Tigers rip Blue Hose 58-21 in Death Valley on Saturday

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DeAndre Hopkins catches a nine touchdown yard pass from Tajh Boyd.
DeAndre Hopkins catches a nine touchdown yard pass from Tajh Boyd.

CLEMSON – A less-than-stellar performance in the rear view mirror and the season’s sternest test a week away, the Clemson Tigers needed for Saturday to be a couple of things – a chance to dominate an inferior opponent and the opportunity to work on some lingering issues before next Saturday’s contest at Auburn.

Mission accomplished on all fronts as the Tigers defeated Presbyterian 58-21 at Death Valley in a game that saw five different Clemson players score their first career touchdowns.

Quarterback Kyle Parker threw for 114 yards and two touchdowns in just four possessions as the Tigers (2-0) rolled to a 42-0 halftime lead, and Swinney agreed that Saturday’s game was just what Clemson needed.

“We came out and took care of business today,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “We knew we had to come out and play hard and have precise execution in our game plan. Today was about us trying to improve on fundamentals and technique, along with having clean executions with plays. We had a lot of reserve guys coming in and making big plays. Five players got their first touchdown today, and we had 77 different players out there today. This game helped to give a lot of guys experience and helped build our depth chart.”

A blocked punt, by defensive lineman Kourtnei Brown, on Presbyterian’s opening drive resulted in quick Clemson touchdown. The Tigers set up at the Blue Hose 11-yard line, and three plays later Parker hit Jaron Brown on an eight-yard pass for a 7-0 Clemson lead just over two minutes into the game.

Presbyterian punted on the ensuing possession, and Marcus Gilchrist returned the punt 37 yards to set up the Tigers at midfield. The first play saw Parker hit tight end Dwayne Allen on a 47-yard pass for a first-and-goal at the three-yard line, and Andre Ellington scored on the next play for a 14-0 lead.

Brown caused another fumble on PC’s fourth possession, and the Tigers once again took quick advantage, this time with Tajh Boyd at quarterback. Boyd hit fellow freshman Bryce McNeal for 24 yards on the second play of the drive, and two plays later Boyd spun off of a tackler for his first career touchdown and a 21-0 Tiger lead with 29 seconds remaining in the half.

Boyd credited his work with strength coach Joey Batson for helping him score the touchdown.

“The ability to step out of that tackle on the rushing touchdown definitely came from Coach Batson and his help in the weight room,” Boyd said. “I don’t think I’m on the Tim Tebow level yet, but I think I might be coming.”

In all, the Tigers played 57 players in the first quarter.

The Tigers got back on the board midway through the second quarter, capping a four-play, 67-yard drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Parker to Allen. The drive was notable in that it was Clemson’s eighth touchdown drive of two minutes or less on the season.

Goodman caused his second fumble of the day on the ensuing kickoff, setting up Clemson at the PC 15-yard line. Three plays later, Boyd completed a beautiful short fade to DeAndre Hopkins into the end zone, covering nine yards, for a 35-0 Clemson lead. The touchdown pass was Boyd’s first of his career, and it was the first touchdown reception of Hopkins’ career.

“On the touchdown pass, I know what kind of player Hopkins is, and I just kind of threw it to the back of the end zone,” Boyd said. “I was hot, the blitz was coming and I think Dwayne [Allen] was open, too. Hopkins is going to be a good player, and it’s good to get out there and get some experience with him.”

Hopkins said scoring his first career touchdown was special, but at first he wasn’t sure if he had scored.

“Tajh looked over and saw that I was 1-on-1 with the corner, and I knew it had a chance of coming my way,” Hopkins said. “Tajh threw a perfect ball, and I just went up and made the grab, but at first I didn’t know if I had come down in bounds or not, and I had to look down and check my feet. But that was special.”

The next drive was another one of firsts for the Tigers when walk-on running back Daniel Barnes ended a seven play, 73-yard drive with an 11-yard shovel pass from Boyd. The Tiger lead was at 42-0, which held up until halftime.

A roughing-the-punter penalty on Clemson’s initial drive of the second half set up a Rod McDowell two-yard touchdown run, a drive that saw several Tiger reserves in on the action. Chandler Catanzaro hit the first field of his career on Clemson’s next drive, a 47-yarder, and Clemson was up 52-0 with 6:21 remaining in the third quarter.

Presbyterian finally dented the scoreboard, with just under two minutes remaining in the third quarter, when quarterback Brandon Miley hit Michael Ruff from four yards out. It was the first touchdown scored by PC in Death Valley since 1956. Both teams added scores later in the game, but Clemson’s bench had pretty much emptied at that point.

Presbyterian head coach Harold Nichols said he was impressed with the Tigers’ talent.

“They’ve got an awfully good football team,” Nichols said. “As we’re going through the transition to Division I, being in this stadium in this atmosphere is a tremendous opportunity for these kids and for this program. You have to give coach Swinney a lot of credit. He’s got a well-coached football team. They have a lot of talented athletes over there.”

Running back Rod McDowell led all Clemson rushers with 86 yards on just nine carries, and he said he hopes Saturday’s effort proves to the coaches that they can depend on him the rest of the season.

”Knowing that I got in and executed and made plays makes me confident that I will get to see some more playing time in the future,” McDowell said. “I feel like I can compete with those boys at any level.”

Once Saturday’s game was in the books, Swinney said he could finally look ahead to playing at Auburn next week.

