Purple Reign

by - Senior Writer -
Watkins caught seven passes for 58 yards in probably his last game in Death Valley

CLEMSON – Tajh Boyd jogged out to midfield, threw a salute to the Death Valley crowd, took a final bow at the 45-yard line and exited to the sidelines, a perfect moment in an almost perfect day.

Boyd completed 21-of-28 passes for 288 yards and five touchdowns as the Tigers (10-1) defeated FCS foe The Citadel (5-7) 52-6 Saturday afternoon, giving the Tigers 10 wins for the third consecutive season, and it was the 50th win of head coach Dabo Swinney's career.

The Tigers, who came out decked in all purple in honor of Military Appreciation Day, have scored at least 50 points in three straight, the first time that has happened in program history. It was also the fifth time the Tigers have broken the 50-point barrier five times this season, also a program first.

Boyd was removed from the game to a loud ovation with 1:39 remaining in the third quarter and Clemson leading 45-3, capping a day that saw Clemson’s offense continue to impress heading into the rivalry game with South Carolina next weekend.

The Tigers and Gamecocks will renew acquaintances next Saturday in a 7 p.m. kickoff in Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia.

However, Saturday was all about Boyd and the seniors and Purple Heart recipient Daniel Rodriguez. Senior running back Roderick McDowell carried the ball 21 times for 108 yards, and Rodriguez turned a short flip pass from quarterback Cole Stoudt into an early fourth quarter touchdown for his first career score.

The teams traded punts to begin the game, but the Tigers struck pay dirt on the second drive of the day when Boyd completed a five-play driving by hitting a wide open Seckinger down the left sideline for a 24-yard touchdown and a 7-0 Clemson lead.

The Bulldogs put together a drive that gained two first downs and crossed midfield, but were forced to punt and the kick pinned the Clemson offense at their own five yard line. It took the Tigers just eight plays and 1:57 off the clock to cover those 95 yards, the drive ending on a perfectly thrown 30-yard pass from Boyd to Mike Williams.

The quarter changed during the next Bulldog possession, but the results did not change. The Bulldogs were forced to punt, and it took the Tigers just eight plays to forge a 21-0 lead. The Tigers moved into the red zone on the strength of Roderick McDowell’s running, and the drive ended when Boyd threw a lob over the top to Watkins for the eight-yard score. The scoring toss was the 100th of Boyd’s career, making him the 18th player in NCAA history to throw as many as 100 touchdown passes.

On the ensuing possession, Citadel quarterback Ben Dupree tried to run outside on third down, but he was nailed by Clemson corner Garry Peters and the ball was jarred loose. The loose ball was picked up by senior linebacker Quandon Christian, who rumbled 26 yards for the touchdown and a 28-0 lead at the 10:03 mark of the second quarter.

Following another Bulldog punt, Boyd led the offense back out on the field and promptly led another touchdown drive. The drive took 10 plays and covered 65 yards, and ended when Boyd hit Bryant down the left sideline for a 19-yard scoring toss that put Clemson up 35-0 with 5:33 left in the half.

Clemson’s defense continued to bottle up the Bulldog offense – forcing another punt – and the Tigers didn’t wait long to put up another score. Boyd hit McDowell on a nine-yard scoring pass with 1:12 remaining before half, putting Clemson up 42-0. The pass marked the sixth time Boyd had thrown five touchdown passes in a game – tying a school record – and it was the third time he had accomplished the feat before halftime.

The teams traded field goals in the fourth quarter, and with Stoudt in the game, the Tigers pushed the ball inside the Bulldog ten, and the Tigers tried to get senior Darrell Smith into the endzone on two plays, setting up the flip to Rodriguez, who waltzed into the West end zone to the cheers of the crowd.

