Watson, defense climb in national rankings after SC rout


by - Correspondent -
Watson is tied for seventh nationally with 34 touchdown passes.
Watson is tied for seventh nationally with 34 touchdown passes.

Deshaun Watson made a promise to Clemson fans when he joined the program.

He made good on that promise Saturday with a masterful performance against South Carolina. The Tigers’ junior quarterback beat the Gamecocks for the third straight season with a six-touchdown, 347-yard game as Clemson rolled up a 56-7 win.

With that showing, Watson climbed closer to the top 10 nationally in passing yards at 11th with 302.2 yards per game, and he is tied for seventh with 34 touchdown passes. Watson is also eighth nationally in total offense at 339.2 yards per game.

But Watson wasn’t the only standout as the defense came close to pitching a shutout, allowing just 218 total yards to finish the regular season in the top 10 in several categories: points allowed (17.0 per game, tied for eighth); total yards allowed (307.9 per game, eighth); sacks (42, third for third); tackles for loss (104.0, tied for second) and interceptions (tied for 10th).

Other NCAA rankings of note:

TEAM

Offense

Scoring: 40.0 points per game (17).

Rushing: 172.33 yards per game (71).

Passing: 336.3 yards per game (5).

Total: 508.7 yards per game (12).

Third-down conversions: 51.34 percent (7).

First downs: 26.5 per game (5).

Defense

Rushing: 127.75 yards per game (25).

Passing: 180.2 yards per game (12).

INDIVIDUAL

Offense

Rushing: Wayne Gallman, 78.58 yards per game (71).

Receiving: Mike Williams, 92.8 yards per game (22).

Defense

Tackles: Ben Boulware, 8.64 (T72).

Sacks: Carlos Watkins, 7.5 (T42).

Tackles for loss: Christian Wilkins, 12.0 (T67).

Interference: Jadar Johnson, 8 (T8).

Special teams

Greg Huegel: 7.9 points per game (T58).

Daniel Shirley is the sports editor of The Telegraph in Macon, Ga., and co-host of The Midday Sports Zone on Middle Georgia’s ESPN, 93.1 FM and 99.5 FM. Follow him on Twitter at @DM_Shirley and read his blog at macon.com/peachsports.

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