”This game will be a real test for us,” Swinney said. “It is a great opportunity for us to show our talent and skill off and to show people that we can go on the road and play with poise and toughness.”

Score by Quarters     1  2  3  4   Score
-----------------    -- -- -- --   -----
Presbyterian College  0  0  7 14  - 21       Record: (0-2)
Clemson............. 21 21 10  6  - 58       Record: (2-0)

Scoring Summary:
1st 12:29 CU - Jaron Brown 8 yd pass from Kyle Parker (Chandler Catanzaro kick), 3-15 1:30, PC 0 - CU 7
    08:23 CU - Andre Ellington 3 yd run (Chandler Catanzaro kick), 2-50 0:39, PC 0 - CU 14
    00:29 CU - Tajh Boyd 6 yd run (Chandler Catanzaro kick), 4-38 1:57, PC 0 - CU 21
2nd 08:54 CU - Dwayne Allen 19 yd pass from Kyle Parker (Chandler Catanzaro kick), 4-77 2:05, PC 0 - CU 28
    07:31 CU - DeAndre Hopkins 9 yd pass from Tajh Boyd (Chandler Catanzaro kick), 3-15 1:15, PC 0 - CU 35
    03:22 CU - Daniel Barnes 11 yd pass from Tajh Boyd (Chandler Catanzaro kick), 7-74 3:04, PC 0 - CU 42
3rd 12:17 CU - Roderick McDowell 2 yd run (Spencer Benton kick), 8-75 2:35, PC 0 - CU 49
    06:21 CU - Chandler Catanzaro 47 yd field goal, 6-38 2:32, PC 0 - CU 52
    01:51 PC - RUFF, Michael 4 yd pass from MILEY, Brandon (MILLER, Cam kick), 11-75 4:23, PC 7 - CU 52
4th 08:10 PC - RUFF, Michael 20 yd pass from GARY, Myron (MILLER, Cam kick), 7-37 3:03, PC 14 - CU 52
    04:13 CU - Kasey Nobles 1 yd pass from Donny McElveen (Spencer Benton kick failed), 4-8 2:05, PC 14 - CU 58
    00:21 PC - BYRD, Lance 1 yd run (MILLER, Cam kick), 9-73 3:44, PC 21 - CU 58

                                     PC       CU
FIRST DOWNS...................       15       17
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............   36-140   39-212
PASSING YDS (NET).............      139      202
Passes Att-Comp-Int...........  33-17-1  20-11-1
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS.....   69-279   59-414
Fumble Returns-Yards..........      0-0      0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............     1-30     5-69
Kickoff Returns-Yards.........   10-172     4-63
Interception Returns-Yards....     1-12     1-43
Punts (Number-Avg)............   9-39.0   4-45.2
Fumbles-Lost..................      4-2      2-0
Penalties-Yards...............     5-45     6-59
Possession Time...............    32:07    27:53
Third-Down Conversions........  7 of 17  2 of 10
Fourth-Down Conversions.......   0 of 0   1 of 2
Red-Zone Scores-Chances.......      3-3      8-8
Sacks By: Number-Yards........      1-8     2-13

RUSHING: Presbyterian College-GARY, Myron 7-53; DENDY, Trandon 10-41;
BYRD, Lance 9-28; MILEY, Brandon 7-15; MCKOY, Patrick 1-5; RUFF, Michael 1-4;
BAILEY, Anderico 1-minus 6. Clemson-Roderick McDowell 9-86; Daniel Barnes 11-79;
Tajh Boyd 6-25; Jaron Brown 1-23; Andre Ellington 3-11; Jamie Harper 3-9; Bryce
McNeal 1-3; Chad Diehl 1-3; TEAM 2-minus 2; Donny McElveen 1-minus 3; Kyle
Parker 1-minus 22.

PASSING: Presbyterian College-MILEY, Brandon 11-22-0-61; GARY, Myron
6-11-1-78. Clemson-Kyle Parker 6-9-0-114; Tajh Boyd 4-9-1-87; Donny McElveen
1-1-0-1; Taylor Ogle 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVING: Presbyterian College-RUFF, Michael 8-76; DENDY, Trandon 4-14;
COLE, Jeremy 2-14; ROBBINS, Tyler 1-21; ARMSTRONG, Shawn 1-8; MCKOY, Patrick
1-6. Clemson-Dwayne Allen 2-66; Terrance Ashe 1-43; Brandon Clear 1-29; Bryce
McNeal 1-24; Daniel Barnes 1-11; DeAndre Hopkins 1-9; Marquan Jones 1-8; Jaron
Brown 1-8; Jamie Harper 1-3; Kasey Nobles 1-1.

INTERCEPTIONS: Presbyterian College-ROPER, Matthew 1-12. Clemson-Jonathan
Meeks 1-43.

FUMBLES: Presbyterian College-BYRD, Lance 2-1; MORELAND, Seth 1-1; DENDY,
Trandon 1-0. Clemson-Donny McElveen 1-0; Kyle Parker 1-0.

Stadium: Memorial Stadium      Attendance: 70500
Kickoff time: 3:34 PM   End of Game: 6:39 PM   Total elapsed time: 3:05
Officials: Referee: Tom DeJoseph; Umpire: Donald Yates; Linesman: John Busch;
Line judge: Mike Hill; Back judge: Ron Boyd; Field judge: Jeff Heaser;
Side judge: Vincent Parker;
Temperature: 83 deg    Wind: Calm      Weather: Cloudy skies

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