Score by Quarters     1  2  3  4   Score
-----------------    -- -- -- --   -----
The Citadel.........  0  0  3  3  -  6       Record: (5-7,4-4)
Clemson............. 14 28  3  7  - 52       Record: (10-1,7-1)

Scoring Summary:
1st 10:05 CU - Stanton Seckinger 24 yd pass from Tajh Boyd (Chandler Catanzaro kick), 5-61 0:56, CIT 0 - CU 7
    02:28 CU - Mike Williams 30 yd pass from Tajh Boyd (Chandler Catanzaro kick), 8-95 1:57, CIT 0 - CU 14
2nd 11:44 CU - Sammy Watkins 8 yd pass from Tajh Boyd (Chandler Catanzaro kick), 8-71 2:25, CIT 0 - CU 21
    10:03 CU - Quandon Christian 22 yd fumble recovery (Chandler Catanzaro kick), , CIT 0 - CU 28
    05:33 CU - Martavis Bryant 19 yd pass from Tajh Boyd (Chandler Catanzaro kick), 10-65 2:52, CIT 0 - CU 35
    01:12 CU - Roderick McDowell 9 yd pass from Tajh Boyd (Chandler Catanzaro kick), 8-58 2:03, CIT 0 - CU 42
3rd 07:17 CIT - Thomas Warren 42 yd field goal, 5-41 2:30, CIT 3 - CU 42
    03:23 CU - Chandler Catanzaro 32 yd field goal, 9-51 3:49, CIT 3 - CU 45
4th 14:10 CU - Daniel Rodriguez 2 yd pass from Cole Stoudt (Ammon Lakip kick), 9-75 2:29, CIT 3 - CU 52
    01:54 CIT - Thomas Warren 29 yd field goal, 21-63 12:10, CIT 6 - CU 52

                                    CIT       CU
FIRST DOWNS...................       12       29
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............   57-176   43-208
PASSING YDS (NET).............       -4      350
Passes Att-Comp-Int...........    5-1-0  32-24-0
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS.....   62-172   75-558
Fumble Returns-Yards..........      0-0     1-22
Punt Returns-Yards............      0-0     2-11
Kickoff Returns-Yards.........    6-122     2-22
Interception Returns-Yards....      0-0      0-0
Punts (Number-Avg)............   7-37.7   1-40.0
Fumbles-Lost..................      1-1      3-1
Penalties-Yards...............      1-9     1-15
Possession Time...............    38:07    21:53
Third-Down Conversions........  4 of 17  7 of 11
Fourth-Down Conversions.......   3 of 3   2 of 2
Red-Zone Scores-Chances.......      1-1      5-5
Sacks By: Number-Yards........      1-3      0-0

RUSHING: The Citadel-Ben Dupree 23-69; Darien Robinson 17-45; Jake
Stenson 4-26; Aaron Miller 4-21; Terrance Martin 2-7; Vinny Miller 2-5; Tyler
Renew 1-2; Dalton Trevino 4-1. Clemson-Roderick McDowell 21-108; Jay Jay
McCullough 6-43; D.J. Howard 7-22; Tajh Boyd 4-20; Zac Brooks 1-12; Darrell
Smith 2-5; Cole Stoudt 1-0; TEAM 1-minus 2.

PASSING: The Citadel-Ben Dupree 0-3-0-0; Aaron Miller 1-1-0-minus 4; Jake
Stenson 0-1-0-0. Clemson-Tajh Boyd 21-28-0-288; Cole Stoudt 3-4-0-62.

RECEIVING: The Citadel-Terrance Martin 1-minus 4. Clemson-Sammy Watkins
7-58; Martavis Bryant 4-84; Mike Williams 3-70; Adam Humphries 2-25; Roderick
McDowell 2-18; Daniel Rodriguez 2-minus 1; Jordan Leggett 1-44; Stanton
Seckinger 1-24; Matt Porter 1-16; Germone Hopper 1-12.

INTERCEPTIONS: The Citadel-None. Clemson-None.

FUMBLES: The Citadel-Ben Dupree 1-1. Clemson-Daniel Rodriguez 1-0; Zac
Brooks 1-1; Germone Hopper 1-0.

Stadium: Memorial Stadium      Attendance: 81554
Kickoff time: 12:05 PM  End of Game: 3:05 PM   Total elapsed time: 3:00
Officials: Referee: Tom McCreesh; Umpire: Donald Yates; Linesman: Mike Owens;
Line judge: Danny Short; Back judge: Doug Smith; Field judge: Milton Britton;
Side judge: Glenn Street;
Temperature: 61 deg    Wind: Calm      Weather: Cloudy

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