This past Saturday, the No. 11 Clemson Tigers (9-1, 6-1 ACC) defeated the Maryland Terrapins (4-6, 2-4 ACC) by a score of 45-10.
“There is no doubt we came ready to play,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “We were ready from the opening snap. Our players are excited to play every week because we practice the right way. I’m proud of our backups because they showed our depth and took care of business.”
Maryland came into the game plagued with injuries and severely undermanned.
Needless to say, it did not take long for Clemson to start rolling.
The Tigers struck first, when Adam Humphries made a spectacular diving catch on a pass from quarterback Tajh Boyd midway through the first quarter for a 13-yard touchdown pass—the first of Humphries’ career.
Clemson struck again a mere 12 seconds later when Maryland quarterback Shawn Petty had the ball slip out of his hands and Corey Crawford picked it up and ran it 16 yards for a second Tiger touchdown.
“It comes hard,” Crawford said of his touchdown. “Those do not come every day. The feeling is indescribable. I am just so happy right now. My tackle blocked down, so I had to squeeze. I saw the quarterback rolling out. I ran to make sure he did not get outside and try to make a play. It just so happened that he was trying to draw back to throw the ball and it came out. I just scooped and scored.”
On Clemson’s next possession, Boyd hit DeAndre “Nuk” Hopkins for a 28-yard touchdown pass, and from there, the rout was on.
“Give Clemson credit,” Maryland head coach Randy Edsall said after the game. “That’s an outstanding football team that we played against today. They’re very, very talented on both sides of the ball. You can see why they’re ranked as high as they are, and they’re very deserving of that ranking.”
In the Tigers’ first possession of the second quarter, Boyd connected on his third touchdown pass of the day, this time for 22 yards to Brandon Ford.
Following a botched punt return by Humphries, the Terrapins were finally able to get on the board after a 17-yard pass from Petty to Devonte Campbell.
However, Clemson scored once more in the half on a six-yard touchdown run by Ellington.
The teams traded field goals in the third quarter, a 22-yarder for the Tigers and a 39-yarder for the Terrapins.
Clemson scored once more in the fourth quarter on a four-yard touchdown pass from Cole Stoudt to Stanton Seckinger to seal the 45-10 victory for the Tigers.
The Clemson defense played one of their better games of the season, holding Maryland to only 180 total yards.
“It comes down to our weekly preparation,” Linebacker Spencer Shuey said. “Every week is just one more in the season, and one more week feeling comfortable with our game plan. It was definitely good to get a few turnovers. We even got that fourth down stop towards the end and were able to hold them to 10 points. It was a productive game.”
The win was the Tigers 12th consecutive win at home, which set the record for longest streak ever at Clemson.
“We are a very focused program and we have had great leadership all season,” Swinney said. “This group of Tigers is the most consistent at home, with our 12th consecutive home win. It starts with how we practice.”
“This is big,” Crawford said. “We set a new standard here at Clemson. When we play at home we win, not matter what. From here on, for Clemson teams to come, that’s the standard. When you play at home you win, or wherever you play, you give your best.”
This game was also the ninth in a row in which the Tigers have scored at least 37 points—every game this year except the season opener in Atlanta against Auburn.
Boyd finished with 261 yards passing and three touchdowns.
Ellington finished with 55 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Hopkins finished with 59 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Clemson’s next game is this Saturday at home against N.C. State. The game is scheduled to kick-off at 3:30 p.m. and will be televised on ABC.
“I’ve told my players that now is the time when top 10 teams separate themselves from the pack,” Swinney said. “The end of November is when it matters. We need to play our best football down the stretch.”
For more Clemson sports (and sports in general) updates and thoughts on everyday life as well, follow me on Twitter @K_Mart10. You can also check out my podcast, "The OT with KT," on iTunes or on Podomatic.com at http://theotwithkt19478.podomatic.com/