Sacrificial Lamb: Tigers top Mountaineers 41-10

by - Senior Writer -
Linebacker Ben Boulware takes aim at Taylor Lamb
Linebacker Ben Boulware takes aim at Taylor Lamb

CLEMSON – The final score doesn’t indicate a struggle, but it was a struggle in more ways than one for Clemson Saturday afternoon.

The No. 12 Tigers used a 28-point second quarter and got a big day from the first-team defense and quarterback Deshaun WatsonDeshaun Watson
So. Quarterback
#4 6-2, 207
Gainesville, GA

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in defeating Appalachian St. 41-10 in front of a sold-out crowd in Death Valley.

There are questions, however. Kicker Greg HuegelGreg Huegel
Fr. Punter / Kicker
#92 5-11, 180
Blythewood, SC

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was far from automatic, the offensive line struggled and special teams was once again a mixed bag, especially on kickoffs and kickoff coverage. But it’s a win, and now the Tigers (2-0) have just a few days to prepare for Louisville on Thursday night. The Cardinals lost 34-31 at home to Houston Saturday afternoon.

Watson played two quarters and two series in the second half and overcame an early interception to complete 19-of-26 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns. Twice he found receiver Charone PeakeCharone Peake
Gr. Wide Receiver
#19 6-2, 214
Moore, SC

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, who caught four passes for a career-high 86 yards. Artavis ScottArtavis Scott
So. Wide Receiver
#3 5-10, 191
Oldsmar, FL

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had six catches for 73 yards and a score. Wayne GallmanWayne Gallman
RS So. Running Back
#9 6-1, 210
Loganville, GA

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led all runners with 15 carries for 79 yards.

T.J. GreenT.J. Green
Jr. Safety
#15 6-3, 203
Sylacauga, AL

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and Kevin DoddKevin Dodd
RS Jr. Defensive End
#98 6-5, 268
Taylors, SC

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each had six tackles apiece. Freshman Austin Bryant led the Tigers with seven tackles. The first-team defense didn’t allow the Mountaineers to gain 100 yards until midway through the third quarter. Mountaineer quarterback Taylor Lamb was 9-for-28 for 95 yards and was intercepted three times.

An interception stalled Clemson’s first drive, but a 16-yard pass to tight end Jordan LeggettJordan Leggett
Jr. Tight End
#16 6-5, 252
Navarre, FL

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was part of a 79-yard drive that ended with a 39-yard Greg Huegel field goal. Huegel – making the first attempt of his career – missed from 49 but App St. was offsides twice and Huegel got a second and then third chance. He hit the final two, but only the last one counted as Clemson took a 3-0 lead.

Following the field goal, the Clemson offense went into hibernation for the rest of the quarter and it was the Clemson defense that fueled a second quarter charge. App St. faced a 2nd-and-10 at their own 14 yard line early in the second quarter, and defensive tackle Carlos WatkinsCarlos Watkins
RS Jr. Defensive Tackle
#94 6-3, 296
Mooresboro, NC

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stepped back into coverage and intercepted Taylor Lamb’s pass. Watkins rumbled 15 yards into the end zone for a 10-0 Clemson lead.

Ben BoulwareBen Boulware
Jr. Outside Linebacker
#10 6-0, 241
Anderson, SC

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intercepted Lamb’s next pass at the 33 and returned it to the 27, and the turnover set up a pretty 24-yard pass from Watson to Peake for the 17-0 lead. Clemson’s defense continued to make plays, and Wayne Gallman finally got the Tiger ground game going with a 24-yard touchdown run at the 5:48 mark. Gallman ran over the defensive back as he bulled his way into the endzone and Clemson had a 24-0 lead.

On the Tigers’ ensuing possession, Watson stepped into a throw and hit a wide-open Peake at the three to complete a 59-yard scoring toss that made it 31-0 with 1:56 remaining in the half.

Clemson’s initial drive of the second half fizzled near midfield, but it took the Tigers exactly one play on the second drive to hit paydirt. Clemson’s defense forced another three-and-out and Artavis Scott had a fair catch at the Mountaineer 41-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage Watson lofted a pass into the end zone and Scott – who had single coverage on the outside – came back for the catch and the touchdown and Clemson led 38-0.

Clemson substituted liberally on defense at that point and App St put together its first sustained drive of the day, eventually moving into Clemson territory and passing the 100-yard mark of total offense. App St. had 2nd-and-goal on the two and defensive coordinator Brent VenablesBrent Venables
Def. Coordinator / Linebackers
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put in his first-team defense, and the Tigers stopped the Mountaineers on two straight running plays.

App St. wanted to go for it on fourth-and-goal at the three, but a false start penalty led to a field goal that made it 38-3 late in the third quarter.

Ray-Ray McCloudRay-Ray McCloud
Fr. Wide Receiver
#34 5-9, 181
Land O' Lakes, FL

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returned the ensuing kickoff 73 yards, setting up the Tigers with a first down at the Mountaineer 26-yard line. Four plays later Huegel missed a 37-yard field goal but the Tigers still held the 38-3 lead. However, the Mountaineers added a touchdown against Clemson’s reserve defense early in the fourth quarter to make it 38-10, and a Nick SchuesslerNick Schuessler
RS Jr. Quarterback
#12 6-3, 202
Grayson, GA

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interception with just under 10 minutes remaining caused the Clemson crowd to grow a little uneasy.

The Mountaineers fumbled on fourth down, however, and Clemson took over at its own 39-yard line.

Huegel added a 47-yard field goal with 1:01 remaining to account for the final points.

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