

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’s punt was straight up, but the ball bounced and hit a Virginia Tech player, giving the Tigers possession at the Tech 26-yard line. Tony StewardTony Steward
So. Linebacker
#7 6-1, 235
Hastings, FL

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had the fumble recovery.

Andre EllingtonAndre Ellington
RS Sr. Running Back
#23 5-10, 195
Moncks Corner, SC

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had a 22-yard second quarter run that put him over 3,000 yards for his Clemson career.

Meeks had his second interception of the day at the 3:46 mark of the second quarter, and it was huge. Thomas overthrew his receiver and Meeks was in perfect position to take the interception to the end zone for a 74-yard touchdown, giving Clemson a 17-7 lead.

The Tiger offense sputtered through much of the third quarter, but Clemson got two breaks midway through the quarter. Thomas was in the grasp of defensive tackle Josh WatsonJosh Watson
RS So. Defensive Tackle
#91 6-4, 285
Wilmington, DE

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on a third-down play, but spun around and completed a pass out into the flat for an apparent first down, but the official ruled him down.

On Clemson’s next series, Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
So. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 205
Fort Myers, FL

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caught a short pass from Boyd and appeared to fumble as he went to the ground. The official ruled Watkins down, the Hokies challenged, but the call was upheld. A few plays later, Boyd hit Watkins on a 27-yard strike to set up Clemson’s touchdown on a run by Ellington.

Boyd finally hit his rhythm late in the third quarter – hitting Watkins on an over-the-shoulder 27-yarder to set up the first touchdown of the second half, and then hitting Hopkins on a similar route for a 37-yard touchdown a possession later.

The Hokies faced a 4th-and-four at the Clemson 39-yard line early in the fourth quarter, and decided to go for it. Defensive coordinator Brent VenablesBrent Venables
Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers
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dialed up a corner blitz, and Xavier BrewerXavier Brewer
Gr. Defensive Back
#9 5-11, 190
Jacksonville, FL

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pressured Thomas into a bad throw and the turnover on downs.

Clemson intercepted its third pass of the day in the fourth quarter when the Hokies called a wide receiver pass. Xavier Brewer intercepted the pass – which looked like it was going back to Thomas – and the Tigers turned into a Boyd touchdown run that made it 38-17 with 1:33 remaining.

What went wrong: The Hokies ran 22 plays for 127 yards in the first quarter, including a 15-play drive. That drive was the longest in terms of number of plays for a Clemson opponent this season.

Nuk Hopkins had just one catch in the first half – for 24 yards – and had another ball that could have been a touchdown bounce out of his hands as he fell into the endzone.

Boyd struggled through much of the third quarter – he either made the wrong reads on plays or he threw the ball too hard.

The running game struggled – and the push of the offensive line – through a lot of the game even though Ellington had a solid game. The line protected well at times, but just never got enough of a push on first down runs to make it easy on second and third down.

Virginia Tech entered the game with just 10 sacks on the season, but had five on Saturday.

After the Tigers took a 31-10 lead, the offense got the ball back but went backwards as the offensive line continued to struggle and the Tigers had to punt. The defense looked as bad as it had all day, and Thomas ran untouched for a 19-yard touchdown that made it 31-17.

Turning Point of the Game:Clemson’s defense held the Hokies at bay in the third quarter, giving the Tigers good field position after each drive. The offense finally made the Hokies pay, with two touchdowns in the quarter that gave Clemson a 31-10 lead after three quarters.

Stat of the Game: Clemson ran just 66 plays and gained 295 total yards of offense, and still won. The Hokies ran 78 plays and gained 406 total yards.

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