WINSTON-SALEM — A devastating second quarter was all Clemson needed Thursday night in pounding Wake Forest 42-13 in an ACC football game at BB&T Field.
The 14th-ranked Tigers (7-1, 4-1 ACC) scored 28 points in the second quarter, more than enough to take care of the Deacons (4-4, 2-4), who couldnt keep up with Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd and his group of fast and skilled receivers.
With Boyd throwing for a school-record 428 yards and five touchdown passes to five players, Clemson was able to keep pressure on Florida State in the ACCs Atlantic Division. The Seminoles are also 4-1 in the division heading into their game Saturday against Duke, but they own the tiebreaker against Clemson by virtue of their 49-37 victory against the Tigers in September.
It was another formidable offensive display for the Tigers, who won their season opener 26-19 against Auburn but havent scored fewer than 37 points since. They also entered the game averaging 439.9 yards of total offense and rolled up 534 more against the Deacons.
The game also marked a return of sorts for Clemson sophomore receiver Sammy Watkins, who caught eight passes for a school-record 202 yards and a touchdown (breaking a mark of 197 yards set earlier this season by DeAndre Hopkins). Watkins, an All-American as a freshman, hadnt found his rhythm yet this season. He was suspended the first two games after an off-season marijuana arrest and missed Clemsons game against Boston College due to an intestinal virus. He also didnt start Thursday, punishment for being late to a pregame team meeting by three minutes.
We knew that was coming, Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris of Watkins said. It was good to see him get going. It was just a matter of time before he got in playing shape and got into the flow of the game.
Entering Thursdays game, Watkins had caught 24 passes for 202 yards. He almost surpassed his seasons yardage total in the first half, when he totaled 177 yards.
The Tigers scored first, getting a 9-yard touchdown pass from Boyd to tight end Brandon Ford with 4 minutes, 3 seconds left in the first quarter. A 57-yard pass from Boyd to Watkins set up the touchdown.
Then came the Tigers second-quarter onslaught.
Clemsons second touchdown was vintage Watkins. With Wake Forest defensive backs Kevin Johnson and Chibuikem Okoro missing tackles, Watkins scored on a 61-yard pass play from Boyd, making it 14-0 with 14:49 left in the second quarter.
Clemson went up 21-0 on its next possession, going 80 yards on seven plays, scoring when Boyd hit tight end Sam Cooper from 12 yards with 8:36 left in the half.
I just dont think we respected their speed in the first half, Deacons coach Jim Grobe said. They got behind us a couple of times, but I thought we had pretty good coverage and then it was just a foot race. I thought Boyd did a good job of dropping the ball on those guys.
|NO. 14 CLEMSON 42, WAKE 13|
ClemFord 9 pass from Boyd (Catanzaro kick), 4:03.
ClemS.Watkins 61 pass from Boyd (Catanzaro kick), 14:49. ClemCooper 12 pass from Boyd (Catanzaro kick), 8:36. ClemHopkins 12 pass from Boyd (Catanzaro kick), 3:56. ClemPeake 2 pass from Boyd (Catanzaro kick), 1:18. WakeBohanon 8 pass from Price (Hedlund kick), :12.
WakeBohanon 18 pass from Price (kick failed), 7:45.
ClemHoward 1 run (Lakip kick), 8:44.
Att.31,162 (at WakeForest).
|Time of Possession||31:02||28:58|
RUSHINGClemson, Ellington 15-61, Boyd 16-27, Howard 4-6, Peake 1-4, S.Watkins 1-4, McDowell 5-4, Team 3-(minus 5). Wake Forest, J.Harris 10-76, Campanaro 2-12, Martin 8-9, Price 8-(minus 46).
PASSINGClemson, Boyd 27-38-0-428, Stoudt 2-2-0-5. Wake Forest, Price 27-44-0-232, Martin 1-1-0-7.
RECEIVINGClemson, S.Watkins 8-202, Hopkins 6-64, Bryant 3-82, Ja.Brown 3-40, Ford 2-17, Ellington 2-5, Cooper 1-12, Porter 1-9, Humphries 1-4, Peake 1-2, Rodriguez 1-(minus 4). Wake Forest, Davis 7-84, Campanaro 6-52, J.Harris 5-19, Bohanon 3-29, L.Jackson 2-21, Martin 2-13, Bishop 1-8, Price 1-7, Ragland 1-6.