The Clemson Tigers defeated their in-state opponent Wofford Terriers, 35-27 last weekend in a game a lot closer than many people expected it to be. The win took Clemson to 2-0 on the season.
Wofford took the lead early in the game by scoring on their first possession. Terrier quarterback Mitch Allen cashed in with a 27-yard run to give them the early 7-0 lead. Clemson responded with five minutes remaining in the opening quarter when Tajh Boyd hooked up with Martavis Bryant on a go-route for a 42-yard touchdown pass.
However, the ensuing snap for the extra point was bobbled and the Tigers were not able to convert, leaving them still trailing 7-6.
It did not take long for Wofford to answer, with Allen hitting a wide-open Brenton Bersin on a 66-yard touchdown pass to extend their lead to 14-6.
However, the first quarter scoring was not over. Andre Ellington broke loose for a 74-yard touchdown run on the Tigers' very next play from scrimmage to get the score back to 14-13.
The Terriers got on the board first in the second quarter as well. Wofford converted on a fourth down by faking a punt that went for 26 yards, and then Eric Breitenstein punched it in the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown run to push the score back to 21-13 in the Terriers favor.
The Tigers responded with a scoring drive, which was capped off by Boyd completing a beautiful pass to Sammy Watkins on a post pattern for a 38-yard touchdown. The Tigers went for the two-point conversion, and Boyd rolled to his right and fired a strike to Nuk Hopkins to knot the score at 21.
Wofford took the lead again on their first drive of the second half on a 24-yard field goal by Christian Reed. Clemson took their first lead on the ensuing possession, scoring on a 5-yard touchdown run by Boyd. The Terriers would keep fighting, though, and answered back with a 38-yard field goal by Reed to cut the Tigers lead to 28-27.
Clemson put the final nail in the coffin early in the fourth quarter when Boyd threw his third touchdown pass of the game on a 17-yard hookup with Hopkins. That score put the Tigers up 35-27. Wofford was moving the ball again on their next possession, but safety Kantrell Brown skyed for an interception and ran 43 yards on the return to effectively seal the game.
Boyd finished 18-29 passing for 261 yards and three touchdowns, while also accounting for another touchdown on the ground. Ellington piled up 165 yards rushing on 22 carries with one touchdown. Hopkins snagged five passes for 73 yards and a touchdown, and Watkins brought in four passes for 56 yards and a score.
Coach Dabo Swinney had this to say about the game:
“First off, I can’t give enough credit to Coach (Mike) Ayers and his team. I knew this would be a tough four-quarter game, and it was. We made some big mistakes on defense that led to three touchdowns for them.
Bottom line—we found a way to win. It’s the second week in a row that we’ve won in the second half. Wofford didn’t score a touchdown in the second half. The defense stepped up, and the offense finished the game. We have to improve on some things, and we have to get better fast in some places. It’s good to get this win and get to 2-0. Bottom line—we’re never mad at a win. We’ve played better in games that we’ve lost. We will get better.”
Clemson’s next game is Saturday, Sept. 17, against the Auburn Tigers. The game is at home and scheduled for a noon start, airing on ABC.